10 Tasty New Android Devices Spied At CES 20113:33 PM EST Thu. Jan. 06, 2011
The growth of Google Android was one of the biggest stories of 2010, and according to Gartner, Android by the third quarter of the year commanded a 25.5 percent share of the smartphone OS market, up from a 3.5 percent share only a year earlier. Smartphone and mobile device contenders like Motorola, Samsung and HTC have hitched their wagons to Android's star. Indeed, it was those three vendors that boasted some of the Coolest Android Devices of 2010, from smartphones to tablets.
If CES 2011 has been any indication, Android's momentum will only continue, and Motorola, Samsung and HTC -- as well as several other vendors and service providers -- were out in force at CES with their latest and greatest Android devices.
Here's a look at 10 that caught our eye.
Motorola and AT&T aren't mincing words; they tout the 11-mm-thick Atrix 4G, unveiled at CES, as "the world's most powerful smartphone." The Atrix offers a HD display with 24-bit color, includes version 2.2 of Android and sports a 1-Ghz dual-core processor, 4G-level network speeds, 48 GB of storage (16 on board and 32 via microSD) and a multitude of accessories that includes a laptop dock and an HD media dock that includes three USB ports and uses Atrix's HDMI video output capabilities.
Launch is slated for the first quarter of 2011 on AT&T; no pricing is available yet.
Motorola found success with its original Cliq, and at CES debuted the Cliq 2, a 3.7-inch touchscreen phone available through T-Mobile in the U.S. As in the Cliq, the key attraction with Cliq 2 is Motorola's Motoblur interface, though it also features a 1-Ghz processor, 3G and Wi-Fi, version 2.2 of Android with full Adobe Flash support. Pricing details aren't yet available, but the phone will be available through T-Mobile and select dealers, as well as online, starting Jan. 19.
First Droid, then Droid X, then Droid 2 and Droid Pro, and now Droid Bionic, the latest Motorola Droid phone available through Verizon. Bionic offers a dual-core 1-Ghz processor, 512 MB of RAM, full support for Adobe Flash and HTML 5, a 4.3-inch qHD screen, HDMI connectivity, and a mirror mode function that allows users to stream video to TV and on the device itself, as well as a number of other bells and whistles. It'll leverage Verizon's 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network, which launched in December. Verizon and Motorola did not confirm pricing, availability, or the version of Android seen on Bionic.
Is Motorola Xoom the Android-based tablet that's going to give Apple's iPad a real fight? Motorola and Verizon certainly hope so, and at CES, they unveiled Xoom as the first device to run Google's Android 3.0, aka Honeycomb, which according to Google is specially optimized for tablet use. The Xoom has a 1Ghz, dual-core processor, a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display and is 4G LTE upgradeable on Verizon's 4G LTE network. Additional features include a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chatting over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G networks, a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD, a 1280x800 display, built-in gyroscope, barometer, accelerometer, adaptive lighting and Google Maps 5.0 with 3D interaction. According to Motorola, the Xoom will launch as a 3G/Wi-Fi enabled device this quarter and a 4G version will follow in Q2. No pricing information is yet available.
Samsung captured some good buzz with its Galaxy Tab, an Android-based tablet launched late in 2010 that emerged as one of the first true Android competitors to Apple's mighty iPad, and according to Samsung has sold about 1.5 million units to date. At CES, Samsung showed off a new, Wi-Fi only version of the Galaxy Tab it says will be available in the first quarter of 2011. The Wi-Fi only Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2, features a 7-inch TFT display with 1024 x 600 WSVGA resolution, weighs 13 ounces and measures 12 mm thick. It has 16 GB of internal storage with microSD expansion for up to 32 additional GB, supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1, and includes a rear-facing 3-megapixel camera and front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera and camcorder. Samsung has not yet disclosed pricing for the Wi-Fi only model.
Another addition to Samsung's expanding fleet of Galaxy-branded mobile devices, the Player appears to be a challenger device to Apple's iPod and other media player rivals. Samsung, which at CES described it as the "first Google-certified Android-based smart player," has a 4-inch LCD screen, runs Android 2.2 and be able to access some 120,000 apps for Android. It was first introduced in Korea and will be available worldwide later this year. Late last year, streaming video specialist Qik also announced that its Qik service would come pre-loaded on the Galaxy Player when it ships.
The Infuse 4G is another of the showpiece devices in AT&T's forthcoming Android lineup. AT&T is touting the phone as the "thinnest Android device featuring the largest screen." The Infuse 4G is 9-mm-thick and has a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED screen, runs Android 2.2 and sports a single-core Hummingbird processor at 1.2 Ghz. It launches in the second quarter of 2011 on AT&T, and exact availability and pricing aren't yet confirmed.
HTC has been one of the most active vendors releasing phones for Android, and its Inspire 4G -- a U.S. version of the HTC Desire HD that was released in Europe last year -- was confirmed this week as part of AT&T's new Android lineup. It offers a 1-Ghz procesor, 8-megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording, 4.3-inch 800 x 480 S-LCD touchscreen, Android 2.2, support for the updated version of HTC Sense, HDMI out, and support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and HTML5. According to AT&T, it'll launch in the first quarter. No pricing or exact availability just yet.
Not wanting to be left out of the Android party, Sony Ericsson, too, had a new Android smartphone to show off in time for CES -- the first of several Xperia smartphones that Sony Ericsson has promised for 2011. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc runs version 2.3 of Android, includes a 4.2-inch multitouch screen and is 8.7 mm at its thinnest end. Among its highlights are the Mobile Bravia Engine for its 854x480 FWVGA display, Sony's Exmor R technology for mobile video and photo capture, an 8.1-megapixel camera and full access to the Android market. It'll be available globally this quarter.
Cisco first introduced Cius, its Android-based tablet, at Cisco Live in June 2010, but details on the device have been slow to trickle out. At CES, however, Cisco confirmed that Verizon will be the first service provider to support Cius and deliver a 4G wireless version of the device. Pricing and exact availability weren't confirmed, but the device would be available in the spring, which is in line with the March date Cisco mentioned in its last major Cius update. Cisco and Verizon also announced a 4G wireless WAN interface on Cisco's ISR G2 integrated services router, and Verizon said it would add the Dynamic Mobile Networking Routing capability, supported in Cisco iOS, to its 4G LTE offerings.
LG's getting on the Android tablet bandwagon, too, and at CES unveiled G-Slate, a 4G-enabled tablet that will be available through T-Mobile. Many details are still forthcoming, including pricing and availability, but according to LG, the G-Slate will use Android 3.0, aka Honeycomb, the tablet-optimized version of Android, and also include the usual Android tricks and treats, including Google Maps 5.0.