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Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Biggest Announcements From CES 2012

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The Biggest Announcements From CES 2012
by wsjudd on 26-01-2012 18:00 - last edited on 26-01-2012 13:10

Now that all of the hubbub has subsided from the Consumer Electronics Show, we can have a nice look at the biggest announcements it provided. CES, which is held in Las Vegas every January, is always a hotbed of product announcements and demonstrations and this year was no different. With thousands of products on display, I’ve narrowed it down to the top 6 biggest reveals of CES 2012: three smartphones and three tablets. Let’s get started!

Phones

The Sony Xperia S: An Android Behemoth



The Sony Xperia S is a gorgeous looking smartphone that turned quite a few heads at CES this year. It’s also a bit of a powerhouse as well, rocking a gorgeous 4.3” 720p HD display, a dual-core processor at 1.5 GHz and even a 12 megapixel camera.

Sadly, the phone will launch with Gingerbread, an older version of Android. Sony have insisted an upgrade to the latest version, Ice Cream Sandwich, will be released by June, though. Previously known by its codename Nozomi, the phone is the first Sony handset to drop the Ericsson branding, a result of Sony’s purchase of Ericsson’s share in the business. The Xperia S will reportedly launch here in the UK at the end of the month: January 30th.

The Nokia Lumia 900: Latest and Greatest Windows Phone



Windows Phone was ably represented by the latest Nokia handset, the Lumia 900. It’s a bigger version of the Nokia Lumia 800, with a rather crisp looking 4.3” AMOLED display. As well as the bigger screen, Nokia have also squeezed in a front-facing camera for video calling, a rather handy addition.

The biggest addition though is LTE, the fastest currently available cellular networks. These won’t be in Britain until 2015, but a GSM version of the phone, the Nokia Lumia 910, is rumoured. Along with the HTC Titan II, another big-screened Windows Phone launched at CES, the Lumia 900 represents the forefront of Windows Phone development. It's rumoured to launch here in the UK in either May or June, depending on who you believe, and may even come with an enhanced 12 megapixel camera. Not too bad, then!

The Lenovo K800: Intel’s Mobile Phone

Whilst CPU-maker Intel controls a vast share of the desktop market, they’re absolutely nowhere in the mobile market. Almost all smartphones today use processors based on designs from British firm ARM. Intel are hoping to change that by releasing their own line of mobile chipsets, called Medfield. We got to see the very first phone to use these Medfield chips at CES: The Lenovo K800.

Despite only having a single core clocked at 1.3 GHz, it outperforms the latest dual-core Android and Apple phones in web browsing and 3D graphics. It’s also got comparable battery life, giving it outstanding performance overall. Sadly, the Lenovo K800 will only be released in the last quarter of 2012 in China, so we’ll have to wait for a worldwide release on Intel’s next phone. That could come sooner than you think, with both Lenovo and Motorola signing multi-phone agreements with Intel.

Tablets



Acer Iconia Tab A700: The First Full HD Tablet

The Acer Iconia Tab was rumoured for a few weeks before CES, but at CES it was finally confirmed. It’s one of the most powerful tablets yet, with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a full HD display at 1920 x 1200 and Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android.

The tablet, which is expected to ship in the second quarter of 2012, is also surprisingly light and thin, measuring 9.8 mm. Apart from its performance though, this looks like a fairly pedestrian tablet that is lacking a killer unique feature.

Asus Transformer Prime TF700T: The Transformer Prime in Full HD

Asus have a winner on their hands with the critically acclaimed Transformer Prime. The quad-core tablet is one of the fastest available and comes with a handy keyboard dock and external battery ensemble. With the announcement of the full HD Iconia Tab A700 though, they were behind on that all-important display element.

To equalise, they’ve simply installed a higher-resolution 10” screen, jumping from 1280 x 800 pixels to 1920 x 1200. That’s slightly more than full HD, as you’d get on a Bluray, and keeps the Transformer Prime at the very cutting edge of tablet technology. Asus have also made a few other enhancements to the device, upgrading the front-facing camera and improving wireless connectivity with a new back design.

The tablet will come at $100 more expensive than its predecessor, and will see a worldwide release date of mid 2012.

Razer Project Fiona: The Gamer’s Tablet

Tablets have a tendency to all look and sound pretty much the same – they’re just small black rectangles. When you turn them on, there are apps sitting on a screen. You can poke them with your finger, and they respond. Even at CES, most of the tablets were quite expected: The same as last year’s, but with bigger screens and faster processors. Razer’s Project Fiona is something marvellously different.

Fiona is a Windows 7 gaming tablet with two affixed handles. Each handle has a thumb-stick, four buttons and two triggers. Even the internals are different, with Fiona coming with a powerful i7 processor and an un-named desktop-class graphics card. It’s enough to handle Skyrim, one of the most graphically demanding games ever released, on its highest settings. While it isn’t the thinnest or most long lasting tablet, it’s certainly the most unique. Fiona is expected to be released by the end of this year, and will cost about $1000 – also making it one of the most expensive tablets around.

That’s All, Folks

So there you have it – six of the biggest smartphone and tablet announcements of CES. Be sure to let us know what you think of the new gadgets in the comments below, and if we’ve missed a winner then tell us about it!

If you’re hungry for more of the latest gadgets, you don’t have long to wait – the Mobile World Conference, another hotbed of product announcements, is only a month away. We’ll be covering what you can expect to see there later this week, so keep it posted to the giffgaff community blog. Thanks for reading, and farewell for now!

William Judd is a copywriter and technology blogger based in Bristol. If you'd like to hire me or just say hello, feel free to visit my website at williamjudd.com or chat with me on Twitter.


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