The doors to the show floor don’t officially open until tomorrow, but CES 2016 is well underway. With the sun set to rise in Las Vegas in a few hours, we thought we’d give you a quick highlight of yesterday’s news since there’s a good chance that you didn’t get around to reading all of it.
The most exciting smartphone news from yesterday was the announcement that the Asus ZenFone Zoom with its 3x optical zoom camera will finally go on sale this quarter for $400 in the US. LG and Alcatel OneTouch also chimed in with a handful of mid and low-end Android smartphones. LG’s K Series devices should be quite cheap, but come with 2.5D Arc Glass around the front and woven texture polycarbonate finish on the back, which give the devices a premium fit and finish. The Alcatel OneTouch PIXI 4 family is made up of four “Premium Entry-Level Devices” that include 3.5-inch, 4-inch and 6-inch smartphones along with a 7-inch tablet. Besides the 3.5-inch phone, the PIXI 4 lineup is equipped with quad-core processors.
Unrelated to CES, the Samsung Galaxy A9 went on sale in China for roughly $500, and two new rumors regarding the Samsung Galaxy S7 popped up. One claimed that we would see a 5.7-inch variant of Samsung’s flagship phone with a 12-megapixel camera, while the other claimed that microSD card support will return on the 2016 flagship phone.
We saw a handful of Android Auto announcements at CES 2015, but the platform is slowly making it way to more manufacturers in 2016. Ford will have Android Auto pre-installed on its Sync 3 infotainment system in its 2017 models and will even be updating 2016 models later in the year. Even Fiat Chrysler is committing to Android Auto in 2016, with plans to include the system on its uConnect platform which is used by Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep.
While there were a few dozen new smartphone accessories unveiled yesterday, the most exciting were the Altec Lansing Freedom Earbuds, Mad Catz’ “Designed for Samsung” announcement and the 2G smartwatch from Alcatel. The Freedom Earbuds offer true wireless freedom as the two separate earphones are not connected with a cable. They also offer IPX7-rated waterproofing with six hours of battery life and a carrying case includes a three-hour additional charge and will be available in Q2 for $150. The “Designed for Samsung” announcement from Mad Catz did not include any new smartphone gaming accessories that aren’t already on the market, but it guarantees that its products will be tested and certified to meet Samsung standards. This means you will not have any connectivity or usability issues if you invest in is a Mad Catz “Designed for Samsung” accessory.
The Alcatel OneTouch CareTime is a smartwatch for your kids with 2G connectivity. The colorful smartwatch features integrated GPS so that you can keep track of your children at all times, and it even comes with geo-fencing capabilities. Anyone wearing the watch can make or receive calls and messages from pre-set numbers.
Android related news is always fun to keep up with, but CES 2016 is turning out to be a big year for Chrome OS. Lenovo announced a high-end ThinkPad 13 Chromebook, while Acer showed off its decently spec’d 24-inch Chromebase all-in-one and the entry-level CB3-131 Chromebook. We expect to see a few more Chrome OS devices to show their faced before CES closes up shop later this week.
As today is CES Press Day, we’ll be seeing a lot of product announcement from big players like Samsung, LG, Sony, Huawei, Qualcomm and more. We’ll be covering all the stories as they unfold, but we’ll also be rolling the highlights into another recap post tomorrow morning. Stay tuned!