ZTE and Huawei took home most of the device-related headlines from this year's International CES in Las Vegas, which didn't exactly provide an earthshaking amount of Android news for a show of its size. Nevertheless, the companies both demonstrated strong new offerings, and other players, including Samsung and Sony, made their own hardware-related waves.
IN PICTURES: Best of CES 2013
The ZTE Grand S is arguably the most impressive Android device released at the show, cramming top-end hardware -- including a 1080p display -- into a package less than 7 mm thick. You're unlikely to be able to pick one up in the immediate future, however, as ZTE will release the Grand S only in China, at least at first.
ZTE Grand S
According to Bloomberg, the Shenzhen-based company is also planning to branch out into Mozilla's fledgling mobile ecosystem, potentially bringing a device to Europe within a year.
Huawei, for its part, rolled out the Ascend D2, which has hardware similar to the ZTE Grand S, but without that device's sleeker form factor. However, Huawei's focus with the Ascend D2 is battery life -- the company said that the device's 3000 mAh battery (which is large to begin with) packs new power-saving innovations like QPC and ADRX technology, which prevent it from running down too quickly.
Like the Grand S, however, the Ascend D2 isn't coming to the U.S. market in the immediate future -- Huawei says it'll be released in China this month, and Japan "in the future."
Sony's Xperia Z was the other major Android phone released at CES 2013, and it's likely the prettiest of the lot.
Credit: Martyn Williams, IDG News Service
Sony Xperia Z
Specs-wise, it's much like the Chinese-built competitors listed above, though its key differentiator may be that it's more idiot-proof -- Sony made a great deal of fuss over the device being water-resistant and durable, which I know is what I look for in a high-end smartphone. (I am only partially kidding.)
Although Samsung made its biggest waves at CES with the debut of new TV technology, the release of a new Exynos 5 Octa SoC could wind up being more important in the long run. As the name implies, this is indeed an eight-core tablet and smartphone SoC -- four of the cores are powerful Cortex A15s for processing muscle, and the other four are power-sipping Cortex A7s for energy efficiency. According to Samsung, this will allow devices to provide top-shelf performance while simultaneously offering excellent battery life. As Ars Technica points out, however, it'll be important to see actual retail devices that use the Exynos 5 Octa before crowning it the new king of SoCs.
While it's not strictly Android-related, there were a host of new Google TV devices rolled out at CES 2013, including the Netgear NeoTV Prime and Asus Qube.
Outside of CES, Samsung released a new version of the old Galaxy S II, bringing Jelly Bean, some new camera features and the company's S Voice functionality. Water is wet, the sun is bright, and Samsung constantly releases new phones.
(Hat Tip: Android Guys)
And although the company was tight-lipped about the device at the actual show, rumor site Sam Mobile published what it says could be leaked photos of the much-ballyhooed Galaxy S IV.