Intel's weird TV play, a more-square Lenovo tab, and ceramic Galaxy SIII?

All the rumors that need a calm, cynical waving off, compiled in one place

Not a lot of hardware rumors this week, but then again, the tech world is a little obsessed with the apps and software happenings (and expensive non-happenings) at South By Southwest Interactive. Still, some interesting stuff has bubbled up, including an Intel rumor that makes no sense! Please to enjoy this week’s mobile-ish rumor roundup.

Google Play Store to get audiobooks, periodical subscriptions

Source: Google Operating System.

Details: Code and genres created in the margins of Google Play (a.k.a. the former Market, a.k.a. the Android Market) and recent domain purchases suggest a number of items Google will be adding soon to their media offerings: audiobooks, magazines, and newspaper subscriptions.

Likelihood: About as close to a sure thing as you can get.

Get excited?: Audiobooks are pretty useful and easy to enjoy on just about any device with a headphone jack. Newspapers and magazines require a class of tablets that people enjoy toting around, which is exactly the kind of Nexus Tab project Google’s rumored to launch in the summer.

Galaxy SIII finalized with a ceramic body, impressive specs

Source: PhoneArena via @eldarmurtazin

Details: One definite drawback of the otherwise generally well-liked Galaxy S models was their plastic case. But the Galaxy SIII, supposedly finalized for production, sports a ceramic case, a 7 millimeter thickness, and a quad-core processor. It’s also likely to be about 4.8 inches diagonal and sporting some kind of higher-than-normal resolution.

Likelihood: High on the ceramic body, as Samsung knows plastic won’t carry the Galaxy S line much longer. As for the other specs, they’re always fluid, depending on which component makers can produce which pieces at certain scales.

Get excited?: 7 millimeters thick and ceramic? Weigh it in your hand before you buy it, but, sure, if you’re a fan of Samsung’s particular Android style.

Lenovo prepping a 9.7-inch, 4:3 Android tablet

Source: AndroidGuys, presumably through FCC filings.

Details: 9.7-inch screen, but not in the seemingly standard widescreen-style configuration that many Android tablets take, but more like the iPad’s more squared-off aspect. Also, possibly 4-way speakers (which would be a bragging point for sure) and Ice Cream Sandwich/4.0.

Likelihood: Pretty good, given that drawings landed at the FCC for approval (80%?)

Get excited?: With a potential Nexus-branded tablet so close now, I’d hold off, unless you’re really looking for something the size of an iPad, rather than a 7-inch, Kindle-Fire-style portable unit.

Intel develop web-based television network


Details: Intel, making its own set-top boxes, would offer a number of full channels and some on-demand content to customers, streamed over the internet (which has to be obtained separately).

Likelihood: That Intel is discussing it? High. That it’s going to happen? Low.

Get excited?: Why? If Intel gets all four networks and a few cable channels to sign up, they’ll be selling you, basically, a cable bundle that has buffering problems. It seems mostly like a play for Intel to create a new league of devices to put their chips into, as the major set-top players--Roku, Boxee, Apple--have their own non-Intel chips. This is one weird offering.

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