Humans are a fickle species: Easily distracted by anything shiny and new, the majority of us are always on the lookout for the next big thing, especially where technology is concerned. Fortunately, as we saw at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, there's a whole universe of new-fangled gadgety goodness being cooked up by the high-tech powers that be--especially in the area of smartphones. There's a lot of anticipation surrounding a number of the handsets due for release this year, and with good reason: As more and more companies vie for a cut of the coin consumers are dumping into the smartphone market, hardware manufacturers are being forced to up their game, bringing innovative products to market in the hope of squashing their competition like a bug. We've assembled 10 of the most anticipated handsets due to drop in 2012, and as you'll see, they're all lust-worthy.
As we’ve already told you, Intel’s finally – after what seems like ages – making the leap into smartphones and tablets with their Atom Z2460 processors. (Not familiar with Atom Z2460? The line previously went by the code-name “Medfield.”) Thanks to deals with Motorola and Lenovo, we may be bombarded with Atom-powered smartphones later in the year, but to hear ARM CEO Warren East tell it, we’ll be getting bombarded with, well, smartphones with crappy mobile processors.
AMD didn’t stay silent while Intel and Qualcomm were talking up their new chips and business opportunities this week. In fact, AMD made waves of its own at CES with an impressive tech demo that showed off the capabilities of its next-gen Trinity APU chips, which are scheduled to launch later this year. The company also outlined some of its plans for the ultrathin notebook market.
They say the grass is always greener on the other side, and a pair of announcements from CES seem to give that old cliché some credence. Qualcomm, a major player in the mobile chip market, wants to break into PCs by stocking thin-and-light Ultrabook-style notebooks with its Snapdragon processor, while Intel’s CEO spent part of his keynote address boasting than the company has inked deals with Lenovo and Motorola to power future generations of smartphones with Atom chips.
Michael Dell’s never met a sound bite hit didn’t want to make, yet when it comes to Ultrabooks, his company’s been playing it cool and quiet, content to wait on the sidelines and size up the competition – until yesterday. Dell finally jumped on the Ultrabook bandwagon late last night with the Dell XPS 13, an ultraportable with – surprise, surprise! – a thin and lightweight build, a quick-waking SSD drive and a long-lasting 8 hour battery. Yeah, the Ultrabook schpiel is yawn-inducing at this point, we know, but Dell’s managed to shove some decent features into the XPS 13.
Are Ultrabooks tablet killers? We pose that very question on the cover of this month’s print issue. The debate rages on, but Lenovo is looking to skirt the issue with a newly unveiled offering. Rather than going the Eee Pad Transformer/Slider route and sticking a keyboard on a tablet, Lenovo instead got all bendy and twisty with the IdeaPad YOGA, a touchscreen Ultrabook with a 360 degree hinge on its lid. That little design tweak lets you use the YOGA as a tablet or a notebook. Heck, you can even give it a V-shape, stand it on its end and treat it like an all-in-one.
You know a technology’s starting to make it big when kinder, gentler, easier to install versions of it begin hitting the streets. Looks like we’re getting there with SSDs; just last week, Crucial said it planned on releasing a stand-alone SSD cache solution to give PCs a speed boost, and today, Corsair followed suit, announcing an SSD/software tandem that can perk up your PC with a minimum of muss and fuss.
When you build a high-end rig, you want it to look good inside and out – what good is a case window if the cables inside are a cluttered mess? Kingston’s appealing to the inner PC perfectionist in all of use with its new line of HyperX Red Limited Edition Memory. Kingston went ahead and redesigned the HyperX LoVo low-voltage modules while they were busy tinkering, too.
It’s an audiotastic kind of day at CES; if the Scosche headsets we mentioned earlier don’t quite tickle your fancy, Sennheiser’s also let loose some information about a pair of new, high-performance headsets coming in March. Like most Sennheiser headsets, the new ones look like they’ll definitely satisfy audiophiles – but that high-end audio comes with a high-end price tag.
Intel may have trademarked the name “ultrabook” — its neologism for Wintel-based ultra-thin and -light laptops, but there is someone whose approval matters even more than that of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We are talking about you, the consumer, of course. For its part, the chip maker is doing almost everything to make 2012 the year of the ultrabook.