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The Week in Android Devices: Amazon’s tablet and Motorola’s PHOTON 4G

by Kristen Nicole

One-third of U.S. adults now own smartphones, with 35% of those gadget geeks pocketing Android devices. According to a recent study released by the Pew Research Center, Android remains the most popular mobile platform, noting that these devices are especially common among young adults and African Americans. That’s a pretty large market for device makers, with manufacturers recognizing the potential around niche smartphones and tablets.

Here are some new and upcoming releases worth checking out.

Amazon’s unnamed tablet preps for iPad battle

Amazon’s the latest to revel in the promise of Android tablets, rumored to be planning a release some time in October. That would place Amazon’s launch around the expected time of the next iPad release, pitting the two tablets head-to-head for the holiday shopping season. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has hinted of a coming tablet computer, which is likely to have deep integration with its digital content marketplace, from books to music, books to Android games. It’s a natural extension of Amazon’s current offerings, which already have a distinguished slant towards Android devices. With the Kindle’s limitations as an e-reader, it only makes sense that Amazon would expand its tablet capabilities.

Motorola Photon 4G dual-core coming to Sprint

There’s another 4G device coming your way, this time from Motorola. The Photon 4G has another perk--a 1 GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor. It’s one of a handful of WiMAX 4G compatible dual-cores, among the newest generation of Android devices designed for high-speed networks and faster processing. Hitting stores July 31st, the Photon 4G will run you $199 with a two-year contract with Sprint. The Photon 4G runs Android 2.3, comes with an 8mp camera, 720p video capture and a 4.3-inch touchscreen display. Designed for media lovers and mobile workers, the Photon has an optional television dock and wireless keyboard.

Motorola XPERT targets globetrotting businessmen

The XPERT is a productivity tool as well, and is among the growing supply of world phones. It comes with support for a range of networks and frequencies, from dual-band EV-DO Rev to quad-band EDGE. The device itself doesn’t offer too many breakthrough features, but is built for superior call quality. Aimed at business users, the XPERT also supports enterprise-grade encryption and an array of Microsoft Exchange security policies. Its design is a little odd, with a portrait touch screen and a truncated QWERTY keyboard below it.

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