Best rumoured smartphones and tablets for CES 2012

Features Richard Goodwin 12:50, 6 Jan 2012

We take a tour of some of the most exciting new handsets and tablets that are expected to launch at this year’s CES 2012

CES 2012 kicks off next Tuesday – that’s January 10, by the way – and, in case you didn’t know, it’s quite a big deal in the technology world.

Almost every manufacturer in the world will be there, displaying their up-coming range of products – we’re talking phones, tablets, PCs, washing machines, TVs, stereos, headphones. Everything.

But of course our focus of interest will be on mobile technology, specifically smartphones and tablets – and maybe some headphones, if you’re lucky. We’ll be reporting live from Las Vegas from Tuesday onwards, bringing you first-looks, previews and a whole lot more. But before we jet off to the desert, here is a quick over view of what we’re looking forward to seeing.

LG + Intel + Android
LG didn’t have a particularly good year in 2011, so the company has it all to prove in 2012, and one thing we’re very excited about seeing is the world’s first Intel Medfield-powered Android device from the Korean manufacturer. Not much is known about the handset that LG will unveil next week but initial benchmarks of the Intel Medfield chipset are extremely interesting.

According to VR-Zone, Intel’s 1.6GHz Medfield chipset scored ‘around 10,500 in Caffeinemark 3. For comparison, NVIDIA Tegra 2 scores around 7500, while Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 scores 8000. Samsung Exynos is the current king of the crop, scoring 8500.’

That puts Intel’s chip right at the top of the pile of mobile processors. But will it be enough to beat NVIDIA’s quad core Tegra 3 chipset, though? Only time will tell on that one, unfortunately, and we’ve still yet to see any official benchmark figures – although our money would be on NVIDIA’s set-up.

Nonetheless, the use of Intel’s new Medfield chipset inside LG’s Android devices could very well be the boost that the Korean manufacturer needs. Design, looks and overall spec will also play a big part too, but getting the chipset right for any device – especially ones on Google’s Android platform – is always of the utmost importance.

7-inch Asus Eee Pad
No other tablet, bar, of course Apple’s iPad, has commanded nearly as much consumer attention as Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer Prime – the world’s first Tegra 3-powered Android tablet.

We recently reviewed the device, which we loved by the way, and gave it a four out of five rating. Our only real bugbear with the thing was its operating system. Google’s Honeycomb just doesn’t cut the mustard in our opinion.

CES 2012 will see Asus release yet another Android-powered tablet. This one, known as the Asus Eee Pad, is a 7-inch affair with a 1280x800 pixel resolution, which we presume will be of the Super IPS+ variety. There’s no word on whether the device will launch on Android 4 – we don’t expect it to, if we’re honest – but there’s reports of 64GB of storage plus microSD-support, as well as 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, and also a 3D-enabled version.

Processing duties will be undertaken by Qualcomm’s 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, according to reports. Whether this will be the new S4 chipset remains to be seen, although we’d expect that to be the case judging by Asus’ commitment to top flight processing power.

Windows 8
Steve Ballmer – CEO of Microsoft – will be taking to the stage at CES 2012 to give the company’s last ever keynote address from the expo. According to reports, Microsoft will not be announcing any real ‘significant news’ during its keynote, which means the company will probably be rehashing 2011’s Build keynote speech.

Nonetheless, we’re looking forward to hearing about any developments relating to Windows 8, the company’s new operating system that’s designed for use on both PCs and tablets.

We also expect to hear lots of big news about the forthcoming Windows Phone Tango and Apollo updates, which will bring Windows 8-support to Windows Phone devices. Not much is known about the specifics of how Windows 8 and Microsoft’s mobile platform will link up but we’d expect to see some serious uniformity, such as Windows 8 apps working on Windows Phone devices and vice-versa.

Here’s a statement from Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's Windows Division, detailing Microsoft’s ambition of having one unified platform for PCs, tablets and smartphones:

‘We won’t have an ecosystem for PCs, and one for phones, and one for tablets -- they’ll all come together.’

This is an extremely exciting idea, and it’s one that no one is currently doing – Apple is reportedly working towards a similar goal. This could be the development that pushes Microsoft way into the lead in late 2012, early 2013 in the mobile sector.

Nokia Lumia 900
The follow up 2011’s Nokia Lumia 800, known rather imaginatively as the Nokia Lumia 900, is expected to get an airing at CES 2012. The handset, which will feature a front-facing camera, 4.3-inch display, NFC and LTE-support, will also be one of the first devices on the planet to carry Microsoft’s new iteration of Windows Phone, known as Tango.

BGR got the scoop back in November, reporting the following: ‘The handset will reportedly feature a 1.4GHz processor, a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display and an 8-megapixel camera, and it will ship with Windows Phone Tango.’

We loved the Lumia 900, as well as Windows Phone Mango, so we’re very excited about this handset. It’s good to see Nokia back on form once again. Expect a first-look of this handset as soon as we’re through the doors of CES 2012.

11.6-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab
There’s a bit of debate about whether Samsung will launch this device at CES 2012 or MWC 2012, with some reports claiming the former and others the latter. Personally we don’t mind – we’re going to both – and there’s only a month or so between the exhibitions.

The 11.6-inch Galaxy Tab, according to reports, will launch on Android 4.0 and feature a truly staggering 2560x1600 resolution display, which well and truly kicks Apple’s Retina Display out of the park. Other notable spec, according to BGR, is the device’s ultra-powerful dual-core Exynos 5250 CPU that is reportedly clocked at 2GHz.

We’ve also heard talk of Android Beam – Google’s version of Apple’s AirPlay – coming as standard, as well as a novel wireless docking mode for gaming on HD TV sets. All in all this sounds like one impressive slate – we look forward to seeing it (either at CES 2012 next week or at MWC 2012 in February).  

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