It is pretty much accepted now that 2011 will be the year of tablets. Last year, after the iPad kick-started the revolution, we only saw a handful of devices that could challenge the giant. This year at CES, we saw over 100, most of them running - you guessed it - Android. The competition is on, and soon we'll see who makes it out a winner in the tablet war and who will head straight to the junk yard.
CES 2011 was an occasion for manufacturers to flood the market with a plethora of Android devices, and powering many of them was NVidia's Tegra 2 chip.
Released late last year, the Tegra 2 chip uses the "system-on-a-chip" design to integrate an ARM CPU (1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor) and a NVidia GPU into one package. This allows faster communication between the cores and the integrated memory controller. Most of the tablets and smartphones, and other unique hybrids, launching in 2011 will be using the Tegra 2 chips.
A couple of weeks ago at CES 2011, Sony Ericsson announced its latest Android handset - the sleek and sexy Gingerbread-running Xperia Arc. They've also invited the press, Android Police included, to attend a media breakfast where we ended up spending over an hour of quality time with the new device, documented in great detail here. If you have questions about the Arc, I highly recommend you dive into the above post, as it contains a plethora of useful bits and pieces, all wrapped in a convenient package.
During CES 2011 Sony Ericsson's newest smartphone, the Xperia arc, was sighted running Android version "2.4".
A few weeks ago there were rumours that Honeycomb, Google's next iteration of the Android platform, would actually be Android 2.4 and not Android 3.0. Although it was later confirmed that Honeycomb will indeed be Android 3.0, rumours suggested that an incremental update to Android was being readied. The About section of the Xperia arc, displayed below, appeared to confirm that there was indeed a version 2.4.
Are you concerned that not enough of your gadgets are running Android? Well then, we have some good news for you: Nox Audio has decided to show off their latest set of "revolutionary" headphones, the Admiral Touch. In addition to everything you would expect from a set of wireless headphones (including a retractable mic), they have one particularly interesting feature: they're running Android 2.1 on a 2.4" LCD screen attached to the right cup, powered by an ARM11 processor with 256 MB of RAM.
I've been roaming the booths of CES for 3 days now, and I think I've seen almost everything even remotely related to Android that was worth seeing. One company, Recon Instruments, has been on my mind since the beginning, however, and I'm really glad I finally made it to their booth today.
Their current product, called Transcend, is a full snow goggles solution incorporating a little color LCD screen in the bottom right corner.
It's officially the 3rd day of CES, and I finally made it over to the giant Sharp booth pavilion, where I was able to get a hands-on demo of the first and only 3D Android handset, which is currently only sold in Japan. Don't worry though - it's coming to the U.S. and possibly other locations this year. Perhaps you've heard of it - meet Sharp Galapagos 003SH, which is capable of not only showing 3D menus, pictures, and videos, but allows you to snap some as well.
While Toshiba's original attempts at an Android tablet running on the Tegra chip didn't exactly go down a storm, they seem keen to continue with Android devices, and brought a new tablet with them to CES. Artem got a video demo from one of their reps, and as you can see there are some attractive features to note.
Like the Motorola XOOM, the nameless Toshiba tablet (henceforth "Anon") has a 10.1" WXGA (1280x800) screen, which was unsurprisingly nice and crisp.
Opera Software's Jeremy Forrester spent some time showing off Opera's latest browser, which was designed specifically for tablets. The browser was shown running on Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
The browser is not completely finished, but you can get a good idea of how it performs in the video above. It works nicely with Adobe Flash and should provide a familiar experience to those who are have used Opera's previous mobile browsers. More info will be made available by Opera come MWC in February.