Keeping CES in perspective

Android Central @ CES

This tends to happen every year. We go to Las Vegas, cover the crap out of CES ... and then come the e-mails. "HTC didn't show anything at all!" "I wanted a new Samsung phone!" "Where the hell was Sprint?!?!" "CES was such a letdown, the rest of the year is gonna suck!"

More phones (and maybe even some good tablets) are coming, folks. Just like last year. Just like the year before. We tend to have short attention spans, and seeming shorter memories. Your favorite carrier and manufacturer should have plenty up its sleeves in the coming months. 

Let's take a look ...


Frankly, we have no idea when Android's biggest OEM is going to launch its 2013 line. It really can do so whenever -- and wherever it wants -- and there's no real precedent for doing so. All three "Galaxy S" smartphones have been announced at a different event (I was at all three of them. Consider:

  • Original Galaxy S: CTIA in Orlando in March 2010.
  • Galaxy S2: Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2011.
  • Galaxy S3: Standalone event in London in May 2012.

The prevailing thought is that Samsung will do its own event again this year, but that's not a given. It's announced both iterations at the Galaxy Note at the IFA conference in Berlin in the fall, then had separate launch events, with a huge one in New York in late 2012.


This one's pretty simple. HTC has made Mobile World Congress its home for the past several years, launching the Desire and Legend in 2010, the Flyer tablet (along with the ill-fated by Facebook-friendly ChaCha and Salsa) in 2011, and the new HTC One line in 2012. 

It's also worth mentioning that Sprint has a habit of get its own version of HTC flagships a few months after MWC. We'll see if that trend continues this year.

But if HTC doesn't come big in Barcelona next month, I'll use the ChaCha for a full week. Yes, I have one. And, yes, we'll be in Barcelona to bring it all to you.


Frankly, we don't know what the heck Moto's up to these days. There's talk of that "Google X" phone, but I've got a feeling it was a bit inflated at the time. You can rest assured Motorola's working on something, but we're in uncharted territory here. Google purchased Motorola in 2012 but continues to run it as a separate company, albeit one under new leadership. Motorola's had a big presence at CES the past couple years, but this week it was a no-show at CES.


Figure Sony will have a few more releases this year, but it brought out the big guns in Vegas with the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL. The next question, for those of us in the states, is when and where we'll see it. Sony's never had much traction here -- and when we do see releases they tend to be a bit watered down, too little, too late. 

That said, the Xperia Z and ZL are pretty impressive. Be sure to check out these stories from CES:

  • Xperia Z hands-on
  • Xperia ZL hands-on
  • Xperia Z camera preview


It'll be interesting to see what we get from LG in the next month or so. Normally we get a pretty big event at Mobile World Congress, but then again we had a pretty big event in Seoul back in September for the launch of the Optimus G. There had been rumors of some sort of successor at CES, which, while possible, was never all that likely, though LG did a nice job of pumping things up.

We'd expect to see something at MWC -- maybe a spec'd up Optimus G, but this one's still pretty wide open.

U.S. carriers

The other thing to remember is while these worldwide launches are all well and good, there's almost never a blanket launch date for a device. Regions tend to get their own, and here in the states we have to wait for carriers to give the word. Sometimes they'll do it simultaneously with a major event, but more often they don't, the better to get their own 15 minutes of fame. That goes for CES as well as (and maybe especially for) Mobile World Congress. 

So what's next?

We've got plenty of scheduled events in 2013. On the books thus far:

  • Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the last week of February.
  • Google I/O in San Francisco May 15-17.
  • CTIA in Las Vegas May 21-23.
  • CTIA MobileCON in San Jose the third week of October.

And that's just the events that are scheduled already. There will be more than enough pop-up events surrounding individual launches to keep us busy -- and you informed -- throughout the rest of the year.

So if you don't see what you're looking for just yet, don't worry about it too much. We've got no doubt that plenty of excitement is ahead in 2013.

  • Hoping HTC has a separate event away from MWC, so Phil has to use that ChaCha.
  • +9000 Haha I would love to see that lol
  • CES is more of an "Everything" show, where MWC is Mobile electronics. Yes, 4K TV's and Android powered Ovens are cool, but not something the typical person (especially around here) would consider exciting. i can't wait for MWC and for some reason, i can't wait for the GS4 to be announced. though i would never get anything other than a nexus again, but i think i want the S4, and i haven't even seen it yet.
  • Possible S4 specs...5" screen, Gorilla Glass 3, bent edge like the CES proto, 2.3Ghz Octacore, 4GB ram, 3000mAh super slim LiPo battery, 64gb internal, micro SD expandable. This would also be great in a Samsung made Nexus.
  • That would be crazy. I think all of those are feasible except maybe the bent edge. I'm wondering how far along that technology is. I hope you're right.
  • The phone model at CES was a functional prototype from the videos I've seen. Looking at that and how long Samsung has been working on OLED technology I would say within the year we will see this feature. It also looked like they had Touchwiz worked out for it as well. Keep your fingers crossed for an explosion of cool gadgets this year. On a side note I am lusting over transparent OLED tech. Tony Starks phone and Avatar computer monitors aren't too far off.
  • CES was awesome as always. I now know the only thing replacing my Note 2 is a bent OLED phone from Samsung. Or that foldable tablet phone thing of awesomeness.
  • +9000 I'm stuck at the moment: I want to buy a Note 2, but I'm not sure if I should just wait for the GS4. I played around with the Note 2 for a few minutes and instantly fell in love with it. However, the thought of purchasing it months before the GS4 makes me want to wait. My Galaxy Nexus is driving me crazy, though.
  • The Note 2 is awesome. However, I don't use the stylus nearly as much as I thought I would but I love the screen.
  • I use the hell out of my stylus. Fingerprint-free screen paired with swype makes for loads of phone goodness. Also, I never fat-finger links when browsing the internet.
  • GREAT POST! thank you for breaking it down.
  • Phil, Las Vegas CTIA dates should be 21-23 May. Dude you was working and having too much fun in Vegas. Go home and get some rest Doctor's order! :-). I know how busy it was at CES because I too was there...Take care.
  • I am so jealous lol. I hope you enjoyed it!!1 It seems like such an awesome experience.
  • Seems to me the smartphone & tablet markets are maturing with only marginal tweaks coming in the near future. We'll probably see some improvements in battery life, cameras and pricing. For most mainstream consumers, the current products are way more than they will ever need. I think the Whiz-Bang days are over.
  • Just as an aside Phil, thats a great photo of the Las Vegas landscape and skyline. Try to get some rest in the Florida sunshine. :-)
  • That pic was all Alex Dobie and his trusty Galaxy Camera. :)
  • It is! I like seeing that view because TI is smack in the middle of it. I used to LOVE Treasure Island. It smelled so damn good in there, not like stale cigarettes and despair. They pumped in a freshener with the O2 that was tropical and sweet, but now it just smells like... Vegas.
  • When should the next Asus tablets be unvieled? I want my Tegra 4 transformer tablet dammit!
  • CES has always been about TV's very few phones are ever announced at CES, thats more reserved for next month Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. US carriers tend to announce more stuff around CTIA in March or April
  • I feel the market is TOO saturated with Android phones as it is.. Seems there are more than enough choices worth locking into a commit until 2015 or paying $600.00-$700.00 for right now.. Every 6 months the "Next New Thing" is going to show up.. One should just pick a telephone and be satisfied IMHO..
  • You're probably right.. about picking a phone and being satisfied with it. However, I love technology; and it's always nice to be able to try something new. But, I might pick up a Note 2 and take your advice.
  • CES is going the way of E3
  • Can't wait for the x-phone even though moto screwed me with the bionic. Here is my predictions based on nothing more than my intuition. Samsung sg4 will be even more customized than the previous generations, to look, feel and act less and less like android and more like their own os, which will replace android in a couple of years. HTC is a dying company, stay away from it. I don't feel like a repeat of the storm 2. Nokia will replace Samsung and HTC as the leading android manufacturer. Just like taizen is Samsung's knife at Google's throat, so is moto is Google's katana at Samsung's throat. I suspect a significant reshuffling of the each companies roles is in store. While Google and Samsung need each other right now I think not in the future. Samsung will desperately try to become the next apple, which includes their own os, a hybrid all in one os.
    While Google will unleash a strong push into wearable computers and augmentation of our reality through project glass. Just my take on the next few years.
  • But if HTC doesn't come big in Barcelona next month, I'll use the ChaCha for a full week. I'll keep this in mind lol.