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Top Android and Linux devices from CES

It’s January 14th, and yet another CES has passed by. The week of excitement, thrills, surprises and grand announcements has left us with quite a mouthful to sift through. It is a daunting task for mere mortals like us, but every once in a while, we here at Muktware like to attempt the unthinkable, just for the benefit of our readers. To simplify this task, I’m going to separate the devices into categories, and then highlight the top devices of each category. The task I am about to embark upon may kill me due to its severe nature, but if I die, at least we’ll all know that I died while doing what I loved. Let’s being; shall we?

A Game of Phones
Android is practically synonymous with phones. Once people hear the 7 letter word, they immediately think of phones, and to a lesser extent, tablets. Some major OEMs released phones at CES and one of them was a giant by the name of Sony. Sony released the Z1 compact, a smaller version of the Z1 as the name suggests, and one that is sure to appeal to those who desire a smaller Android phone. Sony was careful not to call it a ‘mini’ because it is not a watered down version of its flagship; its actually just a smaller one, but with, believe it or not, specs that would make current flagship phones blush. It features a 4.3″ screen, a Snapdragon 800 processor, a 20 megapixel camera and a 720p screen that boasts a pixel density of 340 ppi. We have long clamoured for smaller phones that didn’t compromise performance, and ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to announce that this is such a device. Now, if only Sony would do something about that huge bottom bezel, I might fall head over heels in love with this phone, but it might not be a deal breaker for you. Another announcement from Sony was the Z1S which will be heading to T-mobile. It features the same specs of the  Z1 compact, but with a 5″ 1080p screen instead.

Asus also made waves with their announcement of the ZenFone line which features 4, 5 and 6″ phones. This array of sizes sees it cover just about the full spectrum and secures a wide catchment area of prospective buyers. The phones aren’t high end by any means, but they’re enough to offer functionality and a good looking device to any prospective owner. There are no 1080p screens, and no device has 2GB of memory, but their price points are $99, $149 and $199 respectively. In the age of the Moto G, Asus’ line up has a fight on their hands, and I do hope that they did some extensive training at the gym in preparation for such.

Although just a prototype, ZTE took the time to assemble a modular cellphone of their own. Motorola recently announced their project Ara and many were excited about this, but few expected to see an offering from ZTE. The Eco-Mobius by ZTE allows users to replace the camera, battery, display, and “core” modules. The core comprises of RAM, the processor, storage and the GPU. The Eco-Mobius might never be mass produced, but it sure felt good to see what such a device would look like.


Watches Made a Timely Appearance
Two main watches that debuted at CES running full versions of Android were the Omate Truesmart and the Neptune Pine. The Truesmart runs on Android 4.2 and features a 1.54″ screen. The TrueSmart accommodates a micro SD Card slot and has a 5mp camera mounted to its side. Its 600 mAH battery guarantees approximately 100 hours of standby time and it retails for $249 and $299 for the 4GB or 8GB models respectively. The Neptune Pine, on the other hand, features a sim card slot which allows it to essentially be a phone that can be worn on the wrist. It possesses an enormous 2.4″ screen, and two cameras, and as a result, it seems quite awkward on the wrist, but may find its niche crowd. I like big watches, but I’m not sure that I like them that big.

Some popular watches that do not necessarily run on any Linux based OS, but can be connected to Android devices are the Pebble Steel and the Qualcomm Toq. These two devices, along with those previously mentioned, will be the feature watches of 2014, barring some unexpected turn of events by another major player.

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Myril Kennedy

I am a fan of technology and Android in particular. It has helped to turn the mobile industry on its head, and its open source nature has opened many doors that were previously closed. I am also a self confessed Google fanboy, so it may be reflected in my views from time to time.

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