While we flew back home yesterday, today officially marks the end of 2014's don't-call-it-the-Consumer-Electronics-Show (seriously, check out the "note to editors" on any official CES press release). Another year of crazy gadgets, an almost inappropriately huge number of televisions, and a whole lot of white particle board walls. I generally look forward to going to most tech conventions - MWC, IFA, GDC, and Google I/O. CES is the one I've grown to have mixed feelings about - it's frantic, almost inconceivably large, and increasingly straining to retain its relevance to the mobile industry.
Android-powered all-in-one PCs are all the rage... or at least that's what desktop manufacturers are hoping at CES. HP is the latest to enter this particular fray with the Slate21 Pro, an all-in-one design that runs any OS you want, as long as you want Android. The 21.5", 1080p IPS touchscreen hides a respectable NVIDIA Tegra 4 system underneath, with Android 4.3 and access to the Google Play Store.
This model is aimed squarely at businesses for a kiosk environment - think hotel business suites or elementary school computer labs.
Want a sweet deal on a Lenovo tablet? Well even if you don't, Best Buy is offering it, so pass this on to someone who does. Best Buy is offering significant discounts on both the unique Yoga Tablet 8 and the more conventional IdeaTab S6000. For today only, the 8-inch Yoga is $199.99 on the online store, a full $50 off. That's even better than the Lenovo perks site.
If you've used Android 4.1 or later on a phone or tablet with 1GB of RAM, you know things can get a little tight in the memory department. That's what makes newer and slightly underpowered devices like the Lenovo Yoga a little disappointing. Google has decided to trim the fat with Android 4.4 in an initiative they've christened "Project Svelte." This isn't a single change, it's a wide range of additions to the Android API and optional hardware configurations designed to make KitKat run smoothly on devices with as little as 512MB of system memory.
According to the new 4.4 developer page, Project Svelte starts with recommendations and options targeted at device manufacturers.
Manufacturing smartphones is a competitive game. I'm talking playing StarCraft in South Korea rough. Succeeding in this market is akin to getting into an Ivy League university, then going on to join the NFL. It's not impossible, but neither is becoming president. If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. It must be too hot for NEC, as they're bowing out of the smartphone market. Given that this was one of their latest models, the news doesn't come as too much of a surprise.
Welcome to the Android Police Podcast, Episode 67.
I'd like to apologize in advance for a few technical snafus and various awkward transitions you may notice in this week's show, as much of the Eastern US was experiencing severe storms yesterday, causing problems with the YouTube / Hangouts On Air backend.
Don't forget - the Android Police Podcast's live broadcast is every Thursday at 5PM PST (www.androidpolice.com/podcast). You can also check out our calendar, below, for detailed scheduling information.
Hardware enthusiasts are probably already aware of Futuremark and its PCMark software, a standard for testing and comparing computer hardware for years. PCMark is popular among reviewers and users for its comparison of hardware on standards that are more likely to reflect real-world, typical usage. Today Futuremark announced that it's bringing the software to the "Big three" mobile operating systems, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Futuremark's press release did not include a date.
Most smartphone manufacturers have chosen to ignore Intel's mobile offerings in favor of ARM chips, but Intel is hoping to change their minds with its latest microarchitecture. Today Intel unveiled Silvermont, which reportedly will result in new mobile chips with three times the performance of current-gen Intel Atom processors. Alternatively, Silvermont will enable Intel's next-gen Merrifield smartphone chips to achieve the same performance levels as Clover Trail+ with one-fifth of the power consumption.
At the moment, mobile platforms are vastly dominated by the ARM architecture, licensed to pretty much every major chip/phone maker out there. That isn't stopping Intel from pushing forward with its x86 mobile chips. The latest taker for the Atom line is Chinese manufacturer ZTE, with the oh-so-appropriately-named ZTE GEEK. The 5-inch smartphone was announced at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.
The GEEK is built around the Atom Z2580 chip, a 2.0Ghz dual-core processor that uses Intel's 32 nanometer fabrication process.
Since the dawn of mobile gaming, a handful of genres have struggled with the transition to tiny screens, while still keeping usable controls. Oil Rush is Unigine's attempt at one of the most daunting categories, real-time strategy. The game doesn't come with just another slightly different control scheme, it's equipped with a full storyline, high end graphics, and voice actors! Oh yeah, and a pretty high price tag...
Set during a post-apocalyptic war in which a nuclear weapon has melted the ice caps and flooded Earth, the remaining inhabitants fight to control any last remaining oil reserves.