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CES- Mobile Handset Update

  • Huawei making a big push
  • Sony still hard at it
  • Nokia Hearts Android?!?
Written by Adam Wajnberg

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (Jan 8-11) is the biggest nerd-fest of the year, or at least, the most obnoxious. It’s the first event on the electronic convention calendar, and the location and nature of the event tends to bring about a bunch of noise and nonsense.

ces floor

Too many chicks, amirite?

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Mobile phones traditionally take a back seat to enormous plasma screens the width of a human hair that get unveiled from Sony and the like, but a few still get previewed. Apple stays away, and Samsung has started to move their phone announcements to private events at mid-year (or to Berlin, the big mobile convention, or Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress), but up-and-comers like Huawei use CES as a place to show their latest and greatest.

Here are some handsets that you may (or may not) see talking up shelf space at mid-year:



Huawei Ascend Mate- Huawei seem determined to become China’s answer to Samsung. Their Ascend line (with the P1 available through Optus and Dodo) is similar to Samsung’s Galaxy line, and with the Ascend Mate a direct answer to the oversized Galaxy Note 2. Samsung’s 5.5” phone/tablet “phablet” monstrosity has sold 6 million units in a few months, meaning that Huawei’s equivalent 6.1 inch (not a bloody typo) should sell slightly more than that, right? I don’t know. But with 7 inch tablets becoming the norm, 6 inch phones leaves a whole 2.5 centimetres for companies to fight over.

       huawei ascend mate



Huawei Ascend D2 – The flagship phone is a pitiful, barely visible 5 inches, but comes packed with the type of eye-popping specs that dwarf even the muscular phones from Samsung and HTC. Forget elegance- the D2 packs a 443 ppi display (that’s 50% more sharpness than the iPhone 5), a full 1080 HD resolution screen, a quad core 1.5GHz processor and a 2 day battery, somehow. It runs Android Jelly Bean, and Huawei are not known for being quick to release updates. So…whatever. It’s a massive beast. Eventually, Huawei will have to make a splash in the market with phones like this, especially when they out-spec Samsung at half the price. It’s also supposedly water-resistant.

Huawei might want to be careful- Chinese made products still have a stigma for being over-sold and under-delivered, and their too-good-to-be-true spec sheet has to be eyed with scrutiny. But if they can deliver…watch out, Samsung.

Sony XPERIA Z and ZL – Sony is starting to be so irrelevant that they’re cool again. Their XPERIA phones have always been the bridesmaid and never the bride. The Z and ZL will come with the usual beastly specs, but hopefully with some X-Factors to make them viable alternatives to the usual Samsung and HTC winners.

sony xperia z



First, those specs:

-          5 inch screen 1080p HD

-          1.5GHz quad core Snapdragon S4 processors with 2GB (!) RAM

-          13MP camera

-          440 ppi screen

-          Lots of Sony proprietary tech to make for better low-light recording (HDR Video, apparently) and better battery life

Even if this all works as well as it should, this is still not enough to distinguish them from even cheapo players like Huawei. But:

-          The Z is painfully thin, and waterproof to 4 metres

-          The ZL is slightly bulged, but comes with an IR reader (to program your phone as a traditional TV remote) and a physical camera button.

Sigh. This is all great stuff. Best phones Sony has ever made. But not necessarily enough to separate from the rest.

Huawei Ascend W1 – The Huawei flagship Windows 8 phone. Fuhgeddaboutit. Underspecced and ugly. And no release date


-          Firefox, the popular web browser, has been mulling over releasing its own operating system for a while. They showed a prototype on an Android phone (Firefox OS would be an overlay to Android). ..

-          Nokia danced around the subject of releasing an Android Phone to complement their (so far unfruitful) alliance with Microsoft and Windows Phone. By saying ‘maybe’, they are saying ‘yes’. But they also raised the issue of HTML5, an easily programmable web standard that could form the basis for a proprietary lightweight operating system with as much scope for expansion as Android…


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