Posted by: Tim | January 10, 2011

My CES 2011 Round-Up: Part 1

Last week the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in Las Vegas.  CES is a technology-related trade show.  Basically this is one of the places companies come to preview and announce their new products.  It’s also a place where concepts are shown and ideas/initiatives are announced.  It is not open to the public, so unfortunately I will probably never get to go.  However with the wonderful blogging of Engadget and Boy Genius Report, I at least got to follow along.  There were tons of interesting things revealed, more than I could possibly discuss, in fact, more than I could even keep track of.  So I’ll share a little glimpse of what I found interesting at CES 2011.  So much information, it’s hard to figure out where to even begin.  So let’s just dive in.

Phones, Phones and more Phones

CES isn’t traditionally a huge mobile event.  Mobile announcements are usually saved for the Mobile World Congress (Feb 14-17) and CTIA Wireless (March 22-24), but this year was different.  Both carriers and manufacturers were on hand to reveal new phones.  I’m sure this is just the beginning too.  MWC and CTIA will have major announcements as well, I’m sure.  So let’s cover some phones.  I will by no means cover all of the phones announced, but I’ll cover a couple of the ones I find interesting.

We’ll start with the HTC Thunderbolt for Verizon’s LTE network.  It looks similar to the EVO and seems to be based on the Desire HD’s hardware.  I’ve been looking forward to this phone’s announcement for a while and was happy to read that it was speedy and the screen was excellent.  However I was disappointed that it doesn’t have an HDMI port.  Here are the specs:

  • Networks: Verizon LTE
  • Operating system: Android 2.2 + HTC Sense 2.0
  • Display: 4.3″ Super LCD
  • Camera: 8MP with autofocus, LED Flash (2x LED), 1.3MP front facing camera
  • Memory: 8GB Internal, Preinstalled 32 GB microSD
  • WLAN: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 2.1 with EDR (3.0 when available)
  • GPS: GPS/AGPS
  • Battery: 1400 mAh
  • Special features: Dual mics with noise cancellation, Surround sound, Compass sensor, G-Sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor, 3.5mm audio jack, MicroUSB, FM radio, LTE SIM slot, Skype Mobile, HD Video Recording, Wireless DLNA capability
  • Chipset: 1Ghz Snapdragon Processor

The Motorola DROID Bionic 4G is a Verizon LTE phone featuring a dual-core 1GHz processor.  It supposedly feels like a lighter Droid 2.  From what I’ve read it is said to be blazing fast and to have great screen quality and viewing angles.

  • Networks: Verizon LTE
  • Operating system: Android 2.2
  • Display: 4.3″ HD quality screen
  • Camera: 8MP rear camera, VGA  front facing camera
  • Memory: ??
  • WLAN: 8??
  • Bluetooth: ??
  • GPS: ??
  • Battery: ??
  • Special features: HDMI connectivity, 512 DDR2 RAM, Mirror Mode which lets you simultaneous stream video to the TV and on the device, Multiplayer gaming capability
  • Chipset: Dual-core 1Ghz Processor

I look forward to finding out more about this phone, though I wish they would have upped the megapixels of the front facing camera.

The Atrix 4G has some pretty amazing specs.  The display gives the Apple iPhone 4 a run for its money with pixel density.  It has a dual-core 1GHz processor.  The stats alone put this up there as a standout phone, but there’s more.

  • Networks: AT&T
  • Operating system: Android 2.2 w/ Motoblur
  • Display: 4.0″ QHD (960×540)
  • Camera: 5 MP autofocus with Dual LED flash and VGA front-facing camera
  • Memory: 16 GB internal memory, up to 32 GB external memory
  • WLAN: 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 2.1+EDR with stereo
  • GPS: ??
  • Battery: 1930 mAh (which dwarfs the average smartphone’s 1300-1500 mAH)
  • Special features: HDMI Connectivity, 1GB of  RAM, Fingerprint Login Security, 2-Microphone Noise Reduction Technology, Laptop Dock & Multimedia Dock (not included), Two Web Browsers (Standard WebKit browser on device and full HTML tabbed Firefox® Web browser in webtop mode)
  • Chipset: Dual-core 1Ghz NVIDIA Tegra Processor

The Atrix 4G will be available with what they’re simply calling a laptop dock.  It’s a laptop dock that pairs up with an app on the phone (Webtop) which transforms the Atrix into a full-fledged smartbook.  All you do is dock the phone onto the back left edge of a larger chassis.  The chassis is 11.6-inch display with two USB ports, a chiclet keyboad and a trackpad.  The docked Atrix shows you a windowed UI on the chassis display, a Mac OS-X like application dock, full version of Firefox w/ Flash 10.1 support, a file manager and remote desktop support. Also apparently the state of the Webtop application is maintained between sessions, so you can undock at anytime.  Of course it will cost extra, but it seems brilliant.  It definitely makes this phone standout amongst the crowd.

Honorable Mentions

LG announced a couple phones at CES, but nothing I thought was revolutionary despite one of their phones being called LG Revolution.  Their revolutionary phone was actually announced in December, the LG Optimus 2X (T-Mobile).  It was the first dual-core smartphone to launch.  Since it wasn’t announced at CES, I’ll skip over it, but you can read more about it here.

The Verizon iPhone.  I didn’t include the iPhone because it was not announced at CES, in fact, it hasn’t actually been announced at all yet.  However, the ever vigilant rumor mill says tomorrow is the day Verizon announces it.  All the rumors seem to indicate that it’ll be the iPhone 4, but compatible with Verizon.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  You can join me and follow along with Engadget’s Live Blog of the event tomorrow.

Verizon announced an unnamed Samsung phone, but, in my opinion, it was nothing spectacular.  They also teased the Samsung Infuse 4G, with it’s 1.2 GHz Hummingbird processor and 4.5″ Super AMOLED Plus Screen, but they lose points because it was just a dummy unit and doesn’t have a hint of LTE, so not really 4G.  However, they really get included here because during their press conference they promised dual-core smartphones and new tablets on February 13th at the Mobile World Congress.  So I’m keeping my eye on you Samsung!

That’s All…For Now

That wraps up the phone portion of my round up.  If I was eligible for a phone upgrade now, it would be very difficult for me to choose between the HTC Thunderbolt and the Motorola Bionic, despite the fact that I was extremely anxious to see the release of the HTC Thunderbolt.  They both have their own unique and interesting qualities.  The Bionic has the dual-core processor, but not much more in the way of specs announced yet, but the Thunderbolt has more of its specs revealed, a better front facing camera, plus I like HTC Sense UI.  However, by far, the stand out in my mind is the Motorola Atrix.  If it was on Verizon LTE, I think I’d be sold despite having the same front facing camera as the Bionic.  My advice to anyone who is eligible would be to wait until around April, so you can see what develops with these phones and wait to hear what’s announced at the Mobile World Congress (Samsung made some promises) and the CTIA Wireless.

In the next parts, I’ll highlight some tablets and some minor (but interesting) announcements.

The Engadget and Boy Genius Report links I’ve posted above will take you to all of their CES 2011 coverage and the CES website has a link to videos of all the Keynotes from this year.  There’s a ton of stuff I haven’t and won’t be mentioning like 3D television, 3D cameras & video cameras, portable Blu-ray players, 3D glasses, glasses free 3D, 3D laptops (lots and lots of 3D), appliances and a million and a half other things, so go wade through the vast amounts of information on your own to find what interests you and stay tuned for my next posts: Part 2 & Part 3

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