Six months and nineteen days. It's been exactly that long since Hugo Barra announced the new Nexus 7 in a press conference, including an unlocked LTE model that works with Verizon 4G bands. It's been almost five months since that particular model went on sale, and about as long since eager users found out that they couldn't activate a new Verizon Wireless account with the tablet, which wasn't included in Verizon's device database.
After such a long wait, the Nexus 7 is finally ready to make its Verizon Wireless debut. For the better part of a year now, Google has offered an affordable tablet with cellular radios tucked away inside that the US's largest carrier refused to activate (granted, there were ways to get around this). But now, the Big Red and the Nexus 7 are cuddling up just in time for Valentine's Day.
Nexus devices might be a great deal compared to other devices in the market, but you pay the price when it comes to accessories. They're either horrendously expensive or take so long to go on sale it's almost time for a new version of the device. We might be lining up for the second one here, as Asus has just now posted English listings for the wired and wireless charging docks for the 2013 Nexus 7.
There are undoubtedly many people out there who received a new Nexus 7 for Christmas last month, and now they need a means of keeping it safe. There have already been three sleeves to choose from on the Play Store, but today that option jumps to four. Now owners can get the sleeve in bright "Ketchup" red. This unofficial name nicely complements the equally unofficially named Mustard Yellow, Pepper Black, and Salt Gray pre-existing options.
We've already discussed ASUS' fun-loving ZenFone and PadFone Mini, but for those who want a little more out of their gadgets-that-do-more-than-just-one-thing, the Transformer Book Duet should be worth a look. ASUS calls its "four devices in one" since it's an Android tablet, Android laptop, Windows tablet, and Windows laptop, but you can take that for what it's worth – I think it's kind of pushing it. It's just a tablet and a laptop, silly marketing people.
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.
If you know anything about ASUS, it's probably that they love to put things in other things. I'm pretty sure they pioneered putting phones inside of tablets, turning tablets into laptops, and other forms of turducken technology. In true ASUS form, the company announced not one, not two, but three new turduckentech devices yesterday: the PadFone Mini, PadFone X, and Transformer Book Duet.
As the smallest, most agile, and most affordable of the three, the PadFone Mini is ASUS' entry-level PadFone device.
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.
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.
Asus has been making new versions of the Padfone every few months, but none of them have ever officially come to American shores. Well, that changes with the new Padfone X. This device will be available on AT&T in the not too distant future.
The Padfone X will have a 5-inch 1080p screen when in phone mode, but like past devices in its lineage, can be docked into a larger tablet shell.