The GottaBeMobile team presents our top picks from CES 2013. There are hundreds of quality devices and accessories here in Las Vegas, but there are only a handful that stand above the rest and earned one of our Best of CES awards.
Our editors examined hundreds of products and services at CES 2013 before compiling the list. We recommend these products without hesitation. The list includes products that will be hot sellers and fill a specific niche. We gave one award to a technology that will be integral to phones of the future.
We didn’t see an onslaught of smartphones like at CES like in previous years. We also didn’t see a plethora of tablets and traditional notebooks this time around. The conversation’s evolved past convincing people they need a smartphone and into a conversation about how consumers can do more with them and get more out of them. The GottaBeMobile team recognizes the Best of CES 2013 recipients
Congratulations to all the people behind the products below for building things that will help improve technology users’ mobility and digital lives.
ThinkPad Helix – Best of Show
The ThinkPad Helix is equal parts ultraportable notebook and tablet. It doesn’t feel neither like a tablet with a keyboard slapped on it, nor a laptop that happens to have a removable screen.
Lenovo built the ThinkPad Helix for the enterprise user, it’s durable enough to meet the demands of a business traveler, and with 10 hours of battery life it will keep going for most of the day. With 4G LTE and 3G the ThinkPad Helix will keep business travelers connected wherever they go.
Windows 8 on the ThinkPad Helix also provides businesses with the security they need from any device and access to any and all legacy apps they might require. And because it’s a ThinkPad the Helix has the same great keyboard that road warriors love so much.
For its great potential for enterprise users and its great blend of the tablet and ultraportable form-factors the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix win Best of Show for CES 2013.
Sony Xperia Z – Best Phone
While this year’s CES was thin on the smartphone announcements, there was one smartphone revealed at the show that stood out as a serious competitor in 2013. T
The Sony Xperia Z is Sony’s latest flagship Xperia smartphone and it packs some power which includes a 5-inch 1080p display, quad-core processor, water and dust resistant design and Android Jelly Bean.
The combination of great hardware and almost-Vanilla Android software make the Xperia Z an easy choice for our Best Phone of CES 2013.
Project Shield – Best Gadget
While many startups are trying their hands at a home console running Android the NVIDIA Project Shield is the first one that works as a portable gaming system and a way to play full-fledged PC games.
The NVIDIA Project Shield is the culmination of five years of work from NVIDIA. Using the company’s new Tegra 4 processor Project Shield can run any Android game on the market, and it can also stream PC games from any gaming rig with a compatible graphics card on a local Wi-Fi network, displaying better-than-console graphics on the 5-inch 720p display or on a HDTV.
As an Android handheld console that can also play almost any PC game, the NVIDIA Project Shield easily wins the award for Best Gadget of CES 2013.
ZAGG Origin – Best Accessory
CES is a show that is jam-packed with accessories and this year, the accessory that stood out amongst the crowd was the ZAGG Origin two-in-one speaker that is part in-home speaker system, part Bluetooth speaker.
ZAGG, also known for its iPad cases, has delivered a fantastic speaker system that is perfect for a party at home or a day at the beach. The Origin features a speaker base that produces fantastic sound but it also possesses a Bluetooth speaker that can be detached and used for up to 10 hours.
Its unique package provides fantastic sound with portability and that’s why the ZAGG Origin speaker wins the award for the Best Accessory at CES 2013.
Best Camera – Canon Powershot N
The PowerShot N is one of the smallest point-and-shoot cameras we’ve seen, with many of the same features as point-and-shoots almost double its size.
Canon’s diminutive point-and-shoot has a 2.8-inch touchscreen that can flip 90 degrees, making it perfect for taking photos of children or pets. The size also makes it easy to fit in a pocket alongside a smartphone.
The Canon PowerShot N wins GottaBeMobile’s Best Camera of CES 2013 award for its ability to take 12.1MP photos and 1080p video in such a small package.
ThinkCentre Horizon – Most Versatile Device
The IdeaCentre Horizon, Lenovo’s brand new 27-inch ‘Table PC’ is an extremely versatile device, combining a massive display with an intuitive software interface that invites sharing, gaming, and more.
Its 27-inch HD display is perfect for sharing photo and video with family and friends, its unique accessories which include a joystick and pair of dice make it perfectly equipped for gaming, and its Windows 8 OS gives it the feel of a typical tablet. And that’s the tip of the iceberg.
The Horizon, for all of its use cases, wins our award for Most Versatile Device at CES 2013.
Razer EDGE – Best Gaming Device
The Razer EDGE is the final version of Razer’s Project Fiona tablet which it showed off at CES last year, it’s a gaming laptop with mid-range gaming laptop specs.
Unlike other Windows 8 tablets the Razer EDGE can play most modern PC games thanks to its dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 540M LE graphics card. Gamers can play games on the touchscreen, with the detachable controllers, as a home consoles with wired controllers or as a laptop with the optional keyboard.
As one of the only tablets that can run full PC games the Razer EDGE wins the award for Best Gaming Device of CES 2013.
Sharp IGZO Screen Tech – Best Innovation
While Samsung’s flexible display technology may have stole the show, it’s still a long way off from being put into consumers hands. IGZO display technology, on the other hand, is a reality and it will be hitting more phones in the coming year.
Sharp’s IGZO displays promise to offer better battery life, improved touch and higher pixel counts for displays. They should also start arriving in 2013, potentially even in the new iPhone 6.
Given all of those improvements and the fact that it’s on devices this moment, it was easy to award the Sharp IGZO Screen Technology our award for Best Innovation at CES 2013.
Lowes Iris – Best Home Automation Innovation
Home automation is nothing new at CES 2013, but what’s new this year is the Lowes Iris home automation system, an affordable do-it-yourself approach to controlling the comfort and security of your home from iPhone and Android.
The Lowes Iris system is controlled by a hub, which retails for $179 and includes security or comfort features. Users can add-on door locks, monitors, video cameras, outlets and more, to bring home automation to other areas of the house without wires or expensive contractors. The Iris accessories connect wirelessly over Zigbee and Z-wave and shoppers don’t need to worry about compatibility because all Iris branded products at Lowes work with the system.
Lowest also offers premium services with rules for home automation and an elder care service that can alert family members to changes in elderly user’s activity or in emergencies.
Home automation is typically an expensive, hard to configure headache with compatibility questions. Because Lowes Iris solves these problems, we gave it the Best Home Automation Innovation at CES 2013.
Nectar – Best Mobile Power Solution
At CES 2013, we saw plenty of power solutions for mobile devices. One that stood out amongst the rest though was the Nectar Mobile Power solution, a cartridge based charger that turns Butane into power capable of keeping your iPhone or Android tablet going for up to two weeks without a wall outlet.
The Nectar is extremely easy to use, is portable enough to use around town, and maybe best of all, it’s likely TSA approved which means that you can bring it safely on a plane to recharge a phone or a tablet during a long flight.
Battery life is extremely important to smartphone and tablet owners and the Nectar does a fantastic job of that and that’s why we gave it our award for Best Mobile Power Solution at CES 2013.
Lego Mindstorms – Best Tech for Kids
The Lego Mindstorms EV3 and the Lego Mindstorms platform were a surprise find at CES 2013, showing off interactive and controllable Lego educational toys for consumers and the classroom.
Kids can turn the 550+ Lego Technic pieces into five robot characters that they can control with an iPhone or Android app. Kids can set program their creations to the move and interact with their environments
The Lego Mindstorms EV3 is shipping in the second half of 2013 for $349 in the U.S., so kids can play with the LEGO Mindstorms robots at home.
In addition to the Mindstorms EV3 retail portion, Lego also delivers the Mindstorms platform to educational markets, with configurations that allow kids to explore science, technology and engineering at a young age.
We gave Lego Mindstorms and the Lego Mindstorms EV3 the Best Tech Toy for Kids because it brings a fun, educational experience to schools and homes.
Incipio Atlas Waterproof iPhone 5 Case – Best iPhone Case
Waterproof iPhone cases aren’t new, but Incipio’s stylish waterproof iPhone 5 case includes something we’ve never seen with an iPhone case, a warranty that covers not just the case, but the iPhone, including water damage.
The Incipio Atlas Waterproof iPhone 5 case delivers protection in up to 3 meters of water and keeps dust and dirt out of the iPhone’s ports and off the screen. The Atlas case covers the screen with a glass screen protector and includes large buttons so users can find them on the go or underwater. The case includes opening to all of your ports and users can make calls and listen to music with the case on.
We’ve seen cases that offer similar features, but what seals the deal is the 1 year device and case warranty that includes coverage for water damage. 1 Year is included with the $80 purchase price and consumers can extend the warranty.
For delivering waterproof protection and a device warranty in one sleek package we gave the Incipio Atlas Waterproof iPhone 5 case the Best iPhone Case of CES 2013 award.
Adonit New Jot Touch Bluetooth Stylus – Best iPad Accessory
The Adonit Jot Touch with Bluetooth 4.0 is a pressure sensitive stylus that connects to the iPad to deliver a better note taking experience than the hundreds of other capacitive iPad styli.
The Jot Touch with Bluetooth 4.0 pairs with special apps so users can take notes without accidentally writing with their finger, and delivers real palm rejection for taking notes on the iPad. Users can choose from 30+ iPad apps that work with the Jot Touch including Photoshop Touch, ArtRage, Note Taker HD and more.
We gave the Best iPad Accessory of CES 2013 to the Jot Touch with Bluetooth 4.0 because it delivers a notably better note taking and drawing experience on the iPad and iPad mini.
Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Date: What Not to Expect
With a Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release date all but confirmed for early November, we want to take a look at what we do not expect from the Nexus 10, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop release date from Google.
Google’s Android L update was first announced as Android 4.4 KitKat’s successor back in June at Google I/O. At the event, Google did not confirm an Android L release date or name though it did outline many of its features and release a pre-release version to Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5 users. In the weeks after that early release, we’ve seen features teased and release dates rumored and earlier this week, Google finally spilled the beans on Android L.
Google’s Android L update, as expected, is called Android 5.0 Lollipop. The update will be accompanied by two new Nexus devices including a Nexus 9 from HTC and a Nexus 6 from Motorola. Both devices will help usher in a new era for Google and its Android operating system. Problem is, Google still hasn’t confirmed a specific Android 5.0 Lollipop release date.
The company confirmed several Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for arrival including updates for the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10. Earlier this month, we learned that the Android 5.0 deployment could start in early November for Nexus users. Google still hasn’t confirmed the timing outright and may not.
With that in mind, we want to help paint a release picture for Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10 users. This will outline what we know so far about the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Nexus devices and delve into our own expectations. These expectations are based on Google’s history and our own gut feelings about Google’s upcoming release.
Here are 10 things you should not expect from Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 release for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10.
Nexus Lollipop Release Outside November
At this point, do not expect any Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release dates to fall outside the month of November. Google’s official line is “coming weeks” but we fully expect the company to deliver the Android 5.0 Lollipop update next month around the time it delivers the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 to consumers around the world.
Android Police recently released a document that not only points to an Android 5.0 release in early November but also points to specific release dates for two Nexus devices. The site is very reliable and the information, while not official, should be treated as credible. The document suggests that the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 Wi-Fi only Android 5.0 updates will arrive on November 3rd. This is the same day that Google plans to release the Nexus 9 on shelves.
The document suggests that the Nexus 5, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 LTE will all get their updates after the initial Android 5.0 push. No specific dates are mentioned but we simply cannot see them getting released in December. That’s too close to the holidays. Keep in mind, the Nexus 5 is still on shelves as a budget Nexus smartphone option and Google’s not going to want to head into Black Friday with the Nexus 5 missing a key component like Android 5.0.
Look for all of these updates to start pushing in November not December. Similar to what Google did with last year’s Android 4.4 KitKat update that emerged in mid-November. There should not be a wide gap between all of its Android 5.0 release dates. We don’t expect anything other than a three week release window for this upgrade.
Predictable Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Time
While Apple releases its iOS updates in an around 10AM PST, Google’s Android update release times are unpredictable. That is to say, it doesn’t stick to a schedule. In the past, we’ve seen updates released in the morning and we’ve seen Android updates for Nexus devices released in the late in the afternoon following an announcement.
This is an element of the release that Google probably won’t confirm ahead of time which means that users are simply going to have to sit by the device, waiting for the upgrade to pop up. This applies to post-release as well.
Google’s staggered OTA roll outs typically arrive at random, unpredictable times. We’ve seen Nexus updates pop up late at night, we’ve seen them pop up early in the morning. It’s a random process and one that you shouldn’t lose sleep over.
Widespread Installation Problems
Unlike Apple, we typically don’t see major day one installation errors for Nexus Android updates. This is probably a product of Google’s staggered roll outs as opposed to Apple’s immediate push for all compatible devices. Apple’s servers typically crumble under the load of iPhone and iPad users trying to install. Google’s servers typically hold up well because it uses an OTA approach.
We might see some updates get stuck or fail but we should see a majority of updates go off without a hitch. Google’s servers are typically very strong not just on release day but during the entire Android update roll out. Don’t expect to encounter much difficulty here. You should be able to install it right off the bat without any headaches.
Android 5.0 Lollipop Leaks
Do not expect the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to leak for Nexus devices in the build up to the official release. Android updates have a habit of arriving ahead of their release date, often in the form of test builds, but Google and its partners have managed to clamp down on leaks over the years. And with just a few short days to go before a release, we’re not expecting anyone to come up with a surprise Android 5.0 Lollipop leak for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, or the Nexus 5.
You should expect to have to wait until Google issues the update to the public. Sure, there will be ways around the OTA upgrade but Google’s official manual update option should be the only way to get your hands on Android 5.0 Lollipop before it’s pushed from Google’s servers.
Every App to Match New Look
Finally, do not expect every single Android application to match Google’s new Material Design that’s coming with Android 5.0 Lollipop. We should see some of the bigger applications provide updates that mirror the look and feel of Google’s new Android release but there will be many apps that simply miss the initial boat.
It’s similar to what we’ve seen with Apple’s iOS 7 (a major design overhaul) and iOS 8. Developers took weeks to release apps that mimicked the look of iOS 7’s new design and developers are still pushing out updates to match the look and feel of the iOS 8 upgrade and Apple’s new big screen iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
For more information about Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 Lollipop update, have a look at what we expect from it. This will outline many more key Android 5.0 Lollipop details for Nexus devices.
HP U160 Mobile Monitor Makes Dual Screen Mobile Computing Affordable
HP announced a new mobile monitor at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. A 15.6″ monitor that connects to a user’s laptop over USB, the U160 is only 1.02″ thin, impressive for a mobile monitor. It brings a new option for those looking to get some serious work done while mobile.
For a lot of business users, traveling with a laptop is great for portability. But many are used to their desktops, where they may have a multiple display setup for their many applications. The HP U160 offers a solution to those users: a portable monitor that can easily be stowed in any business travel bag thanks to its thin profile and low weight.
The HP portable monitor comes with a stand similar to some iPad cases. Like a folio it can fold up to allow the screen to stand, and has protection for the screen built right into the design. WIth the stand built onto the back of the monitor it both increases the utility of the device and also decreases bulk of having an exterior stand to attach.
While this new portable monitor is great for some users, it does not have the amount of features that other portable monitors do, like wireless connectivity and touchscreen capability. Competitor Lenovo ThinkVision LT1423p is a mobile display that has a lot more to offer consumers with a wireless model, battery life of up to 10 hours with the wireless display and most importantly: touch capability. While the wireless model may or may not interest users, the touchscreen option makes the Lenovo a great option compared to the HP model. Especially for those who have Windows 8 on their laptop but lack a touchscreen.
Comparisons aside, the slim and portable HP U160 Monitor will be available towards the end of the month for $139.
Tablets at CES 2013 Roundup
A lot of new tablets were introduced at this year’s CES. While there a lot of tablets to choose from already, many of the tablets we saw at CES were trying to compete with more popular tablets, such as the iPad and the Nexus 7.
While tablets provide different functions, the user should approach purchasing one based on what they intend on using their tablet for. For example the 11″ Yoga IdeaPad would be great for getting work done and also portability, but it doesn’t compare to the gaming power of the Razer Edge. Consumers should keep this concept in mind when looking to purchase a new tablet.
Listed below are some of the best tablets we saw at CES 2013.
Lenovo 11″ Yoga IdeaPad
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S is basically a smaller version of the Yoga 13. It has the same design and features but it works better as a tablet with the smaller 11.6″ screen size. The 11S has four different positions it can operate in. The tablet supports multi-touch; apps will recognize more than one finger being used at the same time on the display. The IdeaPad Yoga 11S will retail for $799 in June of 2013.
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is a ultra-book that also has features of a convertible tablet. The Helix is aimed at business users with it’s removable 1080p display on an 11.6″ screen. It also it boasts up to 10 hours of battery life which is great for working off the grid. Lenovo is planning on shipping out the base models around late February at the starting price of $1,499.
Vizio 10″ Tablet
Images from: The Verge
This new 10″ Vizio tablet is a device that is powered by the new Tegra 4 chip from Nvidia, which is great for battery life and gaming. This 10″ tablet is also very light, which makes using the device over a long period of time more comfortable. It is unknown when the tablet will be offered for sale and at what price point.
Vizio 7″ Tablet
Images from: The Verge
The 7″ tablet that Vizio has announced will try to compete with other 7″ tablet variants such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. This device has a Tegra 3 processor and is the same form factor as a Kindle e-reader. While pricing is still up in the air the device should be available in the first half of the year.
Vizio Windows 8 tablet
Another tablet that Vizio announced is an 11.6″ tablet that runs Windows 8. This tablet PC is now the smallest one in the Vizio lineup and it features fairly typical specifications for a Windows 8 tablet. Prices for the device are uncertain, as well as when the device will become available for purchase.
Acer Iconia B1-A71
Acer is another company that came out with a new tablet at CES 2013: the Iconia B1-A71. The Iconia has a 7″ screen and is almost comparable to a Nexus 7, but it doesn’t quite match up. The price of the device will be less than $150 but there is not a release date for the tablet yet.
Images from: The Verge
The AMD Temash is a new tablet that was announced by AMD that looks like it will be a solid competitor. This tablet runs on Windows 8 and is especially nice for gaming, with a 1080p display. The Temash offers up to 10 hours of battery life.
OLPC 7″ Android XO
The OLPC XO tablet is a 7″ Android tablet that definitely has some unique features. One of these is a handcrank, which allows the user to charge up the battery manually. They claim that for every minute of cranking ten minutes of battery power is created. There are not any specifics on the price or release date currently.
Panasonic 4K Tablet Prototype
The Panasonic 4K Tablet prototype is a tablet that stands out against the rest mostly due to the insanely high screen resolution. In addition to an amazing display the 4K prototype features a front facing camera, micro-USB, micro-SD card slot, and runs Windows 8. Since it is a prototype the price and release date are still up in the air.
Asus Transformer P1801
Images from: Pocket-lint
The Asus Transformer P1801 is an all-in-one desktop that runs both Android and Windows 8. The Transformer features an 18.5″ multi-touch display, and also has a battery so that it can be used as a tablet. One really cool feature of the Transformer is that it allows users to use both Windows 8 and Android at the same time when it is attached to an external monitor.
Razer Edge Gaming Tablet
The Razer Edge is a Gaming Tablet that is specifically built for playing PC games. Many tablets are used for gaming but the Razer tablet is capable of playing high end PC games with moderate specifications. The low end Razer Edge has a Core i5, 4GB of Ram and a 64GB SSD, this model is available for $999.99. The Gotta Be Mobile team actually gave the Razer Edge an award for the Best Gaming device at CES 2013.
Riding a Giant Mechanical Spider at CES 2013
A giant mechanical spider made an appearance at CES 2013 and the guys who built it were kind enough to let us take it for a test drive. The Mondo Spider is part work of art, part engineering testbed and all kinds of awesome.
The Mondo Spider was built by a team of Vancouver-based artists and engineers back in 2006. In 2010 the team ripped out its engine and replaced it with an electric motor, allowing it to charge from solar power and claim the title of “first zero-emission walking vehicle.”
The Mondo Spider measures 8ft wide and weighs in at 1600lb. There’s a single seat in the middle of the spider for a driver, who controls the Mondo Spider with a pair of throttle sticks, each of which controls four legs. Pushing forward or backwards on both sticks at the same time drives the spider in the expected direction. Moving one stick back and the other forward spins the spider in place. The Mondo Spider can travel at a fast walking pace, though it seems like it goes much faster than that, especially if you’re in its path. The clanking sounds and its size can be intimidating.
After one of the Mondo Spider’s creators explained that it drives just like a tank, jumping in the cockpit and walking it around a courtyard was incredibly easy.
So what exactly was this giant spider doing at CES 2013? The Mondo Spider was at the Lenovo booth as an example of what “Do-ers” can make with the company’s PCs. The eatART team used AutoCAD to design and build the Mondo Spider and the Titanoboa, a 50ft. mechanical snake that can be controlled with an Android app. Neither of these creations are going to be sold to consumers anytime soon, but it was refreshing to see them amidst the sea of big screen TVs and iPhone accessories.
We’re not sure if there’s a real use for the Mondo Spider out in the real world, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want one. It’d be a heck of a lot more fun to run to the grocery store in the Mondo Spider than in the family hauler.
Samsung ATIV Tab: No One Knows What Windows RT in the U.S.
Samsung made some news at the Consumer Electronics Show by announcing it won’t be releasing one of its previously announced products, at least in the U.S. market. According to the South Korean tech giant, the Windows RT-powered ATIV Tab won’t be headed to the U.S. market because it’s confusing and the average consumer doesn’t understand what the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 is.
In an interview with CNET, Samsung senior VP of the U.S. PC market Mike Abary says that it was unclear what the differentiation would be and the company would have to make cost-cutting measures it was unwilling to make to keep costs down:
There wasn’t really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for relative to Windows 8, that was being done in an effective manner to the consumer. When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was. And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment. When we added those two things up, the investments necessary to educate the consumer on the difference between RT and Windows 8, plus the modest feedback that we got regarding how successful could this be at retail from our retail partners, we decided maybe we ought to wait.
Microsoft had announced Windows RT as a Windows 8 variant with more limited capabilities that can run on ARM Holdings’ low-powered processor, marking a big jump away from Intel and the x86 platform. While Windows 8 will run on Intel’s and AMD’s processors and can run legacy apps designed for Windows 7 or earlier, the robust performance comes at the expense of battery life and comes with increased cost. In contrast, Windows RT runs the new HTML 5 Metro apps and doesn’t support any legacy programs and has a cheaper starting price.
In addition to the now canned ATIV Tab, Samsung’s Windows 8 tablets are now already on sale in the U.S. Those models include the ATIV Smart PC and the ATIV Smart PC Pro, the former uses an Atom processor while the latter uses an Intel Core architecture for more powerful performance.
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