There is not much to write about this years Computex, as almost every news has spread a thousand times throughout the web. This is thus more a personal note: Intel have finally managed to win quite a few smartphone and tablet designs, and at the same time they have managed to really lower the consumption of their performance platform with “Haswell”. Finally, thin, light, powerful and long lasting mobile computing solutions are possible. Thumbs up!
A few years ago there was no such thing as hardware that was co-branded by Google – as Google was just a service provider in the internet, this made sense. It all started with Android and the so called Google Experience Devices. Then, in early 2010, Google launched the Nexus One, an HTC made smartphone.
As of now, Google has 5 main devices out there, 3 for Android, two Chromebooks: The LG made Nexus 4 smartphone (which replaces the Samsung made Galaxy Nexus), the ASUS made Nexus 7, the Samsung made Nexus 10 (which not only features Samsungs latest SoC, the Exynos 5250 but also a 300PPI screen), the Series 3 Chromebook, running the same ARM chip as the Nexus 10 and the Chromebook 550, running a dual core Celeron chip.
To me, two of these devices are particulary interesting: The very popular $ 199/ € 199 Nexus 7 and the ARM powered Chromebook.
This should not imply that I am not interested into the Nexus 4, which has been critized for being to little of an improvement about its Samsung made predecessor, as it lacks LTE. For me, living in Germany, where LTE is just starting and thus not really affordable and where there are quite acceptable 3,5G HSPA networks available, the lack of LTE is not a killer. It’s just that I really got used to having a dual SIM phone (the Jiayu G2, which I still like a lot, even though the glass unfortunately broke), and don’t want to switch back, as it would cost me extra money for about 10 months – my next smartphone will be based around the Mediatek MT6589 SoC, a quadcore ARM Cortex A7 / Power VR SGX 544 chip – the great thing about these chinese phones is not only their relatively low price, but also the not too customized, mostly pure Android these devices run.
(If you want to buy a good dual SIM phone without importing it, the Alcatel OT 997 Ultra seems to be a good choice, btw).
Same goes for the Nexus 10, which seems to be a great device, too – only Android still lacks in real great tablet apps (compared to the Apple iPad), and 10,1“ 16:10 is just to large for me.
The Nexus 7, now available in an 3G flavour, too, is a compelling device, likely the best choice in 7“ tablets out there – talking of the OOTB experience. It lacks a video out and extendable storage – but hey, does this really matter that much? While I am a huge fan of microSD storage and HDMI out I must admit that I almost never use these – I don’t even have an miniHDMI cable, and the microSD in my phone is almost empty because I was to lazy to fill it up with my music. Now why a 7 inch tablet? Well, size does matter, my Nook Simple Touch tought me that, as size was the main factor making it almost abandon my iPad for some time.
Then the Chromebook. Why the hell would anyone want such a thing as this chromebook you may ask. Well, typing on smartphones, tablets and netbooks sucks, and I don’t want to bring my Notebook with me all the time, as it is still my “digital hub” and thus far to valuable to be accidentely dropped in the subway. And there is another thing with this thing: It has no fan, no harddrive – and an OS which is foolproof. Plus, hackers are already working on porting classic GNU/Linux distributions on this thing, making it basically a full ARM-powered computer, that has a great keyboard and is still light, portable and cheap. And I am sure that someone will port over Android, too. Sure: If this had a touchscreen, it would be even greater, for sure – but at USD 249 (and hopefully EUR 249) you can’t expect too much, right? Exspecially if you really feel the need for a device to hammer in texts on the go…
So these are the Google devices that are on my “wish list”. What do you think?
It is one day before there will be likely a new Nexus Tablet, supposedly 7”, Tegra 3 and all – it’s all over the internet, if you care. I didn’t cover the last big trade shows at all, and over time I have had many devices in my hands which I didn’t cover except maybe for mentioning them in a few tweets or lines (Nokia N900, LG Optimus Speed, Sony Ericsson XPERIA Pro, Lenovo A750, Jiayu G2).
Honestly, I even shot a few videos I never published, because they were simply not good enough to be published unedited – and I didn’t prefer shooting it again last year for no reason – i am not that experienced at video handling, as I had to realize recently I can’t even rip DVDs without messing it up – audio is never in sync. I hate my own laziness, however, there are simply more important things in my life that need to be done than writing down (or saying on video) what exactly I think about a certain phone screen, or why this app is better than the other one. It’s not that work or private life steal the time of this blog, it’s simply that I am bored of most of what’s happening.
Don’t get me wrong: The mobile space has rarely been more dynamic in the past, not only talking of what one could call “spec sheet madness” (imagine someone would have told you in 2002 that there would be quad core phones with 2 Gigabytes of RAM in 2012). With Android dominant on smartphones, but not tablets and the soon to happen launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 with more interesting convertible devices which really come close to what I dreamt of 5 years ago (and which than seemed really unlikely to happen, imagine how poorly (in terms of performance) an ASUS PadFone would have been back then)), with Intel still trying to find a place in your trousers pocket (initial reviews of 1st gen Medfield phones like the Orange San Diego haven’t been overly positive, though mostly because the overall package is not great) and MIPS is trying to get a foot in the mobile markets, too.
Then there is digital reading, a topic that interests me really and has made my buy not only Apple’s iPad 2 in last september, but recently a Barnes&Noble Nook Simple Touch, which – as you must know to understand that I as a german guy bought this US-Reader, runs Android 2.1 (Eclair) and thus is hackable to a certain extend. Display technology is not really going much forward right now – while AMOLED and LCDs have been getting better and better, delivering better pictures at higher resolutions (300ppi may be average in mid range smartphones in 2013), power saving reflective technologies optimized for sunlight reading like PixelQi and Qualcomms Mirasol technology have not been exactly successful yet.
Still, finding the time to even write stupid stuff like this post will continue to happen only on rare occasions. So don’t expect anything of this blog in the near foreseeable future. I may post something, but more likely, I will not.
While I could spend my time with something else as well (and I mostly do over the day here in Europe), it´s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA again. Even though I haven´t been that much into tech lately (besides scrolling the daily tech news), I must admit that as always (since I follow mobile computing) I´ve been pretty exited.
It´s CES, and that´s great, just like Computex or MWC (the German trade show CeBIT hasn´t been too exiting lately, btw) and while it isn´t too tough to guess which rumors might become true (even as a bystander, like me, I would like you to consider me as an attentive bystander), you still always sense something whenever you see a first “hands on” or follow a live blogging session from a press conference. There is surprise (rare, but it happens), disappointment, sheer exitement or happiness (because something came out the way you dreamt of it) or fear (you don´t like what happens, whatever the trigger is).
I will not bore you with more detailed descriptions, I will just try to name anexample for each of the feelings I tried to describe above.
Let´s start with surprise: When I first saw the ASUS EeePad MeMO I was really surprised (positively) to see a tablet with a stylus from a company like ASUS, which is a hardware company (and adding in a Stylus within a finger touch environment like Android requires additional software to make real sense, from note taking to hand writing recognition). Still, ASUS has proven to be innovative during the last years, and I really hope that others will follow them – don´t forget: it was ASUS who invented netbooks, after all.
Next on: Disappointment. Well, there wasn´t too much disappointment yet, probably because other news have been to overwhelming. Still, there is one product which I followed in the past which will (as I see it now) not live up too its hype, which I´ve been a little part of. It´s the Notion Ink adam. Looking at all these Tegra2 tablets getting ready for the market, announced with better screen resolutions and Android Honeycomb (featuring the Android market) I expect this tablet not to be the success it could have been, if only it would have been ready earlier – if NotionInk had managed to hit the market this November with a less perfect, but still promising and relatively bug free outstanding product, NotionInk could have hit it off. Now, still not available in the stores and about to hit within a plethora of similar devices (to the eye of the average customer), considering the amount of thought the makers of adam put into it, inferior solutions featuring the software Google created and Googles Android Market, sounding alltogether less biblical (I never loved these adam, Eden … names), NotionInks´ solution will have a very hard time to perform half decent next to all these things with known brandnames on them. I just hope, that they will survive (and be it as a team, then part of another company – Toshiba seems to need some brilliant engineers, looking at their failure with the Folio 100 (and other, earlier mobile solutions like the TG01), btw ;-) ).
Sheer exitement / happiness. I like what Motorola did by creating a phone (the Atrix 4G) that will power a subnotebook. This is truely great, even though Motorola sucked at Openness (as in hackability) lately, because it is what I dreamt of years ago, when I had my first Linux powered smartphone, the Motorola A780.
I will write more about this CES if I feel like, promised.
Apologies: I left out links out of pure laziness, I expect my readers to be able to find the information they need themselves.