An­droid an­nounce­ments you may have missed

PDAs, TVs, and watches. MICHAEL SI­MON re­ports

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

CES may be all about con­sumer elec­tron­ics, but sadly that doesn’t re­ally in­clude phones. Most com­pa­nies hold off un­til the spring to un­veil their new­est hand­sets, and there hasn’t been a big An­droid splash at CES since Google un­veiled the Nexus One back in 2010.

But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any An­droid news com­ing out of Las Ve­gas in Jan­uary. While the

In­tel-AMD love af­fair and Google As­sis­tant-pow­ered speak­ers might have snagged most of the head­lines, An­droid fans still found enough cool things on the show floor to en­ter­tain them. Here’s a look at seven things you might have missed:

1. Moto Mods

Moto Mods were all the rage a year ago, but the fad isn’t com­pletely over. Dur­ing its key­note, Len­ovo showed off two new mag­netic Moto Mods for its Z2 Force and other Z phones: a long-awaited key­board and a health mon­i­tor.

The Liver­mo­rium Slider Key­board Moto Mod is based on the win­ner of the Trans­form the Smart­phone Chal­lenge and adds a fully Qw­erty key­board with a 60-de­gree screen tilt. The Len­ovo Vi­tal Moto Mod is de­signed to keep you healthy, mea­sur­ing your heart rate, re­s­pi­ra­tory rate, Pulse Ox, core body tem­per­a­ture, and for the first time, ac­cu­rate sys­tolic and di­as­tolic blood pres­sure when you pop your fin­ger into a slot on the back. The $99 (around £70) key­board mod will be avail­able soon, while the $395 (around £285) Vi­tal Mod will ship later this year.

2. An­droid Wear watches

The state of An­droid Wear is any­thing but solid, but that’s not stop­ping com­pa­nies from mak­ing new watches. At CES this year, there were two that caught our eye. The first is from Kate Spade, and it joins a long line of fash­ion-first smart­watches from the Fos­sil company. Called the Scal­lop, the 1.2in watch has a de­cid­edly fem­i­nine aes­thetic, with gold ac­cents and an

etched spade logo on the crown. There’s no GPS, NFC, or heart-rate sen­sor, but you will get 24-hour bat­tery life and Google As­sis­tant. Two ver­sions will launch next month: a bracelet for $325 and a leather strap for $295 – UK prices to be an­nounced.

Dan­ish watch­maker Sk­a­gen has also an­nounced its first An­droid Wear watch. It’s called the Fal­ster, and while it too lacks GPS, NFC, and a heart-rate sen­sor, its sim­ple aes­thetic could ap­peal to ca­sual watch wear­ers. It will cost $275 when it launches – UK price to be an­nounced.

3. An­droid TV screens

The last thing we ex­pected to see at CES were new An­droid-pow­ered screens, but no less than five com­pa­nies un­veiled new An­droid TVs this year: Nvidia,

West­ing­house, Philips, Haier, and Hisense. Nvidia takes the crown, with the coolest name (BFGD, which stands for big for­mat gam­ing dis­plays) and rad­i­cal de­sign (for fur­ther de­tails see page 45), but the 24in Philips 7703 is pretty good too, dou­bling as a Blue­tooth speaker and made to look great in any room of the house. But re­ally, we’re just stoked to see An­droid TV get some love.

4. Google As­sis­tant on An­droid Auto

Google made a slew of As­sis­tant an­nounce­ments at CES this year, but you might have missed this one: it’s com­ing to An­droid Auto. Of course, An­droid Auto has had voice com­mands since its de­but, but now Google is bring­ing the full Google As­sis­tant to our cars. And that’s prob­a­bly where it’ll be most use­ful.

5. Ra­zor Phone’s ‘Pro­ject Linda’ lap­top

Okay, Razer’s An­droid phone-pow­ered lap­top is not a real prod­uct just yet, but it is cool. Razer has taken Sam­sung’s Gal­axy S8 and Note 8 DeX dock and turned it up to 11 with Pro­ject Linda, a full-on lap­top that does noth­ing un­til you slide your Razer Phone into it. For fur­ther de­tails see page 40.

6. In-screen fin­ger­print reader

We’ve been hear­ing about un­der-the-dis­play fin­ger­print tech for a few years, but it’s been the­o­ret­i­cal un­til now. At CES, Chi­nese phone maker Vivo showed off the Sy­nap­tics-made tech in a work­ing pro­to­type, and it works. Vivo says it’s se­cure and bat­tery-ef­fi­cient enough to make it into the company’s next hand­set, so it could be the first of many phones that show­case the tech.

7. An An­droid PDA

Per­sonal dig­i­tal as­sis­tants may be a thing of the past, but we still have a soft spot for them. UK-based Planet Com­put­ers showed off the Gem­ini phone, which is straight out of the 1990s. The firm started tak­ing or­ders for the de­vice via Indiegogo (fave.co/2D6HdeF) in 2017, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in pub­lic. With a 5.9in screen, in­te­grated key­board, clamshell de­sign, and two weeks of stand-by time, it might be the best An­droid phone of the year. We joke, but we’re not not consider­ing buy­ing one.

Philips 7703

Planet Com­put­ers’ Gem­ini

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