For Android tablets, it promises to rain Ice Cream Sandwiches at CES, but ebook readers are likely to see less action at this year’s show.
It’s going to rain Ice Cream Sandwiches at CES. In the freewheeling Android tablet market, we’re going to see some cheap tablets, some quad-core tablets and lots of attempts to be the first or best Android 4.0 tablet on the market.
Last year’s CES was a tabletpalooza. This year, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, and Viewsonic will all have new devices to show off; Samsung, Sony and Motorola might, as well. The trick for all of these companies will be how to differentiate among a mass of similar products.
Quad-core will be a big deal as several vendors follow up on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime with Nvidia Tegra 3-based tablets. Qualcomm may finally show a tablet running its new quad-core S4 chipset, in response.
Most of these tablets will either be running Android 4.0 or promising an upgrade to that OS very soon. But I’m also hoping we’ll hear a little more about Windows 8 tablets. With Steve Ballmer doing a keynote as usual, he’s expected to give some more clarity on what apps we’ll be able to run on ARM-based, Windows 8 slates.
I’m also intrigued by some news coming from MIPS, a processor design company which is planning to bring along a $99 Chinese tablet running Android 4.0. MIPS is trying to prove that it can knock out ARM, especially at the lower end, so it may have some unusual gadgets to show.
We won’t hear anything from Apple. Apple doesn’t participate in CES; the iPad 3 will probably arrive in February or March.
E-Readers: Screen Time
The e-reader front will be quieter, because Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Kobo just revved their product lines. They won’t have anything new to show, leaving the floor to smaller players like iRiver, which promises an upgrade to its Story HD reader.
I’m more excited to get my first hands-on time with the Kyobo, the first e-reader with a Qualcomm Mirasol screen. Mirasol technology brings the outdoor visibility and visual restfulness of e-ink with the color and responsiveness of LCD, and I’ve watched it develop over several years. Now that there’s finally a Mirasol e-reader, is the technology good enough to start replacing e-ink? I’d love to see.
I’ll also be looking for follow-ups to last year’s color e-ink reader, and any update on the competing Pixel Qi technology. LCD screens just aren’t right for long-form e-reading, and I’d really like to see one of these other technologies start to take center stage in 2012.
By Sascha Segan, PCMag