Super Late CES 2016 High on Android Recap!

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We were live here Las Vegas for CES, and last week the show floor opened with tons of exciting news gadgets to check out. While new Android phones have not been widespread here in Vegas, we have seen several interesting wearable devices and connected accessories for Android devices. In addition, we’ve seen several external refreshes of existing products, such as the rose gold and platinum Gear S2 Classic models from Samsung. There have been plenty of TVs, audio, and Android Auto exhibits as well. Let’s dive in to what I’ve found most interesting in my time on the show floor!

LG Web OS 3.0 TVs

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While Android TV is great, some of the TVs that have the tech inside do not have the best picture quality. This past summer I purchased a 4K TV and considered several Sony sets with the Android TV function built in. I ultimately picked up a Samsung SUHD 4K TV with better picture but not the best smart TV functionality. One of my biggest gripes about the Samsung smart interface is that it lags incredibly poorly and also does not offer picture in picture functionality with multiple sources (such as watching a Youtube video on half the screen while watching TV on the other). LG’s new Signature OLED TV series features amazing picture quality and the new Web OS 3.0 software. We took a look at the sets yesterday and got a quick demo, and there is virtually no lag at all with the interface. In addition, there are several innovative features such as picture in picture for multiple sources, IoT integration, and Channel advisor.

Polaroid Snap+ Camera

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While instant print cameras are not really new, Polaroids latest innovation has slimmed down the profile and increased the speed with which the photos print. I think the most interesting possibility about this technology is that we might see a small printer embedded in smartphones sometime in the near future!

LeTV Max Pro

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Although not from a huge OEM, we did see the first phone with the Snapdragon 820 make a debut at CES. The phone itself looks remarkably similar to the Huawei Mate 8 (also detailed fully at Huawei’s CES press conference). Overall, the benchmarks were damn impressive, getting over 130,000 in Antutu in our limited testing with the phone. Unfortunately the phone is not yet on the market, but it is definitely cool to see what we can look forward to with the 820.

Fossil Q54 Pilot

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Not everyone wants a smartwatch with a giant LCD display on the front of it. Some people just want a watch that looks like a traditional timepiece, but has smart notifications built in behind the scenes. That’s exactly what Fossil has given us with the Q54 Pilot. The watch looks exactly like a traditional Fossil watch face around front, but has plenty of hardware for smart functionality underneath. You can still receive important notifications from contacts via vibration and LED notifications, but without the the subpar battery life on Android Wear devices. The watch is also very affordable, priced between $175 and $215 depending on the band you choose.

HTC Vive Pre 

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While HTC Vive isn’t ready for consumers just yet, the company did announce the 2nd iteration of the developer platform at CES. HTC plans to make an additional 7,000 units available for developers at the beginning of 2016. I had a chance to try HTC Vive, and it really blew me away. The difference in experience between the Gear VR from Samsung and the Vive is pretty incredibly. We now know that the Vive will be available for pre-order on February 29 for April delivery, but a price is still unknown.

Huawei Mate 8

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While we technically knew about the Mate 8 well before CES, Huawei put on a big press conference on media day to unveil the phone fully, along with the gold Nexus 6P, and a few other devices. The phone itself sports an impressive 6″ display, albeit with a somewhat strange 1080P resolution. The in-house Kirin processor from Huawei also makes the phone the fastest currently on the market. We will definitely have a full review of this phone, so stayed tuned for that!

FitBit Blaze

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If you’re looking for a great activity tracker that can also handle your notifications, the FitBit Blaze might be your best option. With a high-resolution color LCD screen, GPS, and the ability to give up to 5 days of battery life, this is a great alternative to Android Wear if working out is your main goal for a smartwatch. The FitBit Blaze comes with a variety of Bands options, and is currently available for preorder on Amazon.

Onagofly Nano Drone

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Max checked out a lot of cool drones at CES, but none that we saw were as affordable as this little nano drone from Onagofly. The drone is only 5 by 5 by 2 inches and weighs just 140 grams. Currently the company’s Indiegogo page has raised 1010% of their goal funding, so this project appears it will be shipping on time in March 2016. Priced at just $200, this drone is definitely one to check out if you’ve been wanting to break into aerial photography or just want to play with a drone on the cheap.

Casio WSD-F10

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I feel like I’ve put a lot of watches on this list, but there were quite a few unique wearables shown off at CES. One of those was the WSD-F10 (terrible name) from Casio. The watch itself can function as either a regular watch (if you want to save battery) or run a full version of Android Wear when you want or need smart functionality. Overall, Casio is looking to appeal to outdoor types with the rugged design of this watch and it definitely is quite bulky on wrist. Pricing has not been announced, but I feel that the price will determine how successful this watch can be as a niche product.

Edwin the Smart Duck

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Making everything in our daily lives connected is not necessarily a good idea, but a connected rubber ducky is actually pretty damn cool. My fiancee and I are getting to the point we’re ready to have kids of our own, and this is definitely something I could envision buying for my child. Edwin is a physical rubber ducky, that connects to a smartphone as well. Your kids can interact with Edwin physically in the palm of their hands as well as virtually through the app. The amount of educational content the developers have baked in make sure that Edwin enriches the learning process over time, hence the toy can stay with your child for a longer period of time. If you have kids, definitely check this toy out, at $99 it is a great investment in the future of early childhood learning.

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Jeff Springer

"I am currently a researcher and Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University. I fell in love with Android with the Nexus One release and realized that it was superior to iOS in all the ways I care about. I still use a Mac (and an iPhone for the camera), but my Apple tech products pale in comparison to my number of Android devices (watches, tablets, and phones). When I’m not rooting/modding one of my many Android phones or doing math/programming, you can find me taking in Phoenix Suns/Arizona Diamondbacks games in downtown Phoenix, and drinking good beer!"

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