Now that there's a Samsung Galaxy S IV release date, are we getting less excited about the smartphone?

Plus - bulldozers and Android smartphones, Androids in space, and Google vs. Samsung?

Finally. After months and months of hype, speculation, gossip and rumor, it's finally official: The Samsung Galaxy S IV has been released. Or, at least, it kind of feels like it has.

The announcement of a March 14 release date (congratulations to those of you who won your office pools) for the Galaxy S IV seems to have taken a lot of the wind out of the hype machine's sails, which is curious, on its face - we don't know anything more than we already did about the device's looks or capabilities, so why the apparent ebbing of interest?

[MORE ANDROID: Intel takes on ARM in low-cost Android tablet market]

Truthfully, I don't know the answer to that, but assuming this is a real phenomenon, it demonstrates how smart Apple is for coming up with this pattern in the first place - rumors + hype + only giving a couple weeks of lead time before release = gigantic amounts of news coverage, some of the fruits of which you're reading right now.

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Meanwhile, in Catalonia, the first cracks have begun to appear in the façade of a great dynasty, as FC Barcelona fell to rival Real Madrid 3-1 in a Copa Del Rey semifinal second leg dominated by the whoops, wrong dynasty. Samsung's hold over the "best smartphone" award at the annual Mobile World Congress is alive and well, as the Galaxy S III followed up on last year's win by the Galaxy S II, according to Android Geeks. You can't help but feel bad for the Nexus 4, which definitely would have won if any of the judges had been able to get their hands on it. (Kidding, of course.)

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HTC says the One will be its only flagship release of 2013, according to a report from mobile site Omio. Which means, I guess, that we'll have to wait until at least 2014 before the company releases yet another phone called "One."

(Hat tip: Android Community)

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Have you ever found your Android phone too delicate to handle the rigors of your daily life? Maybe you work in construction, and your Galaxy Nexus has to contend with dirt, dust and the occasional misplaced hammer-blow. Or your DROID RAZR MAXX keeps getting splattered by oil as you work on the rig. Heck, maybe you're a lion tamer and your Galaxy S III fell out of your pocket while you were feeding Simba.

In any case, you might look to the latest (and I think only) smartphone released by Caterpillar, which is better known for its industrial and construction machinery. The CAT B15, which T3 reports debuted at MWC this week, is protected by shock-absorbing rubber and anodized aluminum. It can survive under three feet of water for up to half an hour, and is designed to be dust- and extreme-temperature-resistant.

OK, it's not an ultra-high-end device - an 800x480 display, 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM - but hey, it runs Jelly Bean.

(Hat tip: Engadget)

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The Wall Street Journal says tensions between Google and Samsung are beginning to throw notes of disharmony into an otherwise close relationship. The issue, according to the report, is that some at Google are worried that Samsung might try to leverage its increasingly dominant position in the Android smartphone world into a bigger chunk of Google's lavishly profitable mobile ad business, or early access to new Android versions, which would further squeeze competitors like HTC and LG.

Google's counterattack could center on using its recent Motorola Mobility acquisition to produce more impressive devices than Samsung, the Journal says.

(Hat tip: The Verge)

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A space-borne Nexus One will eventually control an orbiting satellite launched by a British company, in an impressive display of engineering skill and creativity. STRaND-1 will take pictures of the Earth from its onboard camera, and test the old truism that "in space, no one can hear you scream."

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Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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