Android at CES 2012: The Phones

The Consumer Electronics Show has just finished, ending a week of technology demonstrations. This year did bring fewer headlining Android announcements, with Windows Phone 7 devices, Ultrabooks and TVs sharing the spotlight, but there’s still some significant news which we’ll look at over a few posts.

Let’s start off with the new Android phones…

Sony Xperia S

My personal favourite Android phone announcement at CES was the Sony Xperia S (one of the few new smartphones announced at the show) mainly due to its sleek design. The Xperia S looks very nice, and comes in either black or white with a 12-megapixel camera and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor.

The Xperia S is also PlayStation certified, meaning you can download extra gaming titles to your phone. The screen is a 4.3″ LED backlit display enhanced by Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA® Engine.

Unfortunately, the phone won’t ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, but an update from Gingerbread will be released in the second quarter of 2012.

Sony Xperia S

The Sony Xperia S

Motorola Droid 4

Motorola announced a couple of devices at CES this week, one of them being the Motorola Droid 4. The Droid 4 is a QWERTY slider phone with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. It also boasts a 4-inch qHD screen, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, and 16GB of internal storage.

Some people do like keyboard sliders on their phone (I wouldn’t mind one, if it didn’t compromise the overall form factor of my phone), but it does seem like this one takes too much many specifications as compromise, even though it’s still an impressive device.

Motorla Droid 4 at CES

The Motorola Droid 4 - Image courtesy of The Verge

Samsung Galaxy Note

If you live outside of the United States, you’re probably already familiar with Samsung’s monstrous Galaxy Note, a phone with a 5.3″ screen that’s been available for some time. However, Samsung announced its United States availability at CES with 4G networking on the AT&T network.

The Galaxy Note’s 5.3″ screen (practically tablet-sized!) is an HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1280 x 800px. The Galaxy Note is marketed as an artist’s phone so it comes equipped with a nice 8-megapixel rear camera (plus a 2-megapixel one on the front).

The device will ship with Gingerbread when it hits AT&T in the United States. For anyone outside America, it might already be available in your territory (UK visitors can grab it for £600 PAYG, or from around £40 on contract).

Samsung Galaxy Note

The Samsung Galaxy Note

Droid Razr Maxx

The Droid Razr Maxx is the successor to the Droid Razr, this time boasting 4G LTE networking, a 4.3″ Super AMOLED Advanced display and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. With those specs, the Razr Maxx is a strong smartphone anyway (particularly as it, too, will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich), but where it really comes into its own class is battery life.

The Droid Razr Maxx promises a 3300 mAh battery that will last 21 hours (talk time). That’s not a typo, the phone claims to last nearly all day on a single charge.

Think of the Droid Razr Maxx like the iPhone 4S; it will be sold on contract for $299 while the original Droid Razr will be sold for $199. Motorola’s website did state a January 26th launch, although that message has been changed to simply say “available soon”, so we can’t be entirely sure.

Droid Razr Maxx

Droid Razr Maxx

LG Spectrum

While LG got a lot of attention for their TVs at CES (winning the Best in Show award for their 55″ OLED device), they also announced the LG Spectrum, a 1.5GHz dual-core smartphone equipped with an 8-megapixel camera and a 4.5″ HD IPS 16:9 display – said to have more pixels per inch than the iPhone. The device will, again, ship with Gingerbread to be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich in the future.

The LG Spectrum will be available on Verizon on January 19th for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

LG Spectrum

The LG Spectrum - Image courtesy of The Verge

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G

T-Mobile announced the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G at CES, a device which will support T-Mobile USA’s 42Mbps HSPA+ network in some regions. Details are scarce but we do know that it will support the aforementioned HSPA+ networking and have a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, and should ship “later this year”.

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G

The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G

Kyocera Speaker-Less Smartphone

Kyocera showed off a prototype smartphone at CES: one without speakers. Instead of using a a speaker, Kyocera’s phone will actually vibrate when put against your ear so you can hear sounds. (One for Metal Gear Solid fans, then. – Ed)

This probably won’t be a mainstream device but it’s still a very interesting concept. The Verge notes that this type of technology will be great for hearing in noisy enviroments and to reduce battery consumption. There aren’t any public plans to ship inside the United States, but it should hit the Japanese market this year.

Kyocera Speakerless

The Kyocera device - Image courtesy of The Verge


While Android definitely had a smaller showing at CES this year, there were still some superb devices showcased by manufacturers. Of course, these weren’t the only Android devices on show so we’ll be covering the other categories – including tablets – in future roundups.