CES is Dead When It Comes to Smartphones and Mobile Technology

January 9, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

For the last couple of years, we’ve seen CES decline when it comes to Smartphones and mobile technology in general, with MWC and CTIA later on the year it’s no surprise but, this year seemed to be particularly devoid of mobile fun. It’s not necessarily been a bad show when it comes to mobile but, it’s been a big show for Sony as well as Huawei and ZTE. We’ve heard a little from Intel and both Qualcomm and Nvidia were more than happy to stage some chest-pounding when it came to the latest and greatest in mobile processing.

It’s no secret that the Consumer Electronics Show is not geared up to be the smartphone show that it has been in the past and while it’s perhaps not what us mobile-loving folk want to see, it’s good to see that companies haven’t been showing off new products at CES purely for the sake of it. CES shows in the past have been about displaying impressive concepts that would more than likely never see release. CES 2013 however has been filled with smartphones – and other Android powered pieces of fun – that will be hitting shelves near you later this year.

The Smartphones

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This year’s CES has been a little more low-key than it has been in the past when it comes to smartphones. Res assured, the days of a Palm Pre showing up are long gone, this is the show for refrigerators and ovens. With that said however, we’ve seen a handful of new handsets break cover and some of them have plans to ship very shortly. With Huawei and ZTE obviously competing with each other to see which Chinese manufacturer is better and Sony looking to show the rest of the industry that they’re a bigger force than everyone thinks they are. We’ve had some ups and downs with smartphones this year and it’s no surprise to us that some are trying something a little bit “different”. Sony were obviously the one to watch this year as we had heard so much about their upcoming phones the “Yuga” and the “Odin”, which became the Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL. This was the event that Sony displayed they can make not only good-looking devices but up-to-date devices pushing the boundaries of processing power. We all know that 2013 is going to be the year of 1080p and Sony have certainly delivered that in style, the Xperia Z is a stunning device and a smartphone that will certainly catch your eye.

Huawei and ZTE meanwhile were busy sticking to the same old game of trying to outdo each other, curiously enough for ZTE they had one phone to announce in the form of the Grand S and Huawei had only two to show off – the Ascend D2 and the massive Ascend Mate. Smartphones at CES have been about 1080p and quad-core, with some strange phones for China from Vizio and a little Intel thrown into the mix.

Overall, CES 2013 has been disappointing when it comes to phones, there’s been nothing from Samsung, LG, HTC or even Motorola but then again, we weren’t really expecting anything, either. Samsung had some Windows Phone stuff to show off but that was already announced at IFA last year and LG had some bragging to do concerning the Optimus G and the Nexus 4. That was about it. And you know what, that’s all we’re going to see on the smartphone front from CES.

The Tablets

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If CES 2013 has been woeful when it comes to smartphones it’s been pretty poor when it comes to tablets, in fact, there’s hardly been any tablets announced. With a lot of the focus on convertible Windows 8 machines and budget-minded 7-inch Android devices there was little to nothing to write home about. Vizio have been the real star – if there was one – when it comes to tablets with their Tegra 4 10-inch tablet that not only brings the best in processing power but leaves Android to shine unabated, there’s no bloatware here. With some budget offerings from Alcatel and an Acer machine for emerging markets coming along for the ride as well.

Tablets – specifically Android tablets – have been pretty poor at this year’s CES and while it’s no surprise, it’s a little disappointing, perhaps the Nexus 7 and its “at cost” price tag of $199 has spoiled the dream for manufacturers? Whatever it is, CES is far away from the show we saw Google launch Honeycomb and the Motorola XOOM and it’s unlikely we’ll see a CES like that ever again.

Well, This Was Disappointing; When Will We See The Phones?

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Traditionally, Mobile World Congress held in February is where everything “mobile” will be shown off, with HTC making a big splash and everyone else looking to get in on the game as well. While we might not see anything on the whole Galaxy S IV front we’re sure that Samsung will be there. Tablets are sure to make a big appearance at MWC this year as well and we’d have to hope that Sony have some more phones to announce in the lower-end to keep their line-up complete. It’s interesting to see that CES has become a sort of platform for select manufacturers to show off what they can do, with MWC the event they can show the industry that they can deliver on these promises. CTIA coming up in the summer might be another event in which we see some smartphone happenings but I’m not going to hold my breath on seeing the latest and greatest.

The smartphones and tablets of CES have checked out of Vegas, and it looks as though they might not be coming back again, either.