What’s New in the World of Smartphones and Tablets for 2013?
Each year the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada draws hundreds of thousands of visitors eager to get the first glimpse of the newest technological gadgets developed by major corporations and small businesses alike. The 2013 edition featured some 3,000 different companies vying for attention for their new devices.
While new and cutting-edge devices get the early buzz, such as the fork that tracks eating habits and new Ultra-Definition televisions, CES will always be a launching pad for the latest and greatest smartphones and tablets. CES 2013 has been no different as some of the giants of the tech industry brought their A-game. The question is which devices deserve the buzz as the most exciting debutants at CES 2013?
New Player in the Android Market
Sony has been a big name in electronics for decades. Despite a large, albeit failing, footprint in the television industry, Sony has been rather quiet in the smartphone market. The new Xperia Z might be the device that launches Sony into the race in the Android market with Samsung, HTC, and others.
The new Xperia Z has a brilliant, minimalist design and is incredibly sleek. It features a 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, expandable storage, and a 13 megapixel camera. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Z is the waterproof design. That’s right, the Xperia Z is waterproof in up to three feet of water for as long as 30 minutes. Sony has yet to release pricing or carrier information, but the device is expected sometime late in Q1 of 2013.
Move over Samsung Note
There is a new challenger in the phablet (smartphone-tablet) market and the competition is based in China. Tech manufacturer Huawei has brought a number of smartphones to CES this year, but none matches the specs of the Ascend Mate. The Mate features the largest available smartphone screen with a 6.1-inch, 1080p screen.
The device may be large, but it features a sleek design, powerful performance (1.5GHz processor), and a whopping 4,050mAh battery inside. Although some question the potential for such large smartphones, the Samsung Note overcame early skepticism and the Note II topped five million in sales by the end of 2012.
Television Manufacturers Flock to Smartphones
With the HDTV market showing little growth over the past few years, some of the industries bigger names are turning to smartphones as a new venue for future growth. Vizio is joining those ranks with two smartphones on display at CES 2013. The California-based manufacturer brought a 4.7-inch and 5-inch model to CES boasting sleek designs, fast processors, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and 720p displays.
While the devices are exciting, consumers shouldn’t hold their breath. Vizio debuted smartphones at CES in 2011 and the devices never made it to market. Although these devices are ready for commercial release, for the time being they will only be available in China.
Tablets Diversifying and Increasing
CES 2013 has been the biggest edition for tablets to date. The iPad started the tablet craze, and remains the top choice, but the competition is increasing and so is the diversity in the industry. Tablets were initially a sleeker, lighter, always-on alternative to laptops. At CES 2013 the industry has debuted gaming tablets, challengers to the iPad, and larger tablets designed for lap or coffee table use.
The new Razer Edge is made waves at CES 2013 because it was powerful and specialized for gaming. Light and transportable, the Edge is more than your average tablet. The Edge runs on the full Windows 8 operating system, comes with Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, Nvidia’s GT 640M LE GPU, and is capable of 720p graphics display.
Vizio showed off two different tablets, with different operating systems, at CES 2013. First was the 11.6-inch, 1080p display running on the Windows 8 mobile operating system. Then Vizio unveiled a new Android-powered tablet that is among the first to run on Nvidia’s Tegra 4 processor that offers six-times more power than previous processors.
Perhaps the biggest reveal in the tablet world at CES was the foray into very large tablets. Panasonic stole the show with an impressive prototype of a 20-inch screen tablet with 4K technology (new in Ultra-Definition televisions). The device is sleek, if that applies to a 20-inch device, and runs on Windows 8. The design features a brushed metal housing and a glass exterior and is the first tablet device to feature 4K display technology.
CES 2013 was just as exciting as previous editions. With tech companies pulling out all the stops to top the competition, consumers will be the winners when more smartphone and tablet options start arriving on retail shelves.
Microsoft Surface Pro
Also, you might want to check out our ongoing series of articles about the Surface tablets from Microsoft.
Some of the latest articles and reviews about the Surface Pro as of 2-8-2013: