At CES 2013, we got to take a look at Samsung’s first Windows Phone 8 smartphone for the U.S. market in the form of the ATIV Odyssey, a device that’s now promised for Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network in the coming weeks. The ATIV Odyssey, unlike the international GSM ATIV smartphone, won’t be a high-end device and is instead positioned for the entry level market. The device is a solid contender and features the familiar Metro UI with the Windows Phone Live Tiles user interface along with some custom Samsung apps to make it a good experience.
In the video below, Samsung’s Ryan Biden gives us an overview of what we can expect of the Windows Phone 8 device once it launches on U.S. store shelves.
Some of the custom apps include Samsung Now, an app that aggregates weather, stocks, and local news content, Mini Diary, which is program to help you keep track of your day and appears to be similar in scope to the Diary app on Samsung’s Android devices but with the panoramic UI of Windows Phone’s app screens, as well as a Photo Editor.
In terms of specs, the ATIV Odyssey won’t be positioned in the same class as the Windows Phone 8X by HTC on Verizon’s network. It will have a smaller 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a lower resolution of WVGA. The screen appears bright and vivid, however, and works fine for normal use.
For more CES 2013 coverage, please visit the GottaBeMobile CES 2013 page.
The camera is a lower 5-megapixel camera on the rear with an LED flash and the battery cover looks to have a similar treatment as newer Android Samsung devices, like the rear metallic blue covers on the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2.
Though the ATIV Odyssey is limited with only 8 GB of built-in storage, the device does accommodate a micro SD card slot for expandable storage and can take up to 64 GB of additional storage.
The device will be a global phone as well so it should work on GSM networks when users travel internationally. In the U.S., it would operate on Verizon’s 3G CDMA/EVDO network as well as the carrier’s 4G LTE network.
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.
This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.