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Weekend Roundup: Google's Android/Nexus marriage, Nokia Lumia 920 & HTC 8X reviews, and a very iPad Christmas

Google's Nexus-Android marriage

With less than three years under its belt, there's little doubt that the Google Nexus product family is still in its infancy. But the Search behemoth has evolved its range quickly, pushing out a further six products since the arrival in 2010 of the HTC Nexus One, with only the recently deceased Nexus Q media-streaming hub failing to make an impact.

The launch of the LG-made Nexus 4 handset and Samsung-made Nexus 10 tablet gives us ample pause to consider the ascent of Google's hardware line, and it's interesting to note how the success of its smartphone products hinges on the growth of the Android platform. The HTC-manufactured G1 – a precursor to the Nexus line that was introduced in 2008 - and Nexus One largely failed to impress due to the still-primitive nature of Google's mobile platform. Enter Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the Nexus S, however, and you have the makings of the world-beating OS and flagship product range we know today.

It would be unfair to claim that the rise of the Nexus line was entirely contingent on the development of the accompanying software, for Samsung's involvement on the aforementioned Nexus S – a real make-or-break phone for the Google range – from a design perspective was also vital. Yet it's difficult to ignore the importance of the Android platform to Google's rapidly materialising dreams of bossing the world of hardware in the same way it dominates the Internet search roost. Read more in our brief history of the Nexus range.

Windows Phone 8: Lumia 920 and HTC 8X reviews

The arrival of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 now offers us fresh blood in terms of operating system choice, and it was especially heartening to see a dramatic return to form for Nokia with its Windows Phone 8-running Lumia 920 scoring highly in our review this week.

The Lumia 920 has a number of major selling points, not least that it feels and handles every bit as good as an iPhone, with Microsoft's much maligned tile-based interface looking very much at home and performing almost flawlessly in a handset environment. With a top-notch display, potentially world-beating camera, and a place on EE's new 4G LTE spectrum – plus added awesomeness in the form of wireless charging – it has all the necessary features of a very tasty iPhone 5 rival.

The HTC Windows Phone 8X is a similarly attractive proposition and one that also attained high praise in its review.

Especially impressive are the 8X's entertainment credentials, with the HTC device packing Beats Audio's technology – including a custom-built amplifier – as well as a super-sharp screen that bests the one sported by the Lumia 920. Which makes it all the more frustrating that there's no card slot to expand storage, as on-board capacity is limited to a relatively measly 16GB.

Despite scoring on a par with the 920, it doesn't match up overly-favourably to its Nokia-produced rival in a direct comparison - there's no 4G LTE in the UK, for starters - but then it's pitched at a slightly lower market segment.

Tablets and turkeys

The beginning of November typically heralds the start of the holiday season in the UK, as with no Thanksgiving turkey standing between us and 25 December, Father Christmas is already commencing his ritualistic waddle up and down the high street, and UK shoppers are starting to cast an eye towards Christmas purchases.

So what is the consumer jotting down on his or her festive wish list this year? It doesn't exactly come as the shock of the century, but buyers are likely to spurn purchases of PCs in favour of more interactive toys, according to the latest research from PriceGrabber. The firm's survey has revealed that tablets - especially the 7in segment - are the most sought after devices. Bad news for the traditional computing sector is inevitably good news for a certain Cupertino-based company, with nearly 90 per cent of respondents saying that they were hoping for an Apple product under the tree in just over a month's time.

Stay tuned to ITProPortal in the coming weeks, as we'll be rolling out a range of Christmas 2012 articles taking in all the hottest product categories and helping you decide the best way to splurge your cash this year - even when the decision is between the super-svelte new iPad mini and the recently upgraded Google Nexus 7.