This week, in your world of Android: Samsung introduced four new tablets, CES teemed with cool new wearables, smart cars were in the spotlight, Sony launched the Xperia Z1 Compact, Nvidia teased the new K1, Asus launched a line of ultra-cheap smartphones, an exec talked about the launch of the Galaxy S5, and the CyanogenMod-running OnePlus One became official.
These are the essential stories, the summary of an entire week in just a few words. It’s must read Android.
Samsung goes PRO, TabPRO
At CES, Samsung introduced the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4, 10.1, and 12.2 and their S Pen-toting cousin, the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2. All devices share high-end internals and super-crisp displays, and will come with a new widget-based UI dubbed Magazine UX.
- Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 hands-on preview: video & gallery
- Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 hands-on preview: video & gallery
- Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 12.2 hands-on preview: video & gallery
- Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 hands-on preview: video & gallery
Wearables, wearables everywhere
CES 2014 was clearly the year of the wearable, with one category in particular being over-represented –smartwatches. It remains to be seen how many of the “smart devices” introduced at the show will make it in the long run, but a few caught our eye as promising, including the sleek new Pebble Steel.
- Pebble Steel official: specs, features, release date, pricing and appstore
- Intel smart: watch, earbuds, headset and wireless charging bowl
- Sony unveils SmartBand and Lifelog app at CES 2014
Droids in your car
Another theme of CES this year was the connected car. With Google teaming up with big auto to put Android in dashboards everywhere, the future seems bright for smart cars. The first model from the Open Automotive Alliance is expected later this year.
- Google’s auto alliance will put Android in cars in 2014. Audi, GM, Honda are on board
- Sony cradle receiver turns your phone into an in-car entertainment system
- Audi introduces its own Android tablet, controls in-car infotainment system
Sony Z1 Compact, the no-compromise mini
For too long, Android OEMs have treated small devices as second hand citizens of the mobile world. Sony is changing that with the Xperia Z1 Compact, a 4.3-inch beauty packing all the power of its bigger sibling. Hopefully, it’s the start of a new trend.
Just ship it already!
Nvidia kicked off CES with the announcement of the Tegra K1, the fifth generation of its mobile SoC line, that will combine a Kepler-based GPU with either a 32- or a 64-bit CPU. Knowing Nvidia, the big question is when will the new chip be available in products.
Asus goes Zen
Asus introduced the first North American version of the PadFone and a line of inexpensive phones powered by Intel chips. The Zenfone 4, 5, and 6 cost between $99 and $199 and we found they deliver some great bang for the money.
- Asus Zenfone 4 hands-on preview: video and image gallery
- Asus Zenfone 5 hands-on preview: video and image gallery
- Asus Zenfone 6 hands-on preview: video and image gallery
- Asus PadFone Mini hands-on preview: video and image gallery
A glimpse at the Galaxy S5
This week the vice president of Samsung’s mobile business talked about the Galaxy S5, the new generation of the Gear, and even the Note 4, which may sport a three-sided display. The S5 will be out by April and will pack a radically different design, promised the exec.
Goofy name aside, the OnePlus One will be radically different from what we’re used to in the smartphone world. The device will be the first device made for CyanogenMod and is expected later this year.
What’s the biggest story in Android this week? Tell us in the comments.