Mobility Revolution: 10 New Mobile Devices That Push The Envelope4:00 PM EST Thu. Aug. 29, 2013
In the mobile device world, touch has become standard, fast chips are expected, and high-resolution displays are a must. It is becoming more and more difficult for manufacturers to think out of the box and produce something truly brand-new. Here are 10 devices that have stood out, or are soon to stand out, and offer users something different.
The Pebble smartwatch syncs with Android or iOS smartphones to bring up-to-date information from the phone's apps to an e-paper display wristwatch. Without having a smartphone on hand, the Pebble user receives updated text and email alerts as well as incoming call information. The device allows easy control over music and works well with apps, tracking speed and distance for those running or riding a bicycle. With a Pebblewatch, walking away from a smartphone does not mean missing an important text or email; the information follows wherever the wrist goes.
List Price: $150
As mobile hardware companies race to pin down flexible device technologies, LG has told the Korean Times it is set to release the first flexible smartphone display to major partners in the fourth quarter of this year. The OLED flexible display will be "bendable and unbreakable" and is intended to meet a whole new set of enterprise needs. Samsung gave a sneak peek into its flexible smartphone prototype at CES this year, but it has yet to announce when the technology will hit the market.
A smartphone, camera mashup, Nokia's Lumia 1020 pushes the creative envelope. With its 41-megapixel camera sensor and PureView technology, users can get exponentially closer to portions of photographs after a picture is taken. The Lumia's camera software allows easy cropping and rotating of a photo, but can also change the angle perspective from where the photo was originally taken. Zoom ability does not go away in video mode, where videos can be magnified four times closer than the original shot. The July release of this Windows 8 phone introduced camera-rich features not found yet in any other smartphone.
Price: $299 with plan
The Chromebook Pixel's 12.85-inch display packs 4.3 million pixels, giving the device the highest pixel density of a laptop, according to Google. Touch-enabled glass with 178-degree viewing angles, plus a backlit keyboard, brings its users laptop productivity without losing the benefits of touch. Only weighing 3.35 pounds and measuring 16.2 mm thick, the Chromebook Pixel comes loaded with Google's best apps and a terabyte of free Google Cloud Storage for three years.
List Price: $1,299.00
Still in the exploration stage, the highly anticipated Google Glass is wearable technology that allows users to snap pictures, record video, stream live, access Google search, gather realtime information about the user's environment and much more. The eyeglass model allows users to access all of the features with voice recognition and provides a hands-free experience. The device is built to be durable, flexible and light, and will come in five different colors when the technology officially hits the market.
Samsung pushed the envelope by offering its Tab 3 in three different sizes, catering to an assortment of end users and verticals. Where a 10.1-inch tablet may be ideal for a classroom, a 7- or 8-inch tablet is more likely to do the trick in a retail or health-care vertical. The 7-inch Tab 3 runs Android 4.1 and has a 1.2-GHz dual-core processor while the 8-inch version runs Android 4.2 and has a 1.5-GHz dual-core processor. The 10.1-inch version sports an Intel processor and operates on Android 4.2. 8 GB of onboard storage is available on the 7-inch Tab, but up to 32 GB of onboard storage can be found on the 8- and 10.1-inch versions. All three tablets come with the option to expand storage via a microSD card slot.
List Prices: $199.99, $299.99 and $379.99
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga was built to act as a convertible with the full functionality of a laptop. This device can be contorted into four different modes: tablet, tent, stand and laptop. When the user changes the mode of the device, its features and functions change automatically in order to cater to the current form factor. The IdeaPad Yoga is a Windows 8 device, equipped with Lenovo motion control and Lenovo cloud storage. Lenovo claims the device lasts for up to 8 hours without a battery recharge.
Price: Starting at $849.00
Though the new Google Android phone does little to push the envelope from an outer-shell perspective, its rich, new features make it fit for this list. The always-on microphone listening for the command, "OK, Google Now" has been met with some skepticism. How trusted can a device be if it is always listening in on its user's conversations? The feature is able to make phone calls, send text messages, get directions, answer questions, set alarms and launch apps all through voice command. Amped-up security features prevent other voices from being able to activate the device. The "assist" feature reads text messages out loud when the device's accelerometer detects the user is driving. Most reviews say the ideas for "OK, Google Now" and the "assist feature" are different, but don't always respond fluidly.
Price: $200 with plan
One of the first devices to sport the new Android Jelly Bean 4.3, Google's Nexus 7, made by Asus, is lighter and has a higher-quality display than its predecessor. With 323 ppi on its 7-inch screen, the 7 is loaded with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. Users can enjoy the built-in wireless charging feature and up to 9 hours of HD video play time. The device comes with voice control along with accelerometer, gyroscope and compass sensors.
Price: From $229
Sony's VAIO Pro 13 is a super-thin, super-lightweight Windows 8 ultrabook. It's 13.3-inch display is touch-enabled while its keyboard is backlit. The entire device weighs in at 2.34 pounds and has a design that tapers toward the front. A HD Triluminos display brings the ultrabook sharp colors for Full HD video and image viewing. In addition, the VAIO Pro is equipped with a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 512-GB PCIe SSD available.
List Price: $1,249.99