Thursday, January 13, 2011

Verizon's keynote at the 2011 International CES

The International Consumer Electronics Show, otherwise known simply as CES, is a major technology related trade show held every year in January at Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. This year's CES which was held between the 6th and 9th of this month showcased some upcoming technology. Much of the announcements and technology showcased at CES is usually in the concept or the prototype stage. Of the actual product announcements, many do not make it to India. With this in mind, we’d like to provide you with a sprinkling of the product announcements/releases in the category of smartphones. Obviously, we didn’t attend CES – all our news and coverage is sourced from Engadget, who literally blogged their asses off for nearly a week. This post has an interesting round-up of stats that the Engadget team crunched through in being the Official Blog Partner of CES 2011.

In this article, we’ll look at certain phones that captured our attention and got the geek inside of us all excited. Keep in mind that India does not yet have 4G technology, nor can the CDMA devices announced for Sprint or Verizon ever find their way here in the exact configuration/form – but it is interesting to see where some of these products are pushing the envelope of invention for mobile devices.

1. The Motorola Atrix 4G

Motorola Atrix 4G

This is the one of the most advanced mobile phones that we have seen till date. This phone from Motorola has a qHD (Quarter Full HD, 540x960) screen  with a Tegra 2 dual-core 1 GHz processor, a fingerprint reader (which is used as the power-on mechanism!), 1 GB of DDR2 RAM memory (Yes, the same DDR2 used in Desktop and Notebook PC systems) as well as a dual-LED flash accompanying the 5MP capable camera.  This is a true mobile computing device which is able to serve the function of a desktop computer, a laptop or even your entertainment center, using the Motorola-developed Webtop application when docked. The Atrix runs Android 2.2 Froyo and switches over to Linux for the Webtop application, in docked modes. We definitely do not expect a release of this same device in India, as it has 4G; however, we sincerely hope that some form of this device trickles down to our country, simply so that we can recommend it to all you folks out there. Do check out the shots below for an idea of the docking capabilities. (When docked, the Atrix does not use another PC – all PC-like computing functionality is provided by the phone)

ATRIX 4G_Dyn_L_vert_Home_ATTATRIX 4G_Dyn_R_horiz_CameraOlympus_Front_1, 10/25/10, 10:50 AM,  8C, 4800x2700 (536+2632), 100%, bent 6 adjuste,  1/20 s, R66.9, G51.0, B78.7<br />Atrix_Lapdock_Back_Dyn_L_GrayAtrix_Lapdock_phone_Dyn_L_shadow_screen

 

2. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

Some of us here are wishing that we could set aside around Rs. 30,000/- every year, just so that we can buy Sony Ericsson’s next greatest Android phone – which they seem to be updating pretty regularly. The Xperia Arc is one of the most beautifully crafted phones that we have seen of late, and it is not shy of high-end specs either. With all the flak that Sony Ericsson has taken for the delay in updating their current generation of Xperia phones, it was surprising to note that this was one of the few phones that was announced at CES with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Even the Motorola Atrix has been announced only with 2.2. The specs for the Xperia Arc include what Sony Ericsson touts to be a 4.2” “Reality Display” powered by a Mobile BRAVIA Engine, FWVGA resolution of 480x854, mini-HDMI output, an 8.3 MP Autofocus camera powered by an Exmor R sensor – which takes brilliant photos in low light, without a flash. Powering all this goodness is a second-generation 1 Ghz Snapdragon processor. Oh, and did we mention that it’s only 8.7mm thick?

 Xperia_arc_Front_BlackXperia_arc_Left_BlackXperia_arc_Black_1Xperia_arc_Black_2

3. LG Optimus Black

LG Optimus Black

LG is yet to provide full details on this device, but for now, we know that this is going to be one of the flagship Android handsets from the company this year. The LG Optimus Black sports a 4” NOVA display, which according to LG, draws upto 50% less power than an AMOLED display. Coupled with the 1500mAh battery, this should extend valuable battery life a bit. The Optimus Black is also quite thin, at 9.2mm, and features Wi-Fi Direct, and a 2 MP front-facing camera. Wi-Fi Direct is an upcoming form of Wi-Fi which can be used to quickly connect two Wi-Fi Direct enabled devices to transfer data. It competes with the existing (and widely popular) Bluetooth technology. The phone will be released in the first half of 2011 worldwide (so we can expect to see it in India by June 2011, at the latest, if not earlier) with Android 2.2 Froyo, which would then be officially upgraded to Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

4. Motorola Droid Bionic

Etna_Front_1, 12/1/10, 2:54 PM,  8C, 5100x2700 (424+2720), 100%, Custom,  1/12 s, R57.9, G42.0, B69.7<br />

If you thought the Motorola Atrix was the new standard for smartphones, then you might be pleased to know that Motorola is also releasing another 1 Ghz, Tegra 2 chipset-powered phone – the Droid Bionic. It features the same qHD (540x960) 4.3” display, an 8 MP rear camera with dual LED flash and a front-facing camera for video chat, an HDMI port (to connect the phone to high resolution displays) and 4G for Verizon Wireless’ recently launched 4G network. Definitely do not expect this to launch in India – it is specifically meant for Verizon’s CDMA-based network. But there are shots below which are worthy of your viewing…

Droid BionicEtna_Back_1, 12/1/10, 3:45 PM,  8C, 4500x2400 (704+2824), 100%, bent 6 adjuste,  1/20 s, R57.9, G42.0, B69.7<br />DROID BIONIC_Dyn_R_vert_Home_CESEtna_Front_1, 12/1/10, 2:54 PM,  8C, 5100x2700 (424+2720), 100%, Custom,  1/12 s, R57.9, G42.0, B69.7<br />Etna_Front_1, 12/1/10, 2:54 PM,  8C, 5100x2700 (424+2720), 100%, Custom,  1/12 s, R57.9, G42.0, B69.7<br />

 

5. Samsung Infuse 4G

Infuse 4G SGH-i997

The Samsung Galaxy S is currently one of the hottest selling smartphones in India (and abroad). But if you thought Samsung was going to sit around and rest on their successes, you’re horribly wrong. This device, the Samsung Infuse 4G, has a whopping big 4.5” Super AMOLED Plus display. An 8 MP camera at the back, 1.3 MP camera at the front, a 1.2 Ghz single-core Hummingbird processor and should be launching with Android 2.2 Froyo – all in a device that’s just 9 mm thick. This one could take a few months to launch, as Engadget noted in their preview of it that the rear case has not been finalised yet.

Infuse 4G SGH-i997 AngleInfuse 4G SGH-i997 Side (1)Infuse 4G SGH-i997

 

6. Vizio Phone

Vizio is a US based consumer electronics company which primarily produces LCD displays. The Vizio Phone on display was still in its early stages of development and the prototype featured a high resolution 4 inch display with a 1 GHz  processor. Skype video calling would be supported by this device with its dual camera (a 5 MP camera at the back of the phone and a VGA camera in front) feature. One of the unique features of this phone is the IR blaster enabling the phone to also function as a universal remote.

Whether this phone will come to India or not, is a big question – since none of Vizio’s devices are currently sold officially in India. However, even if this doesn’t make it to India, we have plenty of other options coming up, don’t we?

7. 4G Technology

While major mobile network operators are still getting ready to launch 3G in India, their counterparts in the USA have started launching 4G services with HSPA+, LTE and WiMAX technology. AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint which can be compared to India’s Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL and Tata Docomo have all begun rolling out 4G services, devices and plans. 

While we still don't know when these (or similar) devices will find their way to India, it is very evident that the mobile phone space is rapidly evolving into a segment that can almost replace the role of the personal computer in our daily lives. Will this happen within the next year? Probably not. But it could happen to some extent over the next few years. The once hypothetical concept of the “Continuous Client” as suggested by Joshua Topolsky (Chief Editor) of Engadget, seems to have found flesh with the introduction of devices such as the Motorola Atrix. We just hope that this is a trend that would catch on with every smartphone manufacturer. This year's CES has certainly given us insight into the latest trends in smartphones and the direction our mobile network providers must pursue to make the Indian citizen truly competent in a global environment; but more importantly, to make each one of us truly mobile.

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