CES 2012: Smartphones, and Tablets, and Games! Oh My!
Every year, Las Vegas plays host to one of the biggest technology-related trade shows there is: the Consumer Electronics Show, more amicably known as CES. Even though CES is only half way through, we’ve already seen some pretty spectacular stuff – things like super thin OLED TVs and custom molded earphones – but it seems that this year, the spotlight is on mobile computing with smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Over the past couple of years, smartphones have been seeing explosive progress in everything from performance to functionality. At the start of every year, someone makes the claim that it will be the “Year of the Smartphone.” Well, it looks like we’ll be going on the third “Year of the Smartphone” in a row this year, and I, for one, am not disappointed.
Intel Enters the Race
Intel has been talking about developing smartphone processors for a while, but now it’s official. In the second quarter of this year, Lenovo will be launching the very first Intel powered Android phone, the K800. While not quite as power efficient as the traditional ARM processors, Intel’s Medfield chip, now known as the Atom Z2460, will offer a new level of performance in smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks. It will definitely be interesting to see how it compares to Nvidia’s ARM-based Tegra 3.
Tegra 3, the first quad-core processor to be found stuffed inside a tablet (the Transformer Prime) has been on the market since December, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t make an appearance at CES. Not only were there several Tegra 3 tablets from manufacturers like Toshiba, Asus, and Acer, but Fujitsu stole the show by displaying the first Tegra 3 smartphone. And in case you were curious about Tegra 3’s performance, a Tegra 3 tablet was shown playing Skyrim on an HDTV. So yes, current generation console performance has officially been achieved in the mobile sector.
Tons of New Smartphones
Just about everyone had a new smartphone to announce at CES this year. Samsung announced its Galaxy Note (as well as the Galaxy S II HD for T-Mobile); Sony came out with the Xperia S; Motorola had the Droid 4 and new RAZR MAXX (claiming 21 hours of talk time); and Nokia showed us the Lumia 710, as Windows Phone that might actually compete with the iPhone and Android for once. And that’s just to name a few of the big players’ announcements.
HDTVs and Entertainment
Apart from all of the fancy gadgetry, CES has always been a staging ground for home entertainment breakthroughs. HDTVs specifically, as well as other home appliances, have always been popular topics.
For the last year or two, HDTVs at CES were all about 3D. That phase is finally starting to die down (I personally say “Good riddance”), and the TV sector is transitioning onto the next big thing: OLED. LG wowed the audience with a magnificent 55-inch OLED TV that had some of the most vivid colors, deepest blacks, and sharpest image ever. Plus it was only 4mm thick!
There were of course plenty of other products on display, including Dish’s new wireless satellite receiver boxes, some fun remote controlled surveillance equipment, and a ton of talk about a new wave of GoogleTV devices.
Even though video game-related stuff is more of an E3 thing, there was plenty to go around at CES. For starters, the Wii U got some demo time, strutting its upgraded graphics and tablet-like controller. The PlayStation Vita also got some valuable face time, with Sony announcing a planned launch date of February 22nd.
CES 2012 continues through Friday, so stick around and we’ll keep you informed of all the cool gadgets and technology that are headed our way this year.