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CES 2014

Android, CES 2014 and the Internet of Things

Internet of Things

Augmented reality glasses. Connected appliances. Connected cars. Motion-capture gaming exoskeletons. Smart watches. These are some of the technologies and innovations I kept close watch over at CES 2014. It can be noted that many of these technologies can be applied to Android, or at least have Android at their core. Even Intel’s thrust to support dual-booting Windows and Android devices can be considered part of this.

Where was Apple to be seen at CES? Arguably, CES is not exactly Apple’s domain, as the company is more comfortable with launching products and technologies during its own conferences, such as WWDC. At CES, it seems Android does dominate.

Jim Edwards, who writes at Business Insider, says the dominance of Android was evident even on the floor, where most of the attendees were using Android devices. At least this was the informal observation. While not exactly a scientific observation or based on significant enough surveys of the 150,000 people or so who attended the event, there may be some merit to such a claim.

For one, in terms of raw market share, Android does dominate, with an 80 percent share in smartphones worldwide. This is bound to trickle down to a more localized statistic. In the US, however, the market share is a bit less pronounced. According to latest data by Comscore for the three-month period ending November 2013, Android enjoys a 51.9 percent market share, compared with iOS’ 41.2 percent.

Bigger screens rule? The BI article claims that Android’s advantage is mostly due to usability. At CES, for example, one will need to go around to cover enough ground across the different vendors, keynotes and demonstrations. Lugging around a laptop might be inconvenient. With this, smartphones with bigger screens are an advantage. The 5-inch screen of the Galaxy S4 makes it easier to take notes and keep track of events through social media than through the iPhone’s 4-inch screen, for instance.

When the iPhone first launched, it had a bigger screen than the smartphones and feature-phones it aimed to replace. In 2007, Symbian phones and BlackBerry devices had comparatively small screens and cumbersome interfaces. Android smartphones soon started dwarfing the iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen, which prompted Apple to increase the size a bit to 4-inches. Still, Apple may need to catch up in its next iteration of the device — an argument for an iPhone 6 with a potentially bigger screen.

But wait, we might be forgetting something here. Apple does have bigger-screen devices: the iPad and iPad Mini. Considering the cellular-enabled variants, these are also viable contenders against big-screened Android smartphones, or so-called “phablets” especially the 7-inch Mini.

The Internet of Things. More important than screen size and ease of use, however, is the fact that CES is a trade show where the next big thing could potentially come out of. I’m betting on wearable devices here, like smart watches and AR glasses. In the gaming realm, I have expressed confidence in alternative interfaces, such as the PrioVR full-body motion-capture suit that works with the Oculus Rift virtual-reality glasses.

Here’s where Android’s brand partnerships and more open nature could be an advantage. Android has already made inroads into gaming, with various Android-powered console systems. Android is also expected to have a big influence in connected cars, with the Open Automotive Alliance. Android has the potential to impact on our lives not only in smartphones, tablets and laptops, but also in our homes, cars and everything else. The Internet of Things is the next big thing, and I’m looking forward to Android becoming dominant in this space.

Image credit: Silicon Labs

ZTE Eco-Mobius Modular Smartphone Gets Displayed At CES 2014

A couple of months ago Motorola announced its plans to develop a modular smartphone called Project Ara. This is a type of smartphone that can be upgraded by the consumer. Let’s say you want a more powerful camera; all you need to do is just buy an upgraded camera kit and replace the existing camera of your device.

zte eco-mobius

It appears that it’s not only Motorola that is interested in this concept. Chinese company ZTE showed its own modular smartphone concept at CES 2014 which is called the ZTE Eco-Mobius. It allows the user to upgrade the smartphone or tablet without buying a new unit.

ZTE does not have a working prototype right now and even the demo unit that is displayed is locked in a glass case. We could however see how the system will work.

The ZTE Eco-Mobius has a solid frame that houses all of the modular components. Each module can easily be replaced by opening the case and replacing it with new ones. Some of the modules that can easily be replaced include the CPU, GPU, camera, storage, and battery. Each module comes with a magnetic connector which makes them easy to snap in place. The demo unit even included two battery modules so users can easily replace their batteries once the old one shows signs of degradation.

The Eco-Mobius was actually mentioned by ZTE last year however it is only now that a physical product has been displayed. The company showed smartphone and tablet models that are modular and have been designed to reduce waste (hence the “eco” in its name). The idea is that consumers can easily swap modules as needed like having a camera that performs better in low lighting conditions or using a much more powerful processor to run the latest games.

ZTE says that right now there are no plans to bring this device to the market. It’s just researching the concept of a modular device and if they think that it is viable then it will be manufacturing the device.

Motorola on the other hand is optimistic that the modular smartphone is the future. The company already has a manufacturing partner and an internal prototype has already been developed.

The idea of having a modular smartphone is a great one since consumers will no longer need to replace their whole device once an upgraded model arrives. Al they need to do is upgrade a component of their smartphone. This greatly reduces waste and is a better way of managing resources.

via liliputing

Huawei Tron Android Game Console Revealed

Just a day after the Chinese government relaxed its 14 year ban on gaming consoles, Huawei has unveiled its own Android game console at the CES 2014. Huawei Tron will remind you of the cylindrical Mac Pro since it has a similar design only smaller. It uses an ARM based processor and connects to a TV set. A wireless controller is included to allow games to be played.

Huawei Tron

On the technical side the Huawei Tron will run on Google’s Android 4.2 operating system. It uses an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor (the same processor used by the Nvidia Shield) and comes with 2 GB of RAM. There’s a 16 GB and a 32 GB version available. The specs will definitely make the full 1080p output using HDMI work smoothly.

Other features of this device include 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and a full-sized USB 3.0 port.

In terms of gaming performance the device performed well. Those who were able to test it say that it handled rather quite well. Dead Trigger 2 which has been heavily promoted by Nvidia since the game has been optimized for the Tegra 4 felt awkward to control although the problem is on the game itself rather on the hardware.

The device will have a price tag of US$120 in China which makes it more expensive than the Ouya yet cheaper than the Mad Catz M.O.J.O. or NVIDIA Shield.

One of the biggest challenges that this game console will face (which is also the challenge of other Android gaming consoles) is the availability of compatible Android game titles. Android games are primarily designed to be controlled using the touch interface. Adding a physical controller in the mix will often make the game difficult to control or worse unplayable. Right now there are only a few games that support input using a game controller.

Android game consoles still remain a new market whose potential hasn’t been fully explored yet. The entry of new players into this space will definitely be beneficial. Maybe 2 to 3 years from now it will be able to give the big three players (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo) serious competition.

The initial market of the Huawei Tron will be China however since the company featured the device at CES 2014 then it’s most likely that a worldwide release will be coming soon.

via theverge

Best of CES 2014 Awards: Most Likely to Succeed, Class Clown, Prom Queen and More

Who stole the Las Vegas show? Who landed in Sin City looking for fame but ended up spending thousands of bucks on travel and accommodation only to realize they didn’t belong to one of the world’s biggest, glitziest tech trade shows in the first place? Who disappointed the most? And who came hat in hand, ultimately stealing everyone else’s thunder?

Las Vegas

CES 2014 may not technically be over yet, but since no product announcements are in store for the expo’s final two days, it’s time to see which of the exhibitors graduated magna cum laude and who’s likely to end up in jail. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the CES 2014 awards, as voted by… me, myself and I:

Most likely to succeed: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Sure, everybody knew it was coming. Heck, the spec sheet in full was as transparent as glass since before winter started. So was the CES announcement pointless? Maybe a little. But in the end, what matters is this thing is spectacular, groundbreaking and, if priced correctly, a huge box-office hit in the making. Period.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Most likely to fail: Lenovo ThinkVision 28, Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

The ThinkVision 28 Android-based 4K monitor (what a load of crap) is not just likely to fail, it’s likely to never, ever, ever be bought by anyone. I mean, for crying out loud, why would you spend north of a grand on a bs monitor in 2014? Get an HD TV for that dough. A tablet. Two tablets. A tablet and a smartphone. Literally anything else the tech world has to offer.

lenovo-ThinkVision-28

As for the Galaxy Camera 2, kudos to Samsung for having the decency to not actually bring it on the CES announcement stage, unveiling it a little earlier. One trainwreck was more than enough for the night.

Prom queen: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

It narrowly missed out the “most likely to succeed” honor to the Z1 Compact, so instead of snubbing it completely, I decided to give Sammy’s biggest, coolest, proudest tablet to date a possibly even shinier trophy.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-Pro-12.2

The thing is it may not succeed after all. But on paper, it looks exquisite, with a gigantic, vibrant display, all the oomph you could ever need, smoother software than ever and S Pen productivity. If only it wasn’t so damn expensive.

Class clown: Acer Liquid Z5

I said it all when rounding up the pre-show launches. Acer meant well, but failed miserably, with a crappy 2010-reminiscent jumbo-sized slab that simply should have never existed. Not in 2010, not now.

Acer-Liquid-Z5

Most likely to get by on looks: Toshiba Chromebook, Asus Zenfone line

It’s not running Android, but it might as well, since Chrome OS is essentially a less functional, but cleaner Android fork. However, what makes the Toshiba Chromebook really stand out is its incredible aesthetic semblance with Apple MacBooks.

Toshiba_Chromebook

Lawsuit pending? Maybe, but all’s fair in love, war and tech, and until they’ll be forced to pay Cupertino damages, the creators of this fresh Chromebook are to make quite the handsome profits. Granted, the margins can’t be huge on a $280 laptop, but make no mistake, there’s a very solid market for low-cost “iClones”.

asus-zenfone-6

Meanwhile, the Asus Zenfones are not handsome in a conventional way, but they’re colorful, playful, cute… and cheap. So frigging cheap! Way to shift your attention to not hybrid smartphones, guys!

The “don’t call it that way” award: ZTE Iconic Phablet

Rarely have I ever got the sudden urge to punch an Android OEM in the face (hypothetically speaking) like when ZTE took the wraps off the “Iconic” Phablet. That’s the single most idiotic name a company has given an underwhelming gizmo since, what do you know, ZTE again introduced the Geek. Are these guys for real or are they the world’s biggest attention whoring trolls?

ZTE-Iconic-Phablet

Because if it’s the latter, then they might be incredibly smart after all. Think about it, ZTE had a fairly modest CES 2014 showing, and taking for granted the “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” saying, they needed something to get people talking. Mostly swearing, snarking and ridiculing, but talking nevertheless.

The “if only looks wouldn’t matter” award: Neptune Pine

An independently working smartwatch with hardware from this millennium, a full version of Android, nice cameras and sizable battery? I’ll take a dozen. Not so fast. Because the Neptune Pine, while a tremendous idea in theory, is gigantic, bulky and overpriced. You’d probably be better off just slapping a Galaxy S2 or something on your wrist. It’ll make you look equally as crazy and douchey.

Neptune_Pine

Most likely to win the lottery but lose the ticket: Meizu, Huawei

Okay, we’ve officially been waiting for this Western invasion of Chinese brands for, what, a decade, century, and with each passing year, it looks less and less likely of ever happening. I mean, both Meizu and Huawei (plus ZTE) visited Las Vegas for CES 2014, but did it more to cross another item off their bucket lists or something.

meizu-mx3

Meizu showcased the quirky-yet-beautiful MX3, announcing it’ll roll out stateside in… Q3 (?!?), whereas Huawei was an even bigger disappointment, presenting the Ascend Mate 2 with a 6.1-inch 720p panel and mediocre 1.6 GHz Snapdragon SoC. Good thing it can charge other phones and offers 4G LTE support herp a derp.

Alright, dear readers, now it’s your turn. How would you describe CES 2014 in one word? What devices are your own personal standouts and why? We’re all ears.

T-Mobile added over 1.6 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2013

T-Mobile LogoT-Mobile held its much anticipated media event in Las Vegas yesterday announcing the arrival of its Uncarrier 4.0 plans. Along with that, the carrier also published its performance results from the last two years, showing a massive growth in the last quarter of 2013. T-Mobile reportedly added over 1.6 million customers in the last three months of 2013, thanks to the massive ad campaign and the competitive pricing.

With the announcement of Uncarrier 4.0, T-Mobile will hope to add several more customers to its roster this year which could be a cause for concern for the likes of Sprint and AT&T, while Verizon still enjoys a large user base in the U.S. T-Mobile is now on the verge of being one of the fastest growing carriers in the U.S. which will be a remarkable feat for the carrier.

During the announcement, T-Mobile also mentioned that it has the fastest data network in the U.S. The data was apparently accessed by Ookla which runs the Speedtest app. With speeds of up to 17.8Mbps in coverage areas, T-Mobile is way ahead of the second best AT&T which peaks at 14.5Mbps according to the available data. However, T-Mobile doesn’t enjoy the coverage area of AT&T or Verizon, so the results could be different when T-Mobile expands into more regions of the U.S.

Via: Talk Android, Android Central

T-Mobile will pay off ETF for families who transfer from another network

T-Mobile ETF

T-Mobile ETFAhead of its official announcement today, T-Mobile has confirmed what’s in store for the customers with Uncarrier 4.0. According to an ad which has been circulating on websites for the past few hours, T-Mobile will look to tackle the early termination fee or ETF while customers switch from another carrier. This will provide more motivation for the users to switch over to T-Mobile as the hefty early termination fee, which the major carriers demand, will be paid off.

The ad also implies that T-Mobile is looking to lure in entire families with the plan as it will reportedly offer up to $350 per family if they’re willing to bring over at least 3 devices/lines to the pink side. Devices from Sprint, AT&T and Verizon will qualify under this promotion according to a small disclaimer in the ad at the bottom which goes on to say that customers can bring up to five lines. A formal announcement and more details are awaited later today when T-Mobile CEO will take the stage at 12:30PM PST, so make sure you keep a close eye to learn what other surprises T-Mobile has for us.

Via: Droid-Life

Razer Nabu Is A Fitness Band And Smartwatch

Razer has long been known for its gaming devices and accessories however the company plans to add a new product in the form of a wearable device. At CES 2014 the company announced the Razer Nabu smart band which is a hybrid of a smartwatch and an activity tracker.

Razer-Nabu

The Nabu acts as a smartwatch in a sense that it provides notifications from a paired iOS or Android phone to the user. Calls, text messages, emails, and other forms of notifications will be sent to the smart band. It also acts as a fitness band since it keeps track of how many steps the user has taken,  how many calories are burned, and is able to keep data on activity workouts.

This device has three core features:

Notification on your wrist

  • The device has two OLED notification screens. The first is a Public Icon screen and the second is a Private Message screen. The Public Icon screen is located on top of the screen and is where the user is notified of new messages, calls, emails, or app updates. The Private Screen which is located inside the wrist provides detailed information regarding the notification which the user can only view.

Advanced sensors to track data for self analysis

  • Various sensors have been placed inside the device which is used to track data such as location information, bio data feedback (steps walked, distance traveled, stairs climbed, etc.), sleep data, band-to-band communication and many more. This data is collected in an opt-in basis.

First truly sociable wearable

  • The Nabu has a feature called band to band communication which allows users to find friends or mutual acquaintances based on defined settings.

Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director, said in announcing the device that “Smart watches in their current form are too bulky and fitness trackers are easily forgotten after the initial novelty wears off — we have fixed all of that. The Razer Nabu provides a revolutionary new platform that bridges the divide between so-called smart watches and fitness bands. It delivers only the information you need, collects data that you want, and deepens your social interactions. Most excitingly, with our open platform, developers can utilize data collected by the Nabu to deliver incredible experiences to individuals via mobile or desktop apps — social or otherwise.”

The Razer Nabu comes with a utility app that I going to be available for the iOS and Android platform. It’s going to be released worldwide in the late Q1 of 2014 and is expected to have a developer price of $49.

Razer Nabu Technical Specifications

Displays and sensors

  • Public icon screen: 32×32 pixel OLED
  • Private message screen: 128×32 pixel OLED
  • Accelerometer
  • Altimeter
  • Cylindrical vibration motor

Software

  • Works with iOS + Android
  • Downloadable Nabu Utility app for notifications, data, and other settings

Power and Battery

  • Lithium-polymer battery
  • 7 days between charges
  • USB charging cable included

Water resistance and operational requirements

  • Rain and splashproof
  • Operating temp: – 20°C to 45°C/ -4°F to 113°F

via gigaom

Connected devices: Will Android be at the center of it all?

Android-in-the-car

CES 2014 is in full force, and we are seeing a handful of interesting launches and updates from different companies. We have a recap of Day 1, with my colleague Adrian Diaconescu highlighting the good parts from a handful of major manufacturers, plus some areas in which the brands are quite lacking.

What is interesting to note, so far, is that connected devices are on the rise, and Android could be at the center of it all. For example, we have seen our fair share of smart watches and connected accessories that either run Android or interface with Android devices. And then there’s the Open Automotive Alliance, a project that Google has spearheaded in partnership with Audi, GM, Hondia, Hyundai and NVIDIA.

The ultimate mobile computer

Connected cars are not exactly new, as we have seen embedded interfaces in cars for a few years now, which include BMW’s iDrive, among others. What’s exciting, however, is that the OAA is likely to bring in a better level of standardization than with the current iterations. And users can perhaps be assured of in-car computers that are more intuitive to navigate and operate than existing systems that often have a steep learning curve.

Android could soon be driving your car.
Android could soon be driving your car.

IHS Automotive estimates that there are about 23 million automobiles around the world connected to the Internet somehow, in various capacities. By 2020, IHS Automotive estimates connected automobiles to number about 152 million. Here’s where Android and the OAA might be able to gain traction. Cars are, after all, the “ultimate mobile computer,” says Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA. “With onboard supercomputing chips, futuristic cars of our dreams will no longer be science fiction.”

Just like how Android has provided a solid platform for smartphones of all specs and sizes, the same can also be said for automotive tech  — quite similar to how the Open Handset Alliance helped catapult Android to its level of usage and market share today. In the near future, onboard computing interfaces will no longer be limited to luxury vehicles or premium add-ons. Even budget cars could come with Android pre-installed onboard.

Interfacing the human body

Another theme at CES that I find interesting is the advancements in virtual- and augmented reality, as well as wearable technology. While the idea of wearable glasses like Google Glass has gained some ground in 2013, there is still some doubt as to how mainstream the actual product can become in 2014 due to its forecasted price point. One area where AR and VR technology can potentially gain traction is in gaming, however.

At CES, Oculus VR is demonstrating its latest version of virtual-reality glasses Oculus Rift, which aims to improve the immersive gaming experience with a more responsive device — an update that can resolve the latency issue that reportedly causes discomfort during use. Sony is also introducing its own head-mounted display as part of its future portable- or home-theater lineup.

Almost everyone has smartphones today, but soon we would probably be walking around town in this get-up.
Almost everyone has smartphones today, but soon we would probably be walking around town in this get-up.

Perhaps even more interesting is how companies like YEI Technology are likewise introducing motion-capture devices that can interface with these AR and VR technologies for an even more immersive gaming experience. Current motion-sensing technologies use some form of visual cues for tracking movement. YEI’s PrioVR is actually a full- or half-body suit that can more accurately track motion through accelerometers and other sensors, intended for game control. The company already offers this technology to the military and entertainment industries, and will be bringing the same accuracy to the consumer market.

Oculus Rift will work on PC and Android, according to developers. At CES 2014, in Las Vegas this week, YEI and Oculus VR are going to present a live demo combining the PrioVR mo-cap suit with the Oculus Rift, which enables the player control and visual access to the game environment as if it were the real world. In the future, of course, this combination will not be limited to mobile gaming, but can also extend to other applications that require an immersive VR experience and precise motion-based controls. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next few decades, we would be completely ditching the touchscreen devices that are currently in fashion today, for a combination of devices we will actually wear.

Intel shows off its smartwatch prototype at CES

Intel Smartwatch

Intel SmartwatchSmartwatches have still not caught on with the masses. While the idea is very decent, consumer adoption is key to a project’s success. This has been proven with the Samsung Galaxy Gear or even the recently launched Qualcomm Toq. And Intel is looking to make the best of the situation by launching a smartwatch of its own. The company showed off its first smartwatch during its keynote address at the CES which is quite different from what we have seen so far. To begin with, the smartwatch functions independently and wouldn’t require a smartphone to pair with. It also comes with cellular connectivity, so you can basically use it more effectively than a conventional smartwatch.

Intel refrained from giving out specifics about the price or a precise arrival date, but mentioned that the device will be sold through Barneys New York. Intel has also struck a partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to further improve the smartwatch. The strap of the smartwatch will be designed by renowned fashion firm Opening Ceremony, so Intel appears to have covered all its bases. Intel has been very secretive about this smartwatch and is giving nothing away at this moment, so it’s hard to predict how it will do in the market. We’re expecting a mid 2014 or a Q3 release with a sub $400 price tag.

The CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich had this to say – “Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren’t yet solving real problems and they aren’t yet integrated with our lifestyles. We’re focused on addressing this engineering innovation challenge.”

Source: Intel

Via: The Verge

Philips will launch Android powered Smart TVs later this year

Philips Smart TV

Philips Smart TVPhilips has just announced the launch of its Android powered Ambilight televisions in late 2014. These will be Smart TVs and will pack a decent hardware specs sheet to handle graphics heavy titles and games with relative ease. The company mentions that these devices will contain a quad core processor, although it didn’t specify the chipset or the make. Interestingly, these new televisions will come with support for Philips’ standard Smart TV apps as well as content from the Google Play Store, so you can use it just as a regular Android device.

Philips hasn’t given out specific launch or price related information but we hope to learn more as the months pass. Philips has never really been in the smartphone segment, so it would be wiser in choosing to merge Android with home appliances which has always been its strong suit. Current Smart TVs are fairly limited in their approach, but the implementation of Android will certainly change the way people think about televisions in the future. We hope to see more such televisions launching from manufacturers like Samsung and LG in the future.

Source: T3

Via: Android Guys

CES 2014: Day 1 Roundup (Samsung, Sony, Asus and ZTE Say Viva Las Vegas)

Nothing meaningful in the long haul ever happens at CES, blah blah blah, the expo lives in MWC’s shadows, yada yada yada, tech journalists only go to Vegas to socialize, drink and gamble. Be honest, you’ve heard one or all of the above at least a dozen times this past week or so, am I right?

CES 2014

Meanwhile, day 1 of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (or should I say day 0, since technically the trade exhibition gets underway today, on January 7?) brought to light Samsung’s four proudest tablets to date, a heap of exciting new Asus products, Sony’s highly anticipated “uncompromising” mini flagship, a super-slim, dirt-cheap “true” octa-core phone from Alcatel and another from ZTE that tops Motorola’s innovative Moto X in voice recognition technology.

Bottom line, your argument is officially invalid, dear CES haters, and that’s just looking at things from an Android perspective. Because the show is not only about gadgets running on Google’s mobile OS, and if we add curved 4K and 5K TVs, wearables and Windows machines in the equation, the resulting picture is even more incredibly flattering for a “second-tier” consumer electronics press event.

Las Vegas

Paying no further attention to biased criticism and pointless debates therefore, let’s recap all things Android that went down in Sin City yesterday, January 6:

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2, 10.1 and 8.4

Sammy fumbled and tumbled and struggled to keep the new four-member slate roster a secret, ultimately failing miserably and spilling the beans early. Yet everybody was still looking their way when actually introducing the Notes and Tabs.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro-Note Pro

And even without the surprise factor, no one was really disappointed. How could you be as long as these are by far the strongest Android-based iPad contenders in history, from a design standpoint, as well as in terms of hardware and software?

They all run 4.4 KitKat, sport mind-blowing screen resolution and pack quad-core Snapdragon 800 heat in 4G LTE variations and octa-core Exynos oomph with Wi-Fi and 3G. Their exteriors are clean and sleek, and the Note Pro 12.2 is an absolute productivity beast. Be afraid, Cupertino, be very afraid!

Sony Xperia Z1s and Z1 Compact

Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat. We were expecting more from Sony. After all, they stole the CES show a year ago, wowing with the world’s zippiest smartphones (at the time), the Xperia Z and ZL.

Playing it a little safer this time around, the Japanese look to be holding off their “next big thing” announcement for when Samsung, LG and HTC do the same. Still, the Z1 Compact can very well campaign for the title of “best of CES 2014”.

Sony Xperia Z1s

Heck, if we didn’t know it was coming for so long and if a Japanese version wasn’t official since last fall, the crown would probably already be in Sony’s camp. As for the Z1s, it’s a couple of months or so late, however it’s more than welcome to help Sony’s bid of once and for all becoming relevant stateside. Too bad T-Mo has exclusivity rights, which doesn’t exactly help the company’s cause and isolation.

Asus PadFone X for AT&T, Zenfone line, Intel-powered PadFone Mini and Transformer Book Duet

The details are scarce (to say the least), but one of those quirky PadFones is at last heading to America. Check that, two PadFones, albeit probably only the X will be subsidized by AT&T, whereas the PadFone Mini is on its way carrier and contract-free.

asus-zenFone

The Zenfone series includes three handhelds, a 4, 5 and 6 incher, neither of which plans to break any kind of speed records. But you can bet they’ll be cheap, plus they’re looking hot. Finally, the Transformer Book Duet keeps the Android/Windows dual-boot computer sector alive for some reason, though it has slimmer chances of breaking into the mainstream than, well, the PadFones.

Alcatel One Touch Idol X+, Pop C9, Pop 7 and 8

I know, I know, you don’t really trust Alcatel as you’ve probably heard very little of the brand. And I don’t blame you. But they’ve been making huge strides of late, including in the US, and the OT Idol X+ is the icing on the cake. It’s a “true” octa-core phone with a 5-inch Full HD panel, 7.9 mm waist and 13 MP rear-facing camera that, get this, is rumored to cost no more than $330. Crazy, huh?

Alcatel One Touch Idol X Plus

The Pop C9 phablet and Pop 7 and 8 tabs are far less exciting, although Alcatel has a way of pricing such products so low that it’s almost impossible to say no to them.

ZTE Grand S II

Marketing focused on software add-ons and “user experience” didn’t exactly work for the Moto X, whose sales numbers paled compared with advertising investments, yet ZTE takes a similar promoting path with the Grand S II.

zte-grand-s-ii

The difference? This spanking new 5.5-incher is actually quite special in the hardware department too, as it touts a state-of-the-art S800 Soc, Full HD panel and 2 GB RAM. Also, the voice commands on the Grand S II are more evolved and complex than on the Moto X. Interested? You damn well should be.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2

It’s as if the competing China-based OEMs made a deal to hit Las Vegas with the most unusual sales pitches. Well, if that was the case, Huawei may just trump ZTE, as it focused its Ascend Mate 2 propaganda on the phablet’s ability of charging… other devices.

Huawei-Ascend-Mate-2

But hey, who can blame them for grasping at straws as there wasn’t much else to flaunt about the Mate 2. I mean, a 720p 6.1-inch screen and 1.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm CPU? What is this, Huawei, CES 2012?

HP Slate 21 Pro AiO and Lenovo ThinkVision 28 4K monitor

Sorry, HP, Lenovo, but your Android-powered CES guns are so… odd and hard to market they don’t deserve their own sections in our recap. Of the two, the ThinkVision 28 screams vaporware, as it’s pricey and pointless, while the Slate 21 Pro all-in-one PC is, well, at least fairly cheap, at $400.

HP-Slate-21-Pro

Alright, that’s a wrap, but be sure to continue keeping your eyes peeled on The Droid Guy for the most epic CES coverage around. Remember, there are still three days to go.   

Polaroid Socialmatic camera + printer will launch this fall for $299

Polaroid Socialmatic

Polaroid SocialmaticThe Polaroid Socialmatic camera was announced way back in July last year but never got an official launch due to a few reasons. But Polaroid has now unveiled this Android based camera + printer at the ongoing CES event in Las Vegas. Just like a standard Polaroid camera, this is capable of capturing pictures and printing them immediately, which will require the 2 x 3 inch Zero Ink or ZINK photo paper inside. If not, you can just as easily share these images through online services like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter thanks to the vast collection of apps available on Android.

The Socialmatic houses a 4.5 inch display, a 14MP camera which is the highlight of the device, a 2MP camera for self portraits and 4GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot. It also packs Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for easy sharing. The camera itself looks a whole lot like the Instagram logo, which is not a coincidence. The photos printed from the camera will be water resistant and smudge proof. The Socialmatic will launch in fall 2014 according to the company for the same $299 pricing as previously mentioned. This could give the Galaxy Camera 2 a run for its money, especially considering the price and functionality.

Source: Polaroid

Via: Android Central

Huawei’s new Ascend Mate 2 smartphone can charge other mobile devices

Huawei Ascend Mate 2

Huawei Ascend Mate 2Huawei has just unveiled the Ascend Mate 2 phablet which was leaked in detail last week. Despite being low on specs, the tablet does manage to stand out from the crowd unlike other phablets in the market today. The smartphone packs a massive 4,050 mAh battery which is capable of charging other phones, through an external cable. That’s an excellent feature to have as the phone will basically act as an external battery pack for other mobile devices. Ironically, the CEO of Huawei demonstrated this feature by charging an iPhone.

Despite Huawei’s alleged exit from the American market, it is being said that the smartphone will be made available in the U.S. through a major carrier like AT&T. Although we’ve not had the carrier confirming this report, it makes sense given that AT&T already sells low cost phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Mega in the U.S.

The Ascend Mate 2 sports a 6.1 inch 720p display, a 13MP camera with a 5MP front camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, 4G LTE and Android 4.3 with Huawei’s Emotion UI 2.0. The Chinese variant of the Ascend Mate 2 will feature Huawei’s custom quad core HiSilicon ARM Cortex-A9 based chipset while the global variants will sport the quad core Qualcomm MSM8928 or the Snapdragon 400 chip. Despite its size, the smartphone is only 9.5mm in thickness but weighs a whopping 202 grams. We can expect the smartphone to launch in global markets, including the U.S. by March with pricing information yet to be disclosed.

Via: Engadget

Asus Transformer Book Duet Gets Launched, Dual Boots Android And Windows

Laptops that can dual boot between different operating system versions have been around for quite some time now. Consumers who are geeky enough can install Windows 7 and Windows 8, or even Windows 7 and Ubuntu on their laptops. What’s new however is a laptop that can dual boot between Android and Windows and can even function as a laptop.

asus transformer book duet

Asus has just announced at CES 2014 the ASUS Transformer Book Duet  which is the world’s first quad mode, dual operating laptop and tablet hybrid. This device lets users easily switch between the Android and Windows 8.1 system providing the best of both worlds. It can also function as a laptop or a tablet

Transformer Book Duet TD300 Technical Specifications

  • Dual-OS – Windows 8.1 Standard / Android 4.1
  • 13.3-inch Full HD IPS multi-touch display
  • Up to Intel Core i7 processor
  • 4GB DDR3L 1600 RAM
  • Up to 128GB SSD in Tablet
  • Up to 1TB HDD in Dock
  • 38WHr battery, estimated battery life around 5 hours in Windows 8.1 and 6 hours in Android 4.2.2.
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
  • Tablet ports: Micro SD card, Headphone jack, DC jack
  • Keyboard dock ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 10/100Mbit/s LAN, HDMI 1.4, audio combo jack, DC jack

TD300_Cut_10

In terms of power the Transformer Book duet is a very capable device due to its use of an Intel processor that can either be a Core i3, Core i5, or a Core i7 depending on the version chosen. It comes with 4 GB of RAM to allow a smooth multitasking experience. The Core i3 version has a 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768. The Core i7 version which will be released later this year also has a 13.3-inch display but will have a FHD IPS (1920 x 1080) resolution.

In tablet mode the device has up to 128 GB of SSD storage which can further be increased with the addition of a 64 GB microSD. When the keyboard dock is used consumers will have access to up to 1 TB of storage space as this dock houses the hard drive. The dock also has several ports including USB 3.0, USB 2.0, LAN, and HDMI 1.4 output with 1080p support.

The Asus Transformer Book Duet is a very impressive device that is trying to do all things at once by covering all the bases. The only downside so far is that it uses an older version of Android (4.1) and its resolution of 1,920×1,080 pixels can’t compete with the higher resolution displays of tablets that are to debut at CES 2014.

via asus