2011 – year of the tablet, Angry Birds
By Jeremy Smith
Sun Star Columnist
2011. The year after we made contact and the year before the world ends. It is also going to be known as the year of the tablet, as in, almost everyone reading this will either own or will have used one and realized a deeper need to possess ‘my precious.’ Or so the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) would have you believe. Also, 3D — and Angry Birds — everywhere!
After Apple cornered more than 85 percent of the tablet market in 2010 with their April release of the iPad, other manufacturers decided that it is time to give the people what they want the most: options… and make lots of that sweet, sweet tablet money. In late 2010, Barnes & Noble unveiled their NOOKcolor, which is a seven-inch e-reader that has a touch-screen and runs Google’s Android operating system. At this year’s CES, it walked off with awards from multiple publications as the best new tech that is currently available. Granted, Barnes and Noble doesn’t position their NOOKcolor as a rival to the iPad, but intrepid hackers have removed various restrictions and created an inexpensive, touch-sensitive tablet that can access everything an Android-based cell phone can do. And play Angry Birds.
At this year’s CES, more than 20 manufacturers were showing off their version of the ‘iPad killer’ to a not-so-impressed press. However, Motorola revealed two products that work to fill that niche between full computer and simple e-reader and seemed to light a fire under those tech journalists’ cold hearts.
The device making much of the industry take notice is Motorola’s Xoom Tablet. Complete with a dual-core processor, memory card slots, two cameras, Wi-Fi and 3G/4G support all running on version 3.0 of the Android operating system, the Xoom checks off all of the boxes that the iPad seems to be missing.
Motorola’s TRIX 4G phone approached the niche by cramming all of the features present in the latest smartphones, along with the ability to play and record HD-level video, into the candy-bar form factor… but with a slick twist. The phone can be plugged into a dock and become a full-featured netbook, complete with keyboard and monitor.
On the low-tech side, Rovio announced and released not only a PC version of their ridiculously popular bird versus egg-stealing pig app Angry Birds, but also a board game version. As in, one you play at home with a slingshot, some birds, some blocks and some pigs. I am excited.
Of course CES also had the necessary explosion of gigantic televisions and in a nod to last year, continued to herald the belief that we all want 3D, without glasses, in every facet of our lives. Toshiba was the closest to offering glasses-free 3D in the living room through two TV prototypes, but actual prices and availability are several years away. Nintendo showed off their new 3DS, which provides portable 3D gaming, sans-glasses as well. This has been priced at $250 and is dated for a mid-2011 release.
I picked up a NOOKcolor myself over the holidays and I will definitely give you an update on how that works as an e-reader and low-cost Android tablet… and just how awesome I am at Angry Birds.