I have skipped the last couple Consumer Electronics Shows since I stepped out of writing about mobile when I sold my websites. The show has changed a little since my last attendance. It seems to have gotten more crowded, but the quality of the show seems to have declined. More big companies seem to skip having a booth, limiting their presence to private meetings and side shows like “Digital Focus” and “Showstoppers”. I actually believe I like it better that way. I was able to see 50-60% of what I wanted to see at the two side shows.
First off, I want to thanks Xavier Lanier, Owner of Notebooks.com and GottaBeMobile.com for bringing me along for coverage of CES 2012. While I personally feel I didn’t do as much as I wanted to, I tried. I spent a great deal of time and money before the show to position myself to be able to produce more content faster while at the show. I didn’t want to have to spend my evenings uploading videos and writing. My plan was to upload videos and write as it unfolded. I failed. My laptop had troubles and my MiFi kept losing connection at 70-80% on my YouTube uploads. I was miserable. On top of my technical issues, I didn’t want to duplicate content so I didn’t waste a lot of time looking at some of the phones that others from our team were scheduled to cover. Check out this post to see what I planned to work with.
I was able to check out most of the phones I wanted to get hands-on with though. While I didn’t take videos, I got to get familiar with them. Here are the phones I got hands-on with:
- Nokia Lumia 710, 800, and 900. Check out Chuong’s Lumia 900 1st Look video.
- HTC Titan II. Here’s my 1st Look Video.
- Motorola Droid 4. Check out Adam’s Video.
- Motorola Droid RAZR Max. Check out Adam’s Video.
- Samsung Galaxy Note. Check out Adam’s Video.
I didn’t get around to checking out the LG Phones unfortunately. I skipped most of Samsung’s offerings as well.
I decided not to trek over to check out the Sony Xperia Ion either since I didn’t want to get excited about a phone that will take forever to get Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) based on my previous experiences with the Xperia line.
Nokia Lumia 900
I absolutely love the Lumia 900. Perfect screen size, fast, and the Cyan color is sexy. The camera, even though I didn’t get unload photos off of it to check out on a big screen, seems awesome. The build quality is top notch and feels very premium. The only issue I have with it is that I am no longer an AT&T customer, so I am going to have to either grab a new line on AT&T or wait for a Verizon equivelent. The Nokia Windows Phones eliminate one of the things that draws me to Android – free, quality navigation. I really do not like the implementation of Bing’s navigation. Nokia’s added navigation solution looks great.
HTC Titan II
It’s basically a rehash of the HTC Titan, but it’s got LTE. Having LTE is a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. The battery drain on current LTE devices is massive. I love to see big speed tests but most consumers, myself included, don’t need that much data speed. The Titan II is running the same version on Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) as the Titan and looks and feels almost identical. What is different is the slight boost in battery, support for LTE and HSPA+ as a backup, and a huge boost in camera specs for the front and rear cameras. The styling of the Titan II is has changed a tad with a slight curved profile in a similar was to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Motorola Droid 4
If any of you have been reading my ramblings for a while, you’d know that my form factor of choice for a long time was the slide out keyboard. Since screens have gotten bigger and onscreen keyboards have gotten better, I was able to leave that dying form factor behind. The original Droid was well done and offered a really slim form factor while still having a slider. The Droid 4 is super thin considering. I’d love to buy the Droid 4 and rotate between it and my Galaxy Nexus.
Motorola Droid RAZR Max
This one is dead sexy, but I’d rather have the Galaxy Nexus. The battery is massive on the RAZR Max though. It has a 3,300 mAH battery compared to the regular Droid RAZR’s 1830 mAH battery. It’s really not a RAZR at that point since the additional juice sacrifices it’s razor thin profile.
Samsung Galaxy Note
I never thought I would ever say this, but… it’s too big. It’s like having an HTC Advantage up to your ear. No, not really, but it’s close. I really don’t think I could use the Galaxy Note as a phone, a mini tablet yes… just not as a daily driver phone. It’s very nice otherwise.
I had a great time at the press events, dinners, and parties that I had a chance to attend.
The AT&T Developer Summit was top notch, but I wish the opening keynotes wasn’t 2 1/2 hours. The last 30 minutes with all the phones being announced was great. Having Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, HTC’s Peter Chou, and Nokia’s Stephen Elop all on stage was a treat.
As always, the Pepcom press event was top notch. I had a great time watching the 2nd half of the Alabama/LSU National Championship game. ROLL TIDE. Digital Focus afforded me time to play with the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 without being beat up side the head with some rude guys massive video camera. I had an awesome time catching up with some PR folks I haven’t seen in a couple years, especially Palm reps that now represent HP.
I was very impressed with Showstoppers as well. In the past, it’s been an event that I have jumped in/out of fast but I ended up staying the entire time and still didn’t talk to everyone I wanted to. They’ve definitely stepped it up a notch.
Dinner with Microsoft arranged by Sonus Group was very nice. It was a great Italian dinner at Maggiano’s that included social conversation about Windows Phone with Greg Sullivan and Ben Rudolph from Microsoft. I walked out with an Samsung Focus Flash that I ended up giving to Adam Mills to review. We should be giving it away as a contest prize on GottaBeMobile when he’s done too.
I had a few encounters with famous people!
- I shook hands with Ludacris.
- I was pushed out of the way by LL Cool J’s handlers just before I took a photo from about 2 feet away from him.
- I hollered out “Roll Tide” when Andrew Luck got on stage at the Lenovo/Microsoft party, but then shook hands in a photo op with him 10 minutes later.
- I was a few feet from the AWESOME Alistair Overeem on the show floor. It was uncomfortable because I had 100’s pushing behind me to get closer. I wasn’t able to get a good photo either. I will say though, he doesn’t look as big in person as he does in the octagon.
I was happy to meet my fellow staff at GBM this week. I’ve already met Xavier a couple times, but I met the rest of our team for the 1st time! KT Bradford, Chuong Nguyen, Adam Mills, and Josh Smith. I had a good time with them all.
I ran into a lot of fellow bloggers/writers that I’ve known for years and loved running into them just like old times. I met many newer folks in the industry that I have been following and conversing with on Twitter for a couple years, but never met in person too! There are too many to name, so I won’t try and risk leaving someone out.
Special shout outs to my great friends that I always love hanging out with at events… Matt Miller (middle in photo above), Mike Temporale, Johan Van Meirlo (right), Judie Lipsett, Graham Skee (left), and more.
Overall I had a great time and enjoyed covering CES again. I was excited to see so many phones shown and announced at this CES, it seems like there were more than usual at a CES. I am sure there are some surprises for MWC (Mobile World Congress), but many companies laid out some love this week.
I had a great time socially, but I am very frustrated with how poorly I did at live coverage of the events. Hopefully I can redeem myself in May at CTIA in New Orleans.