CES 2011 has wound down, and if you're an Android fan you're likely either in a sort of heaven that only gadget geeks can enter, or suffering a shaky overload from all the news. Either way is good. It seemed like you couldn't shake a stick anywhere in Sin City without hitting something Android related, and kudos to our guys on the floor in Vegas -- while it was loads of fun it was a lot of work as well. So nurse your sore feet and enjoy a cold beverage while you relax boys, because all this stuff will soon be coming to market and we get to be busy all over again!
All of us here, even the
smart unlucky ones who stayed home to keep the Android Central machine running have a whole mess of stuff to ponder, so we locked ourselves in seclusion and deliberated to decide what our "Best of CES 2011" list would look like. OK, we really did it via email while watching football, eating chips, and drinking fizzy drinks -- but it's all good. Hit the break to see our list, and be sure to cast your own vote in the Android Central forums!
Best new smartphone tech of CES 2011
Smartphones come and go, so far as models are concerned. We'll see dozens released in 2011. But there's little as important as what's under the hood. And the most important new feature we're likely to see for the next year (or two) is Nvidia's Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip (SOC). More power while being less power hungry -- it very quickly established itself as the go-to processor for devices unveiled at CES. Nvidia press release
Best Android Smartphone of CES 2011
We could have just as well crowned this the best phone ever imagined or made. Dual-core Tegra 2, One GB of RAM, desktop mode, laptop docks -- you name it, it's there. It's big, bad and coming soon to AT&T of all places, which surprised us just as much as it did you.
While some of the features are still of an unknown quality, we know what an Android phone with a blazing fast CPU and a ton of free RAM acts like, and it's going to be great to use. AT&T has long suffered in the Android department, offering mostly entry level phones and crippling them by disabling side loading. We don't know if they plan on the same practice with the Atrix 4G, but if so, we have you covered with the Sideload Wonder Machine, so have no fear.
This marks a new era for smartphones, Android, and AT&T. Motorola has the means to pull it off, and we all expect greatness from this one. Cory had a chance to get a little time with one at CES, have a look!
Best Android Tablet of CES 2011
10.1-inches of sweet, sweet Honeycomb, awesome specs, and 4G connectivity (eventually). Coming to a Verizon Wireless location sometime soon (tomorrow please), we expect a huge push from Big Red to get this one in as many hands as possible. More users always means more support, so the Xoom is an investment that will stay relevant for the life of the product.
Tablets are designed for consumption. And the Xoom's 1280x800 screen at a 16:10 aspect ratio makes it a great choice for movies and games -- and powering them with a dual core 1 GHz CPU should make them smooth as butter. I almost never say things like this, but this one just might be the iPad
killer competitor so many Android fans have been predicting.
Don't take my word for it -- check out the hands-on time Phil had with one at CES. It's pure awesomesauce.
Best Android Accessory of CES 2011
HSTi's Wireless Media Stick
All of us here just love little gadgety things, and we agree that the HSTi Wireless Media Stick is a winner. Using an application from the Android Market (it's cross-platform as well -- win), you plug it into a television or set-top box, your PC, or other device that can read media from a USB port and stream media from your Android device. Gone are the days of cables, removing microSD cards, or FTP applications -- 2011 has arrived and serves your media in style.
Once again, Cory got to take a look at one, check it out and imagine the possibilities.
We have to give honorable mention here to the Atrix Laptop dock as a close second place finisher here. It's pretty awesome in it's own right -- have a look and see what we mean.
Best Android Software of CES 2011
Even without what's been rumored and whispered from NVIDIA (more on that in a moment) the TegraZone has our attention. It's basically an app from NVIDIA that points you to applications that take full advantage of the Tegra 2 chipset found in so many of the devices announced at CES 2011.
I don't care who you are, if and when you get an Android device with the Tegra 2 inside, you'll play some games, or use the HD video out, or surf the web with the specially optimized version of Adobe Flash 10 for the Tegra. The TegraZone makes that much easier, linking you right to the applications you need to do it all. And we've heard some whispering that NVIDIA will be offering up some Tegra 2 only games, specially optimized and including some extras not available for devices without the monsteriffic GPU found in the Tegra chip. These will likely break the 50 MB limit the Android Market has, so the TegraZone will be the only legitimate way to get them.
This is one piece of manufacturer software that none of us can call bloatware. Learn some more here, where Kyle breaks it down.
You've seen our picks, and surely many of you have your own opinion. Choice is what makes the Android world go 'round after all. We're going to build an Android Central forum member's list of the best of CES 2011, and we need your votes to do it! Hit the forums and let us know what you think!