So quite a bit of info dropped yesterday afternoon and evening from CES and just in general and today you get all that. I'm going to try and make this post somewhat organized in regards to stuff you NEED to know at the top and the stuff that's interesting but not as important towards the bottom. Bear with me, alright? CES is insane and I've got a lot going at any given moment between work and my personal life and then some that this week is a mess. Also I'm catching up on Deadpool comics! Deadpool takes precedence over all of it as far as I'm concerned.
ASUS outta nowhere with a $199 (off contract!) phone!
Honestly, this is the one that blew many minds (mine included) yesterday. This seemingly came out of nowhere and goddamn is it amazing.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the ASUS ZenFone 2 (running Lollipop I might add)!
I want you to look at that. Absorb it. Then look at it some more and genuinely think about how you feel about it. Done with all that? Do your thoughts match my own I wonder? Namely, does that look like a flagship level device to you too? It does to me and that says a lot.
To hammer home a very important point, that is a flagship level looking device at a price point of $199. (Keeping in mind there will be two versions of this device, I'll get to that in a second.)
Now that your brains have basically shut down, let's get to the meat of the phone.
That body is simply stunning, it's also brushed metal for those wondering. Something some of us might recognize as being a staple of HTC devices as of late. (Although ASUS has done this before with their tablets, so the look and material isn't something that is solely done and used by HTC.) Did you notice those back buttons? That's straight out of LG's playbook! It's also something that numerous sites have stated is amazing once you get used to it.
Details, bangishotyou! Give us details! You want it? You got it, scab! (A The Replacements reference for those of you who've seen that film. Some of you men might more clearly remember the scene where the cheerleader drives Keanu Reeves home. I know I sure as hell do. I do not trust my mother or closest two female best friends driving styles. I just close my eyes and pray that death comes quickly if it comes at all. That scene haunts my nightmares because of how close to home it hits.)
So this phone has a 5.5" screen with a 1080 IPS panel and ASUS's TruVid technology. That last part is fancy speak for "it looks great because of magic", source: Me and my vast "fancy bullshit speak" knowledge. Seriously though, ASUS does a great job with the screens and software they use. So you can rest assured it'll look great in that respect.
As for what drives this phone, it's using a 64-bit Intel processor. The 64-bit processor thing is something that's gonna be hitting every new device soon as that's the "new" thing, which we can all thank Apple for. They announced it first and now it's a mad scramble for every single OEM out there to proclaim "me too". The intriguing part is that it's using an Intel processor. Intel has never been able to get a real good foothold in mobile devices, not for lack of effort but nothing seems to have taken off. Performance wise I read something yesterday that this should be on par, at minimum, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processors. Don't quote me on that though because I can't remember where I read it, it was late at night as I was doing more research on all this and I was falling asleep. I can totally state I didn't make that up or imagine it, but I can't for the life of me remember what the source was on it.
Oh and on top of that process there's going to be two configurations, you get either 2 gigs of memory or 4 gigs of memory. Let that sink in. YOU WILL GET FOUR GIGS OF MEMORY IN A GODDAMN PHONE! I remember like yesterday, because in technology time lengths it practically was yesterday, that not even five years ago laptops still came with 2 gigs of memory if you were lucky! Phones went from 512 MB to 2 GB in no time flat and now we're looking at 4 GB of RAM phones?
The phone will feature LTE and has dual SIM slots for at least some models, which is something that phones hitting "developing markets" tend to have. It's also got a rear camera wiht a 13MP shooter and some decent software in regards to photo improving/editing and all that jazz.
And then you have that. What is that? Well, it's Lollipop at heart with an ASUS overlay, more specifically ASUS's ZenUI, on top of it. Think HTC's Sense and Samsung's TouchWiz (yuck!). Same basic thing. A skin on top of Android. As an Android purist (my Nexus history and current Motorola use for the past year is testament to that) this makes me sad. On the bright side you've got a device rocking Lollipop out of the box, always a positive. Although at this point in time any upcoming devices really should be and any that aren't make me want to flip a table. (And I've got a doozy for you I'll discuss here in a bit that makes me want to flip many tables.)
So back to that $199 price point. I just want to state a few things about it. That is the off contract price of the device. As hard as that is to believe. Will this hit the states and what networks and bands will it be compatible with? I have no clue yet, but you can rest assured I'll be keeping an eye on this bad boy and giving you all more details as I learn them myself. Also, it's very likely that the $199 price for this phone will be for the 2 GB version. I'd eat the hat I don't own if that turned out to be for either the 2 GB or 4 GB version, cause that's just insane if that ends up being so. Speculating here completely, I'd say the 4 GB version will be no more than $299 and even that that's still a bargain for what you're getting. A flagship looking device with very decent specs and running the latest version of Android. For $199 or even $299 you'd be hard pressed to find a genuine reason to complain. I mean you could complain, but for off contract pricing what else do you want? It to come home and make you a sandwich? /sudo make yourself a goddamn sandwich!
ASUS with another looker (albeit a pricier one).
This is one of those interesting ideas that has the potential to take off, but probably won't. It's really a niche product in my opinion, but camera enthusiasts might (vocally) disagree with me.
ASUS has anounced the ASUS ZenFone Zoom, with a 13 MP camera with 3x optical zoom (none of which means anything at all to me if I'm being honest), laser auto focus (sorcery! as previously seen on the LG G3) and a 5.5" 1080p IPS screen (which should be the same one on the previously discussed device).
You don't have to say it, I know you want a better look at it. I'm in your head. In your head. Zombie, zombie, zombieieieie... okay, I'll stop now. (And that was my written cover of the Cranberries ORIGINAL song. There were no covers as far as I care or will accept in my version of reality. NO COVERS!)
So what is the price of that bad boy, which should come out by summer of this year? $399. Unlocked and off contract and that ain't too shabby. Then again that's without knowing any additional information about the device. At present no other specs have been released and something about that bugs me just a little. Then again this phone isn't for me. I'm sure that the people for whom this phone is geared towards could care less. A phone with some kind of decent camera built in wouldn't need top of the line specs. At least I assume that's what they'd think. I don't know anyone who is into taking pictures on anything even remotely resembling a professional or serious manner.
Now I present to you the promo video for this and the ZenFone 2. I don't know what to make of it but I'm not an advertising or promotional guru. I'm just a guy who loves doing whatever it is I do and that's mostly "amuse myself greatly".
In other news, CM12 nightlies have officially started rolling out.
CyanogenMod as a ROM and community isn't bad. Cyanogen Inc. the private company is staffed by douches though. The two are not one and the same, but the latter was born from the former. I just want to get that out of the way and state that.
That said, I still can't bring myself to recommend CM in general principle to anyone. I'd be a real jerk though if I didn't at least mention that nightlies (based on Lollipop 5.0.2) have started rolling out.
As to what devices are getting them, you can see the list below. To spare you some trouble though, which I did for some people on reddit when it came up, if you own any of the following devices you're set for the nightlies. Moto G (2013) and Moto X (2013), Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (as well as Sprint variant), HTC M7 (as well as Sprint and Verizon variants), HTC One Max (as well as Sprint and Verizon variants), and the Nexus 4 and 6. There are others but these are the ones I know off the top of my head and could easily identify and say some of you likely have.
The full list is as follows and you do your own research on what device is what. I can't do it all for you, I'm only one man.
It should be noted that all these are devices supported as of today, more will likely come. For others you might be "officially" stuck on CM11 (which is based on Kit Kat).
Since someone stole my thunder (ahem!), I guess I'll make up by continuing this part of the post as planned.
Skip that link and the MSN one and trust me to do all the info gathering for you, folks. It's what I do and I am good at what I do when my curiosity has been piqued.
I present to you the next iteration of the Walkman!
More specifically the Walkman NW-ZXS.
Sony, I'm not upset. Just disappointed. I love you, I still have my original Walkman and Discman which were passed on to me by my mom. They'll always have a special place in my heart. But this? I expected better from you. That's why it hurts so much to see that this is what you've come to. [wipes tear from eye]
I fucking hate that "I'm not upset, just disappointed" speech. Mothers, using it to guilt trip you into caving on whatever they don't want you to do since time immortal. And I've got a related screenshot to share from reddit in that regard. Two actually!
The heck were we talking about? Ah yes, Sony.
So the Walkman is back. Not in fine form though I might add. The idea is there, it's just the I don't know what that seemingly got lost in translation.
Everyone who knows what an iPod Touch is raise their hands. [looks around] I see. So clearly some of you have no memory of said device. Well, in the days when smartphones were still taking off, people used to have devices dedicated solely to listening to music. We called them mp3 players. Eventually with the advent of the first iPhone interest grew in creating an mp3 player with a similar interface and all that. The iPod Touch was born, then quickly was smothered by one iteration of the iPhone or another. I don't know. We don't talk about that child, it died of natural causes and that's the story we're sticking to because it's the one we told the cops.
So suffice it to say, with a handful of exceptions, or only one I can think of (e-readers), a device dedicated solely to storing and playing music was a thing of the past. Something we remember fondly, but don't miss. Sony clearly didn't get the memo though and now the Walkman Touch or what have you is a thing.
A $1,200 thing. Yes, that figure is correct. I wish I was making it up, but I'm not.
Nothing about it justifies that price point. NOTHING.
It's got 128 GB of flash storage and that's basically all it has going for it and even that isn't worth that price. $600 or so gets me a PHONE WITH 64 GB OF STORAGE. Another $100 or so and I can get a 128 GB microSD card to throw in it. Boom. Beat with a savings of $500.
And yet here we are. With this.
So besides the storage capacity, what else does it have? A microSD card slot. Yeah. Well, that and it plays everything imaginable. By which I mean every file format possible to put music into. It will also play regular mp3s for about 60 hours on a charge, but anyone who doesn't charge their devices at night is an anomaly in my book and just straight up weird. So that's a non-feature/issue.
From purely a music playing perspective that's not bad. The price is, but what it does isn't.
But why is this an Android device? I mean I get why, but why? What did Android ever do to you, Sony? So it's a phone that's not a phone, amirite? I am right.
So without harping on the general point I think I've made abundantly clear, let me ask you this. I'm talking to you, Sony. What version of Android is it running? Give me that much at least. [listens to Sony's reply] Jelly Bean 4.2?! THIS MONSTROSITY IS RUNNING JELLY BEAN 4.2?!?!
You know what? We're done here. I can't go on about this device. I think that GIF kind of says it all on behalf of all of us.
EDIT/UPDATE! For the record, after hitting up /r/android and reading more on this ridiculous device and then following up some info from there, anyone who is even remotely demented enough to consider buying the new Walkman should look into the FiiO X5 instead.
At $350 for the equivalent in every way (plays all the same music file types save the Apple lossless one I believe) and surpassing it in so many others (namely battery life), this is easily the better option. Even for audiophiles! It also nets you a savings of about $850. You can give me half of that if you were even thinking of buying the Sony device and call it a day. It'll be less of a loss and I'll only call you an idiot once at that price, it's basically a bargain!
Oh yeah, for an extra hundred bones you can get the 128 gig microSD card too! Which is still a savings of $750. Give me half that and we're all winners any way you slice it!
That's everything of note between the remainder of yesterday and to this point right now.
If anything of interest comes along I'll update the post to reflect it and throw that in down below this.
If anyone needs me I'll be busy doing a quick inventory of torches and pitchforks. I feel like there's about to be a serious business opportunity thanks to Sony and the Walkman and this kid "don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows".
Wait. Dylan's gone electric?! Has the whole world gone crazy?! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!