CES 2014: Android Highlights
Well, another CES has come to a close. We saw a lot of new products this year, though things were pretty scant on the mobile side. Samsung announced some new tablets, Sony brought forth a couple of new phones for the U.S. market, and ASUS told us about a slew of new devices in a variety of form factors (as ASUS generally does). In case you missed some of those announcements, here’s a quick recap of what went down with some of the biggest names in Android.
Samsung announced the TabPRO and NotePRO line, a variety of devices ranging from 8.4 to 12.2 inches and packed to the brim with powerful hardware and an all new UI. There are three TabPRO models — 8.4, 10.1, and 12.2 — while the NotePRO is only available in the 12.2-inch size. All four devices are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, pack 3GB of RAM, and have beautiful 2560×1600 displays (yep, even the 8.4-inch model). Samsung is calling the new UI “Magazine UX” as it offers a new look on the homescreens that is reminiscent of, you guessed it, a magazine. Unfortunately, the company didn’t announce pricing or availability, so you’re out of luck if you were ready to jump in line and make one of these your next tablet.
Sony has been pretty quiet here in the States lately (aside from the monstrous Xperia Z Ultra, that is), but the company took the wraps off of two new phones at CES this year: the Xperia Z1s and Xperia Z1 Compact. While carrier information wasn’t announced for the former, the latter will be available exclusively through T-Mobile. Both phones pack Snapdragon 800 processors and 2GB of RAM, but the Compact has an easily-handled 4.3-inch display and the Z1s is sporting a more modern 5-inch panel. Like Samsung, no release dates were announced. Noticing a trend here?
ASUS always knows how to bring a lot of energy to any event, and the company’s CEO Jonny Shih was excited (as he always is) to announce not one, two, or even three new Android-powered devices, but six. Here’s the scoop:
- - ZenFone 4: This 4-inch device is sporting an Intel Atom 2560 processor and 1GB of RAM for the low price of $99 off-contract.
- - ZenFone 5: As you may expect, the ZenFone 5 has a five-inch display. Otherwise, it’s very similar to the ZenFone 4, though it features a faster Atom processor and a price bump up to $150. Again, no contract.
- - ZenFone 6: This is ASUS’ flagship ZenFone. At 6-inches, it features the largest display, and also the option for 2GB of RAM. With a price of only $200 off-contract, it’s probably the best deal dollar-for-dollar.
- - PadFone Mini: Like last year’s PadFone, only smaller. The phone is a 4-inch model that docks into a 7-inch tablet. At $250 USD, it’s the most affordable PadFone yet.
- - PadFone X: The first PadFone to come to the States! The X features a 5-inch phone that docks into a 9-inch tablet, and will be exclusively available on AT&T. Don’t expect the super-low price of the others, however.
- - Transformer Book Duet: It’s a laptop and tablet in one that runs both Windows and Android. With a starting price of only $599, this 13.3-inch device will offer options for various Intel Core processors (i3, i5, and i7), sports 4GB of RAM and a 720p display. A 1080p model will also available starting at $699.
So there you go — a quick look at some of the bigger Android-related announcements to come out of Consumer Electronics Show 2014. Mobile products are becoming less and less relevant at this conference every year (mostly because Mobile World Congress is just right around the corner), but that didn’t stop some of the biggest names in the game from making a splash at the world’s largest electronics event.