As you may well know by now, Samsung launched a whole bunch o' tablets at CES this week, and by a bunch, I mean 4. The new Tab Pro 8.5, 10.1, and 12.2, and the new Note Pro 12.2. Four tablets, three sizes, two processors (Exynos 5 Octa or Snapdragon 800), and one screen resolution (2560x1600).
These are the first high-end tablets Samsung has produced for a couple of years (aside from the Nexus 10, of course), and it seems like after two budget-minded generations of Galaxy Tabs, they're finally ready to give the more expensive end of the market a try again.
After yesterday's Huawei press event, I had an opportunity to briefly go hands-on with the company's newest super-sized phone, the Ascend Mate 2 4G. The original Ascend Mate also made its debut at CES, and this newest iteration really doesn't break the mold its predecessor set.
The new Mate 2 does boast a smaller size overall than last year's model, giving it a screen to bezel ratio that Huawei claims is the industry's best among large phones.
Sony understands wearables, for the company's no stranger to Bluetooth headsets, earbuds, and, more recently, smartwatches. Now it's hitting CES with a new vision of SmartWear, a.k.a, basically whatever Sony makes that can pair with a phone and fit comfortable on, or in, your body. The most interesting of the newly unveiled gadgets is the SmartBand, a FitBit Flex-style bracelet that logs your activities throughout the day. It's thin, safe to wear in the shower, and has enough battery life to last for up to five days.
Get this - dedicated GPS units are still a thing. Not only do they still exist, people are still buying them. So with these two things being true, Magellan has announced a new line of RoadMate GPS units running Android. These products aim to address a key advantage smartphones have had over their more-focused counterparts, their highly responsive screens. The company is now bringing the finger-friendly capacitive screens they've reserved for high-end models down to a more affordable level.
Asus likes to explore unusual designs for its Android devices, as one look at the Padfone X will tell you. Another fresh take on mobile devices announced at CES comes in the form of the Asus Transformer Book Duet. This is a convertible laptop/tablet hybrid that dual-boots Windows 8.1 and Android 4.2.2. It also packs some serious laptop-grade hardware.
Making Android-powered cameras isn't something new for Polaroid, but that doesn't mean it's the first company to come to mind when thinking of capturing digital photos (and for good reason). On the other hand, the company's old instant printing cameras call upon an altogether different set of memories. So now the company is shaking things up by re-introducing the premise it's known for. Not only can the Socialmatic instantly share pictures to social networks like any other Android-toting camera out there, it can instantly print them out to a 2"x3" sheet of paper.
SanDisk's wireless flash drives offer a solution to a growing problem: the increasing absence of expandable memory options in the latest high-end phones. Users who are about to max out the space on their HTC Ones or Nexus 5s can't just pop in a new microSD card and be on their way. There's the option to offload extra data onto a cloud storage provider, but for people who rather hold their files in between their fingers, SanDisk's wireless flash drives can connect to any Android device, no cables of any kind required.
Vizio's pulled the curtains off two new Portable Smart Audio speakers that are powered by Android 4.4. What makes them special are the touchscreens embedded into the front of each device. Instead of having to pair them with a phone using Bluetooth, users will be free to stream music directly from the likes of Spotify and Pandora or enjoy video from Netflix or YouTube. Think of each version as a bulky tablet that doesn't need to rest in your lap, one with speakers that you won't leave you reaching for earbuds.
There will probably be untold heaps of smart watches announced at CES, but Qualcomm isn't just sitting on the sidelines. It has dropped the price of its limited-run Toq smart watch by $50, but it's a limited time offer. The new $299 price tag puts it right in line with the Samsung Galaxy Gear.
The Toq plugs into your Android device over Bluetooth to deliver notifications and control a handful of functions.
Parrot's AR.Drone has changed only slightly in its short history, but today the company has expanded the line in a big way. They're showing off two new models at the pre-CES Unveiled event: the smaller and impressively flexible AR.Drone Mini and the ground-only roller/jumper Sumo. To see what makes each version special, check out the promotional video below.
The Mini is indeed a smaller take on Parrot's popular AR - the housing itself fits in the palm of your hand.