Android devices battle iPhone 4S; Kindle Fire pre-orders hot up

by Kristen Nicole

It’s been quite a week with major mobile devices launches coming from Apple and Amazon, with the iPhone 4S resetting smartphone expectations and the Kindle Fire setting a new bar for consumer-centric Android tablets. Samsung came out the gate with a new Galaxy tablet to up the ante even further, and even went as far as to mock the iPhone 4S launch with a teaser for its now-canceled upcoming event. T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular are also getting some fresh gadgets thanks to releases from LG and HTC.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0

Samsung’s been busy on the tablet front, launching a 7-inch Android mobile device shortly after the arrival of the Amazon Kindle Fire. Powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 runs android 3.2 Honeycomb and has 1GB of RAM. The screen is 1024x600 pixels and the tabs come with 16GB or 32GB of storage. You’ll find a 3-megapixel primary camera and a 2-megapixel snapper on the front. With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and 3G/HSPA support as well, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 comes in slightly weaker than the earlier released Galaxy Tab 7.7. There’s no details on the price or U.S. availability, and the Tab 7.0 will first arrive in Indonesia and Austria at the end of October.

Samsung Nexus Prime

Rumors have been flying around the Nexus Prime for several weeks now, as the world builds its expectations around the next Google phone. An upcoming Samsung event to be held October 11 was canceled, most likely as a nod of respect to the passing of Steve Jobs. Still, hopes are high that the Nexus Prime will finally be unveiled soon. It’s likely to be the first Android device to run the updated OS Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s also expected to feature a 4.65-inch display, sporting a TI OMAP processor with 1.2 GHz and 1 GB of RAM. A 5-megapixel primary camera and 32GB of internal storage make the Nexus Prime an appealing fantasy so far. Also expected to include an NFC chip, the Nexus Prime may be a Verizon exclusive.

LG myTouch and myTouch Q

In time for the holiday season come two new myTouch devices from LG. Set to sell at T-Mobile, the myTouch line continues to grow nearly three years after its first arrival. The myTouch and myTouch Q will feature Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a 1GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording. They’ll both also run on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network. Where the devices differ is the QWERTY slide-out keyboard on the myTouch Q with a 3.5 inch screen. The myTouch is slightly bigger with a 3.8-inch screen and a front-facing camera with Qik already integrated.

HTC Wildfire, Hero and Flyer Tablet

U.S. Cellular is rounding out its smartphone and tablet offerings with the upcoming arrival of three new Android devices from HTC. The HTC Wildfire and Hero both run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, featuring HTC Sense for centralizing your social networks and messages. The Wildfire comes with a 3.2-inch touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera. It will run you about $80 after a $100 mail-in rebate and data plan purchase. The Hero is slighly larger at 4 inches, with a Super LCD touchscreen featuring qHD resolution. Also equipped with a 5-megapixel primary camera, the Hero’s front-facing camera is 1.3 megapixels. The cost is also a little higher at $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and the purchase of a data plan.

For many, the HTC Flyer is the exciting launch here. The 7-inch tablet is powered by a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, running Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread. The Flyer boasts 32GB of memory and an optional Scribe stylus for doodling (or writing) on your tablet screen. The tablet debuted over the summer in the midst of an Android tablet kick up, entering the market as one of the earlier 7-inch tablets on the scene. The Flyer will cost you $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and a $54.99 monthly data plan. All three HTC devices will be available at U.S. Cellular next month.