While Sony's initial Android Wear offering, the SmartWatch 3, is perfectly fine from a technical point of view, one of the words we heard from commenters over and over again was "ugly." Even Ryan Whitwam could only call it "acceptable" in his review. Sony's hoping to fix the lackluster looks of the SmartWatch 3 with a new version clad in a stainless steel body and watch strap. And boy, it's amazing what a little metal can do.
Look, we're not in the audiophile business. We don't cover music products that don't feature Android in some way, shape, or form. And running bleeding-edge software is not a prerequisite for quality sound. But seriously, Sony, if you're going to charge twelve hundred dollars for a device that runs Android, could you not load it with an OS build that's over two years old? Alas, such is the case with the Walkman NW-ZX2 announced at CES.
The Panasonic LUMIX CM1 is a strange beast: it's an Android phone with a huge focus on photography, a la the Galaxy S4 Zoom. But unlike that rather mid-range device (both in terms of Android hardware and photography prowess), the CM1 features a massive 1-inch, 20-megapixel camera sensor with a Leica 28mm F/2.8 lens and... dramatic pause... a manual focus ring. When it was announced at the Photokina trade show last year, Panasonic made it very clear that the LUMIX Smart Camera DSC-CM1 was only for the European market.
Lenovo might own Motorola now, but the company is still doing its own thing when it comes to mobile devices. There are a pair of new Android phones today, as well as a wearable and a completely self-indulgent accessory—a selfie flash. Your life is complete now, right?
Good news, owners of the AT&T variants of the Galaxy Mega 2 and Galaxy Tab S 8.4: your Samsung gadgets are getting a software update! Bad news, same people: you're probably not going to notice or care about the things contained within. The Galaxy Mega 2 gets "user interface enhancements" and the addition of the AT&T Messages Backup Service, and the Tab S only gets "revised link management handling in Calendar." Try to contain your enthusiasm.
Android device makers have experimented with all manner of camera gimmicks over the years, all the while ignoring some very basic features that regular cameras have always had. Case in point, optical zoom. The newly announced Asus ZenFone stands out with a rear-facing 13MP camera and 3x optical zoom.
Despite some impressive tablet, laptop, and combination devices, ASUS has left its smartphones mostly in the budget and mid-range end of the pool. That changes with the Zenfone 2 announcement at CES: while the new device probably won't set the world on fire, it's a definite competitor to offerings from the likes of HTC, Samsung, and LG at an amazing price. The ZenFone 2 is the first phone anywhere to be equipped with 4GB of dual-channel RAM (on the high-end model), and the rest of the specs are no slouch either.
Samsung's experiment made consumer product, the Galaxy Note Edge, is already available in international unlocked versions and through AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. The next American carrier to bite on the device with the curved screen is US Cellular, which will start selling the Note Edge on Wednesday. A standard two-year contract will get you the phone for a hefty $399 (which is actually in line with AT&T and Sprint's contract pricing), or you can split the payments up into undisclosed bits with no money down.
Update: U.S. Cellular will carry the LG G Flex 2 too this spring. No more details at this time.
Hot on the heels of its official announcement at CES, US carriers have started unveiling their plans to offer the LG G Flex 2 on their networks.
The phone, which features Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor, a 13MP camera with OIS and laser autofocus, in a 5.5" bendable body with a self-healing back, will be available sometime in Q1 2015 on Sprint.