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.
Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, and select others may attract most of the attention when it comes to Android devices, but they're far from the only choices. There is a wide range of handsets available from brands you may have forgotten about, but not because they aren't any good. BLU Products has been upping its game as of late, pushing out products with competent specs and great prices. Now the company is introducing several new models in its "Life" series of devices.
Google-owned Motorola has sent out press invites in Europe to an event in London happening January 14th. The company says it is announcing an "addition to the European Motorola family of products." Specifics are hard to come by, but we have plenty of rampant speculation.
Verizon has shared details for an upcoming Galaxy Note 10.1 software update that will bring Samsung's WatchON app to the device. The service, which comes pre-installed on many Samsung devices, turns your phone or tablet into an interactive TV guide. It comes with a universal remote for channel surfing, simplifies searching for shows, and enables you to watch some content across multiple devices. This functionality comes bundled as a part of software version JZ054K.I925VRAMK1.
Any HTC One owners who spend the day anxiously biting their nails in anticipation of the newest CyanogenMod nightly will be in for a surprise today. The popular ROM has unified several versions of the device under one heading. The AT&T, T-Mobile, and unlocked versions of the One are now on a single m7 ROM.
HTC One GSM (m7) unified builds - m7ul, m7att, m7tmo are all just 'm7' starting tonight.
While mobile announcements aren't generally a major thing we expect to see at CES, Samsung decided it would be generous and throw out a handful of new tablets in between its 4K TVs and new smart appliances. I'm talking of course about the new Tab Pro and Note Pro series – a premium lineup of new Samsung kit in a variety of sizes with a fresh new UI.
This quartet of tablets should look pretty familiar for anyone who's seen Samsung's 2014 Note 10.1 or Note 3 – they're stylistically identical, including the faux leather backing, stitching, and aluminum banding.
After yesterday's Huawei press event, I had an opportunity to briefly go hands-on with the company's newest super-sized phone, the Ascend Mate 2 4G. The original Ascend Mate also made its debut at CES, and this newest iteration really doesn't break the mold its predecessor set.
The new Mate 2 does boast a smaller size overall than last year's model, giving it a screen to bezel ratio that Huawei claims is the industry's best among large phones.
Samsung devices are selling like gangbusters, and while this could be taken as a sign that many people are fine with TouchWiz as it is, that hasn't stopped a flood of critics (including us, on occasion) from lambasting the company's sense of design. Either the icons are too childish, the interface is overly cluttered, or it just feels bloated. The interface hasn't had a makeover in quite some time, but the latest image shared by @evleaks suggests that things may be about to change.
Amid all the gadgets and gizmos at CES, Sony has quietly announced a new in-car entertainment system, the XSP-N1BT. It was announced so quietly, in fact, that everyone seemed to miss it until @evleaks pointed it out. It seems like Sony should have made a bigger deal, because it looks neat.