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A 2011 CES Recap…

Holy CES 2011.  It is finally over.

How’s everyone feeling after the week long chaos that just finished up?  We might be struggling to wrap our brains around everything we saw over the last 6 days, but that isn’t stopping us from trying.  The focus of this year’s CES was clearly on Android and there is no denying that.  Random companies were spitting out tablets left and right, 4G devices from multiple carriers were on display, and the Tegra 2 was everywhere.  If you attended and walked away without thinking that Android has officially taken over the world, then you must have been at the AVN expo.

Our goal for the event was to hit up every big media event, relate them to the DROID brand if possible, and let you decide which device will be the next one for you to drop that hard earned cash on.  We didn’t want to overwhelm you or ourselves with the abundance of unnamed and highly unfinished tablets, but instead focused on getting as much time in as we could with things like Verizon’s entire 4G LTE lineup, since well, this is “DROID” Life, not “we cover all things tech” Life.  So I apologize to any of you who wanted something different, but we walked away from this event feeling great.  Let’s get into it!  

Motorola probably made the biggest splash of the week with their XOOM tablet that was the only thing in the area code that has even seen Honeycomb, while others continue to promise that theirs will as well.  The device received a variety of awards from some big media publications and deservingly so, this device blew our minds.  While few were allowed to touch it, the XOOM is guaranteed to be a winner and is the tablet you should all be considering when it’s released in Q1 of this year.  (XOOM coverage here.)

Moto didn’t stop there though.  They also announced the Atrix 4G, which may give AT&T a chance at actually competing with Verizon this year.  The phone sports a Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, and some multi-media docks and accessories that left us with our jaws on the floor.  We may be a little sour on the idea that it won’t be coming to Big Red, but if you are for some reason locked into AT&T, you shouldn’t even hesitate at buying this phone.  (Atrix coverage here.)

Of course Motorola also gave us a new DROID (the BIONIC) to start preparing for and it’s no slouch.  It’s essentially the same as the Atrix, but with a bigger screen, only 512MB of RAM, same dual-core processor, and front-facing camera.  We asked Moto reps if the accessory line for the Atrix would be available on the BIONIC, but they were a little hesitant to go that far. (BIONIC coverage here.)

HTC finally announced the Thunderbolt and we’re officially torn between it and the BIONIC.  I know, I know, it doesn’t have a dual-core processor, but you have to trust me when I say that it doesn’t matter with this one.  The Thunderbolt might be my favorite device from the entire event and if it comes out long before the BIONIC, it’ll be tough to ignore.  And not that I love bragging on our coverage, but our hands-on video and gallery of this device was easily one of the best around.  (Thunderbolt coverage here.)

Honeycomb was brought up more times than you can imagine, except it was no where to be seen unless you tuned into Verizon’s keynote on Thursday.  Otherwise we were all stuck with videos that were preloaded on the XOOM and across a couple of Youtube accounts.  We were a little disappointed at the lack of access to this new version of Android, but when you see how much has changed, you sort of understand why it has taken them so long to polish it off.

Other than that list of topics, we saw some nice new devices from LG and Samsung, but they really were overshadowed by what Motorola was pumping out.  We still got the feeling that they care more about making TVs than they do about mobile phones, which is unfortunate, especially with LG announcing the Optimus 2X as the first Tegra 2 phone ever.  And Samsung, they appear to be saving everything up their sleeves for next month’s MWC (Mobile World Congress) and really just skimmed through a couple of phones.

We were a little disappointed to see only one device running Gingerbread and it’s one that you can already buy, the Nexus S.  Everyone else had “plans” to upgrade their phones, but from what we can tell, all of these beastly 4G devices will launch with 2.2.  Disappointed by that?  We sure are.

The future is bright though, and seriously, you couldn’t turn around without seeing something Android-related.  Hotels surrounding the convention were plastered with 50-floor billboards for mobile phones or services, plus almost every single major media event on Wednesday had some sort of Android announcement in it.  Anyone in the industry with Android ties should walk away from CES 2011 feeling proud.

But to finish this off, I wanted to give you an idea of what encapsulated the entire week for the Droid Life crew in Vegas.  Below is a photo from Verizon’s highlight reel featuring our boy Tim-o-tato front and center doing what he does best in his DL sweatshirt, sneaking into large crowds to be the first to get his hands on everything.  Behind him you can see our Dr. Root (aka MrPicolas) bringing some video and on the bottom right are my hands shooting that HD love that I hope you enjoyed throughout the last 6 days.  We worked hard to bring you coverage of our first major convention and this picture sums it all up nicely.

Oh and this one is just epic.  Check out Tato with Verizon CEO Dan Mead at Verizon’s Palazzo party.  Yep, he actually dropped the horns on him…

It was a long week, but one that we’ll always look back on as this was the first CES for Droid Life, but will definitely not be the last.  We hope you enjoyed everything that we chose to cover at the biggest tech show of the year and are looking forward to a great 2011 with all of you.  We’ve got some amazing devices on the horizon and will as always be bringing you the best coverage of every single one of them.

The rest of our 2011 CES coverage.

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