After a couple of sleepless nights and days spent mulling over news in our makeshift “LYN CES Trailer” (which was just our meeting room), we have finally closed out another year of CES. As with all previous years, there was no shortage of amazing things to see coming out of Vegas; From next-generation mobile processors to Android powered ovens, it was one heck of a show. So in true Lowyat.NET fashion, we’ve decided to pick our hits and misses for CES 2013!
Head on over past the jump to see what the editorial team thought about this year’s CES!
Best of CES 2013: YotaPhone
Announced almost one month ago, Yota Devices showcased its interesting new YotaPhone prototype smartphone at this year’s CES. The YotaPhone offers pretty much the same set of hardware as a flagship smartphone should have, but with one major difference…which changes everything. The YotaPhone features two screens: a standard HD LCD screen in front, and an e-ink display at the back. It certainly is an evolution of the smartphone as we know it, as developers now can think of creative ways to utilise the power-sipping e-ink screen. For instance, users can “push” a screenshot of the map from the LCD to the e-ink display when the battery is running low. Or have some fun, such as putting a “say cheese” message on the back screen when the camera is aimed at a group of people.
In addition, the company is also working on a custom Android skin that negates the use of touchscreen buttons, thus giving apps more space to shine. In their place is a touch-enabled zone at the bottom bezel, which allows for a swipe-based interface much like Swipe UI from the now-defunct MeeGo-Harmattan. The use of gestures – as proven by fresh new mobile operating systems such as BlackBerry 10, Sailfish OS and Ubuntu OS – looks to be the way forward, and Yota Devices appears to be one step ahead of the pack with their efforts to integrate swipe gestures into Android.
Unfortunately, we may not be seeing this device anytime soon, as the company has already mentioned that it will only hit the Russian market sometime in Q3 of this year, and the rest of the world after that. Regardless, this is definitely an interesting smartphone, not just for the consumer, but for developers too. Which is why the YotaPhone is my choice for the Best of CES 2013.
Worst of CES 2013: Kingston’s Show-Off-ish 1TB Thumbdrive
Perhaps the “worst” is a bit harsh, but really, a 1TB thumbdrive? While I’m all for pushing technology to new heights, the Kingston HyperX Predator 3.0 thumbdrive seems to have rather lost the plot on what a thumbdrive should be: a portable device capable of storing files for transferring between computers. The HyperX Predator 3.0, on the other hand, has storage options of 32GB, 64GB, 512GB and 1TB.
Of course, 32GB and 64GB thumbdrives have already been in the market for some time, but their high price is definitely a prohibitive factor – not to mention the small form factor making it a risk of theft and/or careless misplacement. And when you consider the fact that the 512GB thumbdrive from Kingston costs a cool $1750, you really wonder who would even consider buying the 1TB one when it eventually hits the market sometime this quarter.
Best of CES 2013: Sony Xperia Z
As the 5inch mobile phone race heats up, Sony took CES as a time to show off their latest flagship ahead of MWC 2013, when most others would be touting their wares for the world to go gaga over. The Xperia Z and ZL were launched simultaneously at the show and really did catch my eye as one of the better pieces of news to come out from Vegas. Both the phones will have a 5inch Full HD screen, 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor with 2GB of RAM as well as LTE connectivity and will sport 13MP cameras that support HDR videos (a first in smartphones)
Perhaps one of the things that stood out was the Battery Stamina mode that kills all but “whitelisted” processes giving you up to 4x standby time on the already mammoth 2,330 mAh battery. On top of that the Xperia Z has both IP55 and IP57 ratings that make it dust and water resistant.
I’ve always been a fan of the Sony Xperias and after it’s pretty much lacklustre end to the year 2012 with very run of the mill phones, I’m glad to see that the Z is a step in the right direction. Sony has always had a great design philosophy and is on the right track. This is a phone to watch out for when it does come out.
Worst Of CES 2013: The Panasonic 20Inch 4K resolution Windows 8 Tablet
My pick for the worst of CES 2013 was a very easy one. Panasonic decided to flex their e-peen and top the “Because We Can” list with a 20Inch 4k resolution tablet which was meant for “Business Productivity”. Hang on a minute, surely there is a point where we stop calling a tablet, a tablet and call it something a little more epic, like a slate or even a plank or something. At 20inches I don’t know how productive one can be on such a device. It’s a little too small to be a tabletop and way too big to be a tablet so I don’t see where this device fits in anywhere. The device doesn’t even have a proper model name! I can think of many devices which can replace this one as a “business productivity” device and not one use for it, aside from a show off device. For this reason this 4K device is pretty much the bottom of the barrel for me.
Best: Razor Edge Gaming Tablet
When it was originally revealed as Project Fiona at CES 2012, it looked so bizarre – especially with its integrated dual-controller design – and I actually thought it would never see the light of the day. At this year’s CES, I was proven wrong though as Project Fiona has since matured and has become the new Razer Edge gaming tablet which will be released into the market later this year.
What I mean by matured is that Razer Edge is now a much more versatile device since the controller is now an optional accessories rather than being attached to the tablet. Furthermore, there is also a keyboard dock for users to utilize it as a laptop and a full docking station that would transform it as a Windows 8-based home console. Not to forget, users can just stick to its native tablet form if they decided not to use the optional docking systems.
The hardware that Razer has packed into Edge should be able to handle the needs of an average gamer although we would say that Razer might want to bump its resolution to full HD 1080p since the hardware packed definitely able to handle such resolution. The price might be on the premium sight but then again, we are not surprised by that – it is a Razer, after all.
Honorable Mentions: NVIDIA Project Shield, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator 1TB Flash Drive.
Worst: Nothing that we encountered from CES 2013 was bad enough for me, fortunately.
Sick of all those typical smartphone announcements that either boasts a bigger display or a better camera and maybe a faster processor? Well, here’s something different – a curved OLED phone that is made using flexible OLED displays from Samsung.
The device that was showed off at Samsung’s CES 2013 booth was a prototype phone that features a display that stretches all the way to the right edge of the phone. While the company may not have any big plans as to what it wish to do with the extra space asset yet – the prototype only showed how users can use the curved part of the phone to see notifications without removing the phone cover – I have really high hopes for them and what they can do with it, hopefully, in the near future.
I know it’s important to potty train children, just imagine the amount of money you can save from not having to buy diapers, but will a potty with an iPad holder work? I don’t think so, not for my toddler at least. CTA Digital introduced perhaps the most bizarre gadget during CES 2013, the iPotty that features an adjustable and rotating iPad stand on a potty, and just so you know, it also features a removable screen cover and splashguard to protect your precious gadget.
Why is it the worst of CES 2013? I don’t mean to be the type of parent that frowns upon the usage of gadgets to babysit their children, I do that pretty frequently, but to use a piece of gadget just so your child can learn to use a potty is just too much. Imagine going out to a public toilet and your child simply refuses to go because the toilet doesn’t come equipped with an iPad, it would be an ugly scene.
And finally, the price? USD$40, that’s about RM120 just to buy a poop station when you can easily snag up a traditional potty at a local night market for less than RM10.