Android news from CES 2013 (Wrap-up edition)
Another year has come and gone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and this year mobility played a huge part yet again. Now that the exhibitors are packing up and heading home, it’s time to look at a few of the big Android announcements from this year’s show.

NVIDIA Project Shield

Graphics giant NVIDIA always brings its A-game to CES, not only showing off the high-end graphics capabilities of its discrete graphics cards and embedded products, but often introducing new development platforms for other manufacturers to run with. This year’s news was Project Shield, an open portable gaming platform that uses NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 chipset for fast processing and high-quality graphics. It comes with a 5-inch 1280×720 multi-touch display and a game-controller form factor (for two different modes of gaming interaction), as well as an HDMI port if you want to push the video to a larger display. The whole thing runs on Android Jelly Bean, giving you access to a wealth of games available for mobile Android devices, as well as the ability to stream games from Steam-connected PC. Pricing and availability are still to be determined.

Seagate Wireless Plus
Okay, so you can watch movies on your Android tablet or smartphone, but the big problem is that your device generally won’t have enough storage to carry every movie or TV show you want to watch. The Seagate Wireless Plus is designed to be a perfect travel companion for the multimedia lover: throw as much multimedia as you can on this one terabyte portable drive, and then stream it to your mobile device over a Wi-Fi connection the Wireless Plus creates. You’ll need to download an app to your tablet or smartphone to get the content streaming; you’ll lose your Wi-Fi connection to the rest of the world while you’re streaming multimedia, however. The upside: once the Wireless Plus is up and running, three different devices can stream different content simultaneously. The Wireless Plus is due to hit retail at the end of January, for $199 US.

Sony Xperia Z
Sony continues to impress with its new line of Android smartphones with the Xperia Z, bringing many of Sony’s core competencies together in a handheld device. The handset comes with a 5-inch 1080p screen, a 13 megapixel camera, and is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. Like the Xperia Go, the Xperia Z will also be water-resistant, which means you don’t have to worry about getting the phone wet when you’re at the beach. The Xperia Z is scheduled to launch by the end of the first quarter of 2013, along with a more compact model known as the Xperia ZL.The Xperia Z will launch with Jelly Bean 4.1, but it should be upgradable to Jelly Bean 4.2 shortly afterwards.

Lenovo IdeaPhone K900
While you likely know Lenovo better for their full lineup of desktop and mobile computers, the company also has a number of tablets and phones available in various markets around the world. The IdeaPhone K900 is the company’s new premium smartphone, with a 5.5-inch 1080p screen (for a pixel density of 400 ppi), and a 2GHz Intel Atom processor. Though the K900’s larger form factor makes it a competitor of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, its thinner and lighter form factor may make it somewhat more appealing to those who find devices of this size unwieldy…but even so, it’s still a large device compared to typical smartphones. The IdeaPhone K900 is scheduled to launch in China in April; availability in the rest of the world is to be determined. (Currently there appear to be no plans to bring the phone into Canada, unfortunately. Rats.)

While the YotaPhone was announced in early December, CES was the first time that a lot of people got to see what the fuss was all about. The bottom line: in addition to the 4.3-inch 1280×720 LCD screen, the YotaPhone features a 4.3-inch e-ink screen on the flipside. While this seems a bit goofy at first, it quickly starts to make sense when you see it in action. Instead of firing up the backlit LCD screen for meeting notifications, the YotaPhone can update the e-ink display with much less impact on the battery. When you’re using the full-color LCD for everyday use, you can use a special swiping motion to move the image to the e-ink screen on the other side (like, for example, a map or a boarding pass), which you can then use even when the phone is in standby mode (without additional power). The YotaPhone is powered by a dual-core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor, a 12 megapixel camera, and will come with Jelly Bean 4.2. The phone is scheduled to launch in Q3 of 2013.


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