The Droid Bionic from Motorola is one helluva smartphone. It’s super fast, both in processing and network speeds. It’s one of the first mobile phones to pack a dual-core processor, with each core running at 1GHz, delivering up to 2GHz of processing power, and it’s Moto’s very first 4G LTE enabled phone. More specs: 4.3-inch qHD display, 512 MB of RAM, rear-facing 8-megapixel camera, front-facing VGA camera, HDMI out. It will ship with Android 2.2 (Froyo) on board. Moto’s also pushing Mirror Mode, a function that enables simultaneous streaming of video to the TV and on the device. All in all, this is a pretty solid device. 2011 is going to see a big push towards faster phones with larger, higher quality displays and right now the Bionic is the clear leader of the pack. Precise price point and release date have not been specified yet, but you can expect it the Bionic to land on Verizon Wireless in Q2 2011.
At CES 2011 Verizon kept reiterating the blazing speeds of 4G LTE. They claim the next-gen cell service is up to 10 times faster than current 3G speeds and they used a fun example on stage at their press event to show how these incredible speeds can be utilized. They invited Electronic Arts to show off Rock Band Mobile‘s multiplayer capabilities. Owners of select 4G LTE devices will be able to “jam together” with up to four friends over the network. Verizon is hopeful Android apps will take advantage of 4G LTE’s fast speeds with wireless connectivity functionality as featured in the upcoming Rock Band game. Look after the break for the PR which lists the 20 songs in the game; there you’ll also find a video demonstration. If you didn’t know, Verizon plans to expand its 4G network to blanket its entire 3G coverage area within the next three years.
Motorola and T-Mobile were downright giddy to announce their upcoming tablet devices at CES 2011. That’s because they are excited to bring Honeycomb, Google’s latest iteration of Android built entirely for tablets, to salivating consumers. Since I already detailed Honeycomb, I think it’d be best to simply jump into specs talk. Let’s start with the Motorola Xoom since there’s far more information about this product out there. The Xoom features a 10.1 inch (1280×800) screen and packs NVIDIA’s latest Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of DDR2 RAM. There’s a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with dual LED flash and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera; support for 720p video recording and 1080p video playback; 32GB of onboard storage that’s expandable with SD card support; 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth; and ports include HDMI out, micro USB 2.0, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s also a built-in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, accelerometer and adaptive lighting. It will ship with 3G support and eventually gain 4G LTE support on Verizon’s network. As far as battery life is concerned, Moto’s only saying that it supports up to 10 hours of video playback. Note that the Xoom does not pack physical buttons. With Honeycomb, Google no longer requires hardware manufacturers to include buttons along the rim of their devices. What used to be buttons are now illuminated icons that can be made visible on the device in landscape or portrait modes. Motorola says they’ll ship the sexy Xoom tablet as a 3G/Wi-Fi-enabled device in Q1 2011 (we’re in that quarter now, so soon!) and they promise these devices will be upgradeable 4G LTE in Q2. Also in Q2 Moto will introduce an all-out 4G LTE/Wi-Fi- enabled Xoom. According to recent reports, a strictly WiFi-enabled version will also debut in the Spring. The Xoom looks like it’s going to be a hot item when it ships; a speedy Tegra 2 processor and the tablet-optimized Honeycomb OS marriage will surely make for an enjoyable mobile experience.
An honorable mention goes to the T-Mobile G-Slate because it is just one of the few tablets announced at CES 2011 that promises to run Honeycomb when it releases. T-Mobile has partnered with LG to make the hardware. Aside for it being the “first 4G Android 3.0 powered tablet” from T-Mobile, we know nothing else about it really. At the press event T-Mobile and LG execs held up the mystery tablet, and it look like standard fare–a black slate. We’ll have to wait for a more detailed announcement in the coming weeks.
Look in the gallery below for close-ups of the Motorola Xoom, and hop after the break to read some PR and watch a couple introductory product videos.
CES 2011 was host to a myriad of upcoming tablets running Android, Windows 7, custom skins, you name it. Samsung’s Sliding PC 7 Series is certainly one of the most innovative and is a stand-out winner in my humble opinion. At first you might look at the slate and think it’s just a thicker iPad. But that thickness is apparent for a reason; hiding underneath the tablet is a slide-out chiclet keyboard with a trackpad. This hybrid machine doubles as a 10.1 inch tablet and a small notebook PC. I’m really impressed with the design factor here, but specs are important too: 1366×768 multitouch display, Intel’s 1.66GHz (Oak Trail) processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, 4-in-1 memory card reader, webcam, 802.11n WiFi, 3G/WiMax & DLNA support, built-in accelerometer, USB, HDMI out, will last up to nine hours on a single charge. Samsung’s Fast Start feature will boot up the machine in as little as 15 seconds, or restore it from Hibernate and Sleep modes in 3 seconds. The hybrid will ship with Windows 7 Home Premium and Samsung’s custom skin called Touch Launch that “comes with preloaded applications that are optimized for the touch screen display.” To launch Sammy’s skin you simply and elegantly swipe a blue strip located on the screen bezel. The Sliding PC 7 Series will drop in March at $699.
I’m really digging the choice hardware manufacturers are giving consumers when it comes to tablet design. Companies like Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung are creating such inventive, sleek hardware designs that give users the option to use a simplified OS in a tablet form factor and a more robust Windows experience with a touchpad/keyboard present. I like the idea of having a tablet that can easily be converted into a more full-fledged computing device when a full-sized keyboard is needed. At just 2.2 pounds, Samsung’s slider isn’t that hefty and I think I can sacrifice a couple pounds in weight and some inches in thickness to know that a reliable physical keyboard is just a hand gesture away from accessibility.
Jump after the break to see the notebook do its transformation thing. Official PR’s there too.
I’m sure you’ve heard of (and maybe even interacted with) Microsoft’s Surface. It’s a multitouch table that can be found in banks, hotels, and AT&T stores. An example of its function: at an AT&T store you can place down two smartphones and the table will recognize their presence and provide with specifications and features to help you make a purchasing decision. Surface is known for its multitouch and object recognition capabilities. This week at CES 2011 Microsoft detailed the next generation Surface dubbed “Surface 2.0 Experience.” Building on top of the original Surface functionality, the new experience features PixelSense technology, “which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras.” Microsoft explains, “PixelSense gives an LCD display the power to recognize fingers, hands and objects placed on the screen, including more than 50 simultaneous touch points. With PixelSense, pixels in the display see what’s touching the screen and that information is immediately processed and interpreted.” For instance, in addition to recognizing touch inputs like your fingers, Surface can now “see” things that touch the screen. For example, if you placed a piece of paper with the words “Hello, world” printed on it on top of the Surface display, the software will recognize and interpret the letters instantly. In a word, Surface has become smarter.
Microsoft has collaborated with Samsung to create the next physical Surface table called “SUR40.” Table specs: 40-inch 1920×1080 HD multitouch display, 2.9GHz AMD Athlon II X2 dual core processor with AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series GPU. And now that the table comes in a thinner form factor (it’s four inches thin) customers can mount the table onto a wall if the space calls for it. Otherwise, standard or custom table legs can be designed and requested.
At $7,600 the Surface is still geared toward business customers and not the general consuming public. Companies like Dassault Aviation, Fujifilm Corp., Red Bull GmbH, Royal Bank of Canada, and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts have expressed their interest in developing custom software for the Surface and deploying it at their respective locations. SUR40 will be available “later in 2011” in 23 countries around the world. Look after the break for official PR and a video demonstration of the new Surface experience in action.
If you didn’t know, Lady Gaga was appointed the Creative Director of Polaroid. You know, the company famous for inventing the chunky camera that almost instantly spits out pictures onto film sheets. In 2008 Polaroid announced the discontinuation of its self-developing film, but now they’re back and with the help of Gaga they hope to reinvigorate the nostalgia of the aged Polaroid camera and their overall brand with three new products. The “Polaroid Grey Label” includes the GL30 Instant Digital Camera, GL10 Instant Mobile Printer, and the GL20 Camera Glasses. The GL30 is reminiscent of Polaroid cameras of the past and uses ZINK Zero Ink Technology for instant printing. Users can select from a number of filters and borders before the image pops out of the portable, sleek digital camera. The GL10 is a portable printer that also uses the ZINK technology and images are instantly printed on smudge-proof, water-resistant film that resembles white photo paper. The GL20 glasses has to be the coolest product of the bunch, and they’re something only Lady Gaga could think of to invent. The fashionably loud and futuristic glasses double as a digital camera. You can instantly capture or upload pictures with it and then display the images on the glasses’ LCD screens for others to see. Sounds strange at first but the idea is quite novel. It’s just another way to express yourself.
All three products were shown off in purely conceptual form at CES 2011, but Polaroid is confident they will ship the printer in May 2011 for $149.99 and the camera and glasses “later this year” at undisclosed prices. Look at the pics below and PR is after the break.
This is one slick concept machine. Razer, the maker of high-end precision gaming products, revealed a concept mobile PC designed for gamers on the go. The Razer Switchblade is based on the Intel Atom processor and packs an ultra-sensitive, 7-inch capacitive multitouch touchscreen (1024 x 600) and a dynamic tactile keyboard. The keyboard is the most intriguing part of the design; key layout and configuration can be changed on-the-fly based on game content and user requirements. For example, it can serve as a standard QWERTY keyboard as you’re browsing a website inside a browser and the next minute it can morph into a keyboard made specifically to play a game like World of Warcraft where the keys become quick access points for magical potions and spells. So how does it all work? Easy; just like the top half of the device, the keyboard is actually a large LCD screen in disguise with physical keys layered on top of it. Inside the custom Razer OS skin the user can tweak the keyboard to make the keys function however they want. Customization is left up to the user’s imagination. Sure, you can make the keys display video playback controls such as play, pause, fast-forward, etc.; but Razer is a gaming company at heart and they are hoping that gamers will find the customization options to be helpful in optimizing the way they play games on the go when a full keyboard and mouse combo are not present.
As awesome as that keyboard hopes to be, keep in mind that the Switchblade is still a portable notebook. Razer’s custom skin can be hidden to reveal a standard copy of Windows 7. There are also USB ports (so a mouse can theoretically be connected), a mini HDMI port, and a webcam. Bluetooth and WiFi are also inside. The company is still determining whether or not to pack 3G capability with it. That’s right–this concept notebook unveiled at CES 2011 is actually coming to market in the near future. Razer is mum on exact release date and price, but you can expect to see this portable gaming machine attempt its transformation of the mouse/keyboard paradigm sometime within the next year or so. Full PR after the break.