As Galaxy S IV heads for stores, rumors of Samsung's pending Google troubles bubble up

A new developer portal for the company's non-Google Play app store? The divorce must be on! Plus, yet more ZTE phones, the phantom of Opera, and a possible version No. 4 for the HTC One.

I don't know if you've heard this, but apparently Samsung is getting ready to roll out the Galaxy S IV in a big event in New York a week from today. Good idea, right? Seems like they sold a few of those Galaxy S IIIs, so why not follow up? Clever plan.

In all seriousness, though, the Galaxy S IV may be a herald of things to come from Samsung. Much has been made lately of the growing dominance enjoyed by the South Korean company in the Android smartphone market, and what that might mean for its relationship with Google.

[ MORE ANDROID: Samsung Galaxy S IV rumors: A report card ]

The signs of Samsung's growing independence are there, to be sure -- The Wall Street Journal article that touched off this latest round of brow-furrowing came out last week, but it's still causing plenty of comment.

It's tempting to view the Galaxy S IV entirely through the lens of the story: Little UI things different than Google's version? Uh, oh, Google and Samsung are fighting. A new developer portal for Samsung's own app store? Trouble in paradise.

But, at this point, that'd be silly. Samsung's an immense company, to be sure, but the idea that it's suddenly going to start pushing hard for more ad money or preferential treatment in the Android world doesn't make much sense to me. Google's got plenty of money to plow back into Motorola Mobility if relations with Samsung abruptly freeze, and despite its protestations that it would not favor Motorola over other Android manufacturers, it could easily change its mind.

The one thing that might actually point toward Samsung flexing its muscles a little is timing -- if the Galaxy S IV justifies the hype both in terms of sales and media attention, it'll boost the company's dominance even more and put it in a strong negotiating position.

And while that's all speculation at this point, it's undeniable that the Galaxy S IV's success or failure will have serious and wide-ranging effects on the industry at large.

Which is why it's a little frustrating to see the Galaxy S IV marketed in such a silly way:

Oh my gosh, isn't life in the back of limousines just so twee and precious?! That said, I really hope young Jeremy has seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark," so that he's suitably cautious about opening boxes of glowing stuff.

China's ZTE doesn't ever seem to stop rolling out new phones, and one of its latest is the U935, which Android Authority reports packs some eyebrow-raising bang for the buck.

If the rumors are to be believed, according to AA, the U935 features a 5-inch, 1080p screen, (almost) top-shelf internals, and a 2500mAh battery -- for the price of about $240. That's without a carrier subsidy, bear in mind. Sadly, it may not make it across the ocean to the U.S.

The Opera browser, in the pre-Chrome and Firefox days, was pretty much your only option if you didn't want to use IE, but it's become a bit more obscure of late. And while mobile versions in the form of Opera Mini and Opera Mobile have been available on Android for some time, the release of a newly WebKit-enabled beta on Google Play has a caused a bit of a stir.

(H/T: Engadget)

Verizon was the only major U.S. carrier left out when the HTC One was released last month, but rumor site GottaBeMobile says that may change in three or four months. A known HTC tipster on Twitter has apparently leaked a spec sheet for the Verizon HTC One, and says that the device is currently undergoing testing.

While this isn't implausible by any means -- Verizon does seem to take awhile with testing, at times -- I'll wait and see if anyone besides an anonymous Twitter account starts talking about this before I start planning for an HTC One on Big Red.

In case you hadn't had enough Samsung-related excitement for one roundup, a report from The Korea Times says that the company's coming Galaxy Note III will pack a 5.9-inch screen, which seems slightly more reasonable than the 6.3-inch behemoth which had been rumored.

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

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