We just got back from a meeting at ASUS's CES suite, and we had a chance to go hands-on with the full portfolio of the company's new Android products (apart from Padfone X, which sadly sat walled off in a glass case). Of great interest to some of you, no doubt, are the company's new ZenFone handsets. Johnny Shih, ASUS's enthusiastic chairman, announced the ZenFone 4, 5, and 6, would be priced at $99, $149, and $199, respectively.
Sony has two new phones to announce here at CES in Las Vegas: one specifically for the purple people over at T-Mobile, and one meant to appease users who want a premium phone without the bulk. The Xperia Z1s is T-Mobile's branded variant of the slightly older Xperia Z1. Aside from the extra letter and doubled storage, it's identical to Sony's international flagship. The Xperia Z1 Compact is a smaller 4.3" phone that keeps most of the premium features.
ASUS is breaking out its phone lineup at CES in a big way. The new "ZenFone" series is coming in 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch versions to suit just about anybody, and each one of these new devices will be sold in a variety of metallic colors. Features and specs vary a bit between models, but the basic gist is that you pick your screen size and work up from there. All of them are on the low end and aimed at price-conscious buyers.
Huawei has been trying to break into the US market for years, but the current trend towards inexpensive, off-contract smartphones may be in their favor. That would explain why the company stated that it plans to bring the Ascend Mate II to American shores in its CES press conference. This big-screen, mid-range phone has a trick up its sleeve thanks to an oversized battery.
Smartwatch fans now have a new Pebble to drool over: the Pebble Steel. This is functionally identical to the original pebble, but it's smaller, thinner, and of course comes in a steel wrapper. This new model of the Pebble comes in black or silver colors and demands a $100 premium over the standard plastic model, retailing for an impressive $249.
Pebble Steel comes with a matching metal band and a bonus leather band, custom made for the unique head (which may not work with interchangeable watch bands).
At the LG CES press conference the company let loose some welcome news for the American market: their unique G Flex smartphone will be coming to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint carriers at some point this year. (Sorry, Verizon customers, looks like you're last one out again.) If you'll recall, the G Flex is LG's high-end flexible, curved-display phone announced late last year. T-Mobile has confirmed that they will carry the G Flex in a separate press release.
Here's a fun way to pass the time while you're catching up on CES news at home: take a drink of your favorite spirit every time you see the word "wearable." Now say goodbye to your liver. Korean manufacturer LG has decided to enter both the smartwatch and fitness tracker markets at once with the Lifeband Touch, a watch-style Bluetooth device with an OLED screen.
Both fitness tracking and remote notification bases are covered here.
Cramming mobile technology and other goodies into automobiles is a recurring theme at CES 2014, and even Google is getting in on the action. The web giant is normally pretty quiet at the industry's biggest hardware trade show, but today it officially launches the Open Automotive Alliance, a collaborative association aimed at bringing Android to your car. Google and NVIDIA have already partnered with some of the biggest car companies in the world, encompassing the American, European, and Asian markets: General Motors, Honda, Audi, and Hyundai.
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.
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.