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Mark Dearlove

Best devices of CES - the MoDaCo view

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Now that the Consumer Electronics show is over for another year I have decided to run a straw poll of the MoDaCo team to find out what devices are getting them all excited.

This year saw a whole host of Tablets, Smartphones, Ultrabooks and TVs. Many of these were not particularly interesting but several caught our eye. Some even offended our gadget sensibilities, but I will come to that later.

My highlight announcements were in two separate categories, one a Tablet and one a TV.

The tablet I picked for my first choice is the Asus MeMo 370T, a 7 inch quad-core Tegra 3 powered beast of a tablet. Asus are one of the true innovators in the tablet market and this device continues the trend. The kicker with the MeMo is that it is going to retail at just $250, the downside, its not set to be on sale in the UK as Asus doesn't think we want 7 inch tablets over here. I think they have got this terribly wrong - this is the tablet I have wanted to see on these shores. 'Victor von Zeppelin' from the News team also picked the MeMo as one of his highlights.

The TV is the Lenovo K91, a 55inch Full HD'er. 'What's so special about that?', you may ask. Well its the first Smart TV to be running Android, more specifically Android 4.0. I think this platform offers a lot of potential, even over and above the Google TV platform. It remains to be seen, however, if having Android running on a TV will mean TVs going down the same route as smartphones, becoming out of date within a 2 year period.

More after the break...

When I asked Paul for his choices he initially gave me a single option - the Victorinox Swiss Army SSD drive. His reasoning - up to 1 Terabyte of storage on an eSata drive that fits into a pocket knife - bonkers! I can see some reasoning behind it but for me the price tag of over $1000 puts it well into the luxury bracket. Maybe we can convince Victorinox to send us a few review samples.

Eventually Paul managed a second choice which is the Motorola RAZR MAXX, a slightly fatter version of the standard RAZR, but lurking in its 8.9mm thick frame is a whopping 3300mAh battery. Hopefully with that amount of power owners can stop worrying about which widgets are draining their battery and load the phone up with the lot.

Splashtop THD was grudgingly nominated as Victor's second choice, although he thought CES this year was "Possibly one of the most lacklustre CES's for a while". The Tegra version of the well-known remote desktop software will allow you to run your latest games remotely from your PC on your Android device. At CES nVidia showed Skyrim running remotely on a Transformer Prime - pretty neat.

'Matty-p' from the Moderator team nominated the MakerBot Replicator, a 3D printer that can print any 3D object in 2 colours up to a size of 8.9" x 5.7" x 5.9". Matty told me "With its start price of just a little over £1k and the company expecting to see 3d printers sub US$500 within the next few years the possibilities that are opened when one of these is common place in each home will be awesome."

Matt chose the Fulton wireless charger as his second option. The demonstration showed a Tesla Roadster being charged wirelessly using a 2 part device, one half of which is buried in the ground, the other attached to the undercarriage of the car. 'Matty-p' told me "I can really imagine the possibilities of wireless charging and wireless power and the importance it could play in tomorrow’s world shaping the way we think about electricity, transport and gadgets."

'Flibblesan' from the Admin team decided his favourite is the Huawei Ascend P1 S smartphone. Announced as 'the Worlds thinnest smartphone' at just 6.68mm, the P1 S looks to be "Huawei finally making high end devices and going after the big boys." according to Fibblesan. His second choice was Ubuntu TV, for reasons similar to mine when choosing the Lenovo K91. He told me "Completely free for manufacturers to use I can see this (Ubuntu TV) being quite popular and giving Google TV a serious run for its money."

'DialMforMostyn' went for the I'm Watch which is an Android powered smart watch with a 1.54" screen which connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It apparently works with Android, iOS, Windows phone, and Blackberry devices via bluetooth to show you message previews, check the weather using in built apps, or you can use it as a standalone music player. The downside for me is that the device is running old school Android 1.6. DialM picked the I'm Watch because "I'd love to be that dork that speaks into his wrist in public. It'd be all my Captain Scarlett/James Bond dreams coming true." Who wouldn't!

Finally Paul also nominated his 'Bonus Scumbag Announcement of the Show' which this year goes to Asus for the announcement of the Transformer Prime TF700T which for all the folks that bought the TF201 couldn't have come at a worse time. I expect Asus will be receiving a whole stack of TF201 returns in the coming weeks - Paul's included I expect.

What were your highlights? Leave your comments below.

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I've seen a lot of comments about the I'm Watch along the lines of "it's too OLD a version of Android". But I've yet to see anyone explain WHY a newer version of Android would be better...

In this kind of device, which is largely just serving as a custom UI to display information from the connected device, what benefit would newer versions of Android give? Sure, if it was a phone, then the version would seem outdated, but can anyone explain why this device NEEDS a newer version?

A lot of people seem to think the I'm Watch is a phone and then scoff at the "outdated" Android version. I'm not sure they even checked what product they were commenting on!

Edit: I've just seen the comment at http://androidandme.com/2012/01/news/hands-on-with-im-watch-at-its-official-launch-at-ces/ which basically reinforces the point - this kind of device runs better/is more stable on 1.6. So, again, why do reviewers want to see it on a new version? For what specific features?

Edited by hotphil

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Edit: I've just seen the comment at http://androidandme.com/2012/01/news/hands-on-with-im-watch-at-its-official-launch-at-ces/ which basically reinforces the point - this kind of device runs better/is more stable on 1.6. So, again, why do reviewers want to see it on a new version? For what specific features?

you mean this:

I spoke with one of the engineers who said that the decision to go with Android 1.6 was due to the watch’s original 64 MB memory limitation. They have since changed the hardware to include 128 MB of memory, but found that the device was simply more stable on Android 1.6 than any of the newer versions of Android.

I'm amazed they have not considered Eclair, same kernel version, I can find several devices with the same cpu running Eclair.

Eclair 2.1 was an updated version of Android Donut with the improvements of:

  • Optimised hardware speed
  • addition Bluetooth 2.1
  • Better white-black ratio for better backgrounds
  • Revamped User Interface
  • New user interface in a browser and support for html5
  • Support for Microsoft Exchange

The bluetooth issue mentioned in that article would be less, plus hardware optimisation would help battery life, 128mb ram is not really a limitation, you could use some of that 4 gigabyte internal storage for swap.

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Well I got my i'm Watch now. Still 1.6 and still a beta product, but it seems OK.

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