When is a launch not a launch? When it's a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini launch. Rather than keep its powder dry until the official launch date on June 20, Samsung has decided to tell us everything well in advance. So what's the story? According to our resident phone expert Gareth Beavis, while it "packs a number of top end features in a diminutive package", it also "does away with a lot of the 'innovation' we saw in the S4". That's a good thing: the so-called innovation was generally rubbish.
Hardware-wise the Mini is pretty much what everybody expected: a 960x540, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1.7GHz dual core processor, 8GB of storage (5GB available) and a microSD slot. There's a nice camera, Android 4.2.2, a low-ish price tag and a July release date.
Samsung isn't the only firm to spill the beans way in advance of a product launch: Motorola's at it too. The Google-owned handset maker's latest flagship, the Moto X, won't be out until October - but CEO Dennis Woodside teased this week's AllThingsD conference by saying it was in his pocket but he couldn't show it to anybody. You might think that sounds like the sort of behaviour you grow out of aged six. We couldn't possibly comment.
No such tactics for Huawei: its Ascend P6 will be unveiled on June 18, and if the teaser product image is anything to go by the entire internet is going to say, "Man! It looks like an iPhone!". Rather worryingly the phone's USP appears to be its thinness. While ever-thinner smartphones are impressive from an engineering point of view, we'd much rather have exciting features or better battery life than a slightly slimmer case. Hopefully the P6 has some surprises up its super-slim sleeve.
State of the 8
While Huawei gets ready to unveil a phone, Microsoft is putting the finishing touches to Windows 8.1, the operating system formerly known as Windows Blue. New screenshots suggest that as rumoured, the Start button really is coming back - and you'll be able to boot into Desktop mode, although that won't be the default option.
We've got most of the puzzle pieces now, and while Windows 8.1 isn't going to be a dramatically different OS it should address the most common criticisms of Windows 8. As ever, we have all the Windows 8.1 information you could ever possibly need online, and we'll be updating it constantly between now and Microsoft's Build 2013 conference at the end of June when Windows 8.1 will be officially unveiled.
Cooking something up
What's American and doesn't say much for more than an hour? That's right: it's Tim Cook! The Apple CEO's second year at AllThingsD was as successful as his first, if by "successful" you mean "inscrutable". Despite the hosts' best efforts Cook refused to be drawn on Apple's plans, the existence of an Apple TV set, the iWatch, whether his name was really Tim Cook, what day it was or whether the sun was shining, and we suspect that we'd have got just as much information if the hosts had attempted to interview a spy, or perhaps a mime.
We're not surprised, of course: Apple prefers to announce Apple things at Apple events, such as WWDC, coming up in a fortnight. Hopefully WWDC will have more interesting news than a slightly cheaper iPod.