It's that time of year yet again: CES. Android Police has covered the Consumer Electronics Show for the last six years, of which I've attended five. This year, I'm back in Vegas again, this time with our teardown master Cody Toombs. We've watched CES go from a formidable proving ground for dozens of Android devices built by manufacturers both big and small to a show with a dwindling mobile presence, far more focused on connected technology, vehicles, and CES's more traditional niches (appliances, TVs, gadgets).
As such, what you can expect from CES 2016 is a lot like what you got in 2015: a few phones and tablets - not many - and a lot of gadgets that work over Bluetooth or IoT technologies to interface with your smartphone or tablet.
Samsung's Creative Lab, an outlet for their talent to work on external projects, is starting to bear fruit. Three of those projects will be shown off at CES 2016 next week and they are interesting to say the least. Samsung is treating these as startup projects, with one being manufactured by a new and technically separate company, and the units at CES will not be production quality but rather are being used to assess their market potential.
WELT is what the smart belt is being called. It will be geared towards the health and fitness crowd, tracking activities and daily habits with instant and continuous feedback on waist size.
When Fuhu announced the 20- and 24-inch Big Tabs, we all kind of chuckled and gave them a pass. Surely kids would like huge tablets, right? I think so. But now things are just getting out of hand - the company just announced 32, 43, 55, and 65-inch Big Tabs. Tablets the size of TVs. It's insanity, I say.
All of the Big Tab XL models are capable of doubling as TVs (thankfully), which makes them a little more justifiable. Unfortunately there isn't any info on pricing at the moment, but Fuhu expects them to be priced a bit higher than comparable HDTVs.
Beats Pill and Beats Pill XL. Ultimate Ears BOOM and Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM. Motorola Moto X and Nexus 6. People apparently like small things that are later made into bigger things. Fugoo realizes this, so it recently announced the Fugoo XL, a massive new speaker in the Fugoo line.
Now, you may or may not remember the Fugoo speaker from when I reviewed (and loved) it back in May of 2014. If not, you can go back and read that review now. Done? OK, great. Let's move on.
The Fugoo XL is four times the size of the original Fugoo, making it pretty dang big.
It's not hard to find an Android tablet for less than a hundred bucks - head down to your nearest drugstore and there's a decent chance you'll see one. The trick is finding one that's worth using at that price. While most of these ultra-cheap tablets are no-name Chinese models, Lenovo just announced a pair of new 7-inchers in the A Series starting at only a single Benjamin. I guess that would make them name brand Chinese tablets, but hey, Lenovo beats whatever company is using the Polaroid license this year.
Both the TAB 2A7-10 and the A7-30 are essentially identical, but the latter and more expensive one features a 3G radio and calling support, essentially making it a giant phone.
Dedicated technology newshounds have already heard that all of Sony's upcoming BRAVIA televisions will feature Android TV powering their integrated electronics. At CES, the biggest show around in terms of home theater (among other things), they've made good on that promise. Don't believe me? Watch these attractive people over-emote and demonstrate a BRAVIA television's Google Cast feature and ability to play games from the Play Store.
Android TV runs these TVs, including the various inputs and live television, in a manner similar to some Roku-branded HDTVs already on the market. They have a few Sony enhancements, of course. They include built-in apps for convergent activities like photo sharing.
Quick, imagine the typical Under Armour customer. Go ahead, I'll wait. Now imagine which phone he or she brings with them to the gym. Are you imagining an HTC One M8? No? Well both companies would probably like you to, at least after their joint announcement at CES. HTC has joined up with the well-known clothing brand for a cross-promotional program centered on Under Armour Connected Fitness, a health tracking service that's comparable to Nike Plus and other competitors.
The first step is Under Armour Recourd Record, an iOS app that's been ported over to Android and is now available on the Google Play Store.
Hey, look at this Mad Catz Android Bluetooth controller. It looks really compact, if a little odd. But then that's Mad Catz for you.
I wonder what happens if I pull this thing and - oh, a full-sized console controller. That's kinda neat, even if the extended handles do look a little too much like scissor blades. What happens if I put this little plastic bracket on...
Altec Lansing has announced a meaningful update to last year's Life Jacket speaker, which was pretty cool in its own right. This year's version is called the BoomJacket, which boasts double the battery life of its predecessor along with increased connectivity range. It can also be used as a portable charger for your other devices, though we don't have any specs on that just yet.
Take a look at some of the stuff Altec Lansing did to the Life Jacket, which is now the older model. Explosives, trucks, water, sand, dirt, etc. are no match for it.
The BoomJacket, which is 7.5" x 3.125" x 2.825" in size, has two 2" neodymium drivers and passive radiators (downsized from the Life Jacket's 2.5" drivers) while supporting aptX audio output.
Blu isn't a company that's typically known for pushing out the highest-end flagship devices, but rather a solid company offering unlocked budget handsets. It's always releasing new handsets, giving potential customers a lot to choose from. At CES this year, the company took wraps off of seven new handsets (to be fair, a couple of those are from the same line), none of which cost more than $199 off-contract. Powerhouses? Probably not. Good return for the money? I'd almost guarantee it. Let's take a quick look at each one.
The Vivo Air is basically the successor to last year's slim and sleek Vivo IV.