Trending December 2023 # Android 12 Developer Preview Hands # Suggested January 2024 # Top 13 Popular

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Related: Android 12: Everything confirmed and rumored so far

What’s new in Android 12?

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

As is the case with many other early developer previews, we aren’t seeing too many visual changes to the operating system. At least, we’re not seeing the big UI overhaul that was rumored a few weeks ago. However, there are still plenty of little changes here and there.

Android 12 notifications

Based on the first developer preview, how are you liking Android 12 so far?

434 votes

Google says it’ll be quicker to open apps from notifications in Android 12. Now, developers are encouraged to have notification taps trigger Activity starts directly instead of utilizing “trampolines” to start the Activity. These can cause significant delays, so Android 12 actually blocks notification trampolines. It does this by preventing them from launching target Activities. Google says the change will only apply to apps targeting Android 12.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

It’s important to keep in mind that this is a very early developer preview. Things will most definitely change in future releases. At least, I’m hoping Google changes the amount of dimming beneath the notification shade. Usually, pulling down the notification shade applies a dim underlay that lets you see your notifications more clearly. The dimming is nearly gone in Android 12, causing the monstrosity you see above when pulling down your notifications over the settings menu.


Certain parts of the settings menu are also getting a slight visual overhaul. The search bar on the top no longer stretches all the way to the right side of the screen. It’s a bit smaller now, while the profile icon on the right side has been enlarged.

The settings menu will likely get even more of a revamp in future releases. XDA’s Mishaal Rahman found a one-handed mode that can be enabled via a feature flag on some Pixel devices. This essentially applies a Samsung One UI-like layout to the settings menu, complete with large text headers and a layout that should be much easier to reach on big-screened devices. See above for some examples.

Quick settings panel

If you aren’t a fan of certain media players appearing in your quick settings panel, you can now turn that off on a per-app basis. You can do this through a new option in the sound & vibration settings menu. Thankfully, it allows you to toggle on and off each media player you have installed on your phone. So, if you don’t want YouTube to appear in your quick settings but would like to keep Spotify or Pocket Casts, you can now make that happen.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Left: Android 12 developer preview 1, Right: Android 11

Additionally, it should be a little easier to parse those media player notifications on your lock screen and in your quick settings menu. Google has made the media notifications a bit larger. Now, the song title and artist are shown on a single line at the top of the notification. Meanwhile, the player controls are on the bottom and the album artwork is on the left side. It looks a little less compact than before.

Other new Android 12 features

Android 11 already allowed for easier Wi-Fi network sharing, but Android 12 makes it even easier. Now if you’d like to share your Wi-Fi network with someone, just tap the Nearby button that now appears on the Wi-Fi network share screen. That will use Android’s Nearby Share feature to send the Wi-Fi credentials to whomever you’d like. See below.

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Ah, yes. It wouldn’t be an Android developer preview if we didn’t mention scrolling screenshot support. It’s a feature for which we’ve been clamoring for years. Thankfully, it looks like Google is one more step closer to making it a reality.

Again, XDA’s Mishaal Rahman pointed out that Android 12 does indeed have scrolling screenshot support — but it’s not enabled yet. We’re really hoping Google enables this sometime soon. This feature has literally been rumored since April 2023.

Haptic-coupled audio effects

We often talk about how important haptics are to the overall user experience of a smartphone. In Android 12, Google is adding support for haptic-coupled audio effects through your phone’s vibration motor. By using this tool, developers will be able to create more immersive game and audio experiences from the vibration strength and frequency that are derived from audio sessions. Google gives the example of a video calling app using custom ringtones to identify callers through haptic feedback, or a racing game simulating rough terrain through vibration. We have not had a chance to test this feature out, but we’re very excited to see how it works.

Improved Android 12 gesture navigation in immersive mode

Immersive mode kicks in when viewing a full-screen video, game, or reading a book. Usually, Android’s default gesture navigation requires users to swipe in from the side, then again to go back to the previous screen. Now, that second swipe is no longer necessary in things like video viewers or photo galleries: the new default in Android 12 for these circumstances allows you to swipe just one time to go back. Google says it’s still protecting apps from accidental gestures, but this should make exiting full-screen experiences much less cumbersome. If you’re running Android 12, you can try this for yourself by looking at a photo in Google Photos in full-screen mode, then swiping back from the side. Way easier than before.

Project Mainline improvements

Unfortunately, Android has always been associated with slow software updates, but Google is doing its best to make that a thing of the past. In Android 12, Google has added the Android Runtime (ART) module to Project Mainline. By adding this module, Google can issue improvements to runtime performance, manage memory, and make Kotlin operations much faster without requiring a full system update.

HEVC support for unsupported apps

Many of today’s camera apps are able to capture in HEVC format thanks to hardware encoders built into mobile devices. Some apps don’t support the format. For those apps, Google is introducing compatible media transcoding into Android 12, which transcodes files into the AVC format even if the app doesn’t support HEVC. Google says the transcoding process takes time: a one-minute 1080p video at 30fps takes around nine seconds to transcode on a Pixel 4. It will be incredibly easy for developers to opt-in to the transcoding service, too.

Android 12 AVIF image support

Android 12 introduces support for AV1 Image File Format (AVIF). This image format uses the intra-frame encoded content from video compression. In theory, this could “dramatically” improve image quality for the same file size when compared to JPEG images. See above for an example.

Easier rich content insertion in apps

Google is making it easier for apps to move and receive rich content like images, videos, audio files, and more. Android 12 introduces a unified API that lets apps accept content from any source, be it a clipboard, keyboard, or drag and drop. Through a new interface called OnReceiveContentListener, apps will get a callback when content is inserted from another source. This interface is where all content insertion will be handled, no matter the content type.

Multi-channel audio improvements

Android 12 adds support for MPEG-H playback in passthrough and offload modes. Additionally, audio mixers, resamplers, and effects have been optimized for up to 24 channels.

Optimizations to foreground service

Android 12 will block foreground service starts from the background for applications that target Android 12. To help make this possible, Google is introducing a new expedited job in JobScheduler that gets elevated process priority and runs immediately regardless of battery constraints. This should lead to fewer killed apps and smoother app performance. Android 12 will also delay some foreground service notifications by up to 10 seconds, allowing short-lived tasks a chance to complete before notifications are shown. Translation: fewer distractions for users when opening apps from notifications.

Also read: Android 11 review: The devil is in the details

Should you install Android 12?

As with all developer previews, you should install them at your own risk. This is only the first developer preview for Android 12, and it’s meant only for developers. If you choose to install it, be aware that you may run into significant performance-related bugs and various software issues. Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to hold off on installing early builds of Android at least until the first beta build arrives. Even then, you can expect to run into a few annoying bugs.

If you own a Pixel and use it as your primary device (and if you don’t have a secondary device), we do not recommend installing the first Android 12 developer preview. However, if you have a secondary Pixel smartphone lying around that you don’t regularly rely on, then go crazy. You can follow these instructions to install Android 12 on your Pixel.

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Iphone 12 Diary: The Case Arriving Early Gives Me A Hands

Yep, after being all set to buy the iPhone 12 mini – the phone I’d wanted for years – I found myself going to the opposite end of the range: pre-ordering the largest model, not the smallest.

I explained last time the reason for that, but the tl;dr version is that the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the only way to get the best camera …

The reason is a simple one: my iPhone is my main camera. Not my best camera – I have a Sony a6300 as well as a DSLR – but my iPhone is the camera I always have on me, and so the one I use 99.9% of the time. Indeed, it wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that my iPhone is a camera, music player and messaging device which I sometimes use for other stuff.

But, despite all the appealing photo features I listed, I did find myself wavering just a little when it came to placing my pre-order. Indeed, I came this close to ordering both phones to cover myself in case the Pro Max was just too big and I wanted to swap.

As it turns out, that precaution appears unnecessary: if I do decide to return the Pro Max and order the mini, I shouldn’t have long to wait.

I’d already created a cardboard cutout to give me a feel for the size, but the arrival of the leather MagSafe case this morning gave me a more realistic hands-on experience of what it would be like to use such a large phone. You can see it above, pictured next to my iPhone 11 Pro.

The first good news is that it still fits comfortably in my hand. It definitely wouldn’t be usable one-handed without Reachability, but then I never use that anyway as it’s rarely a problem to use my iPhone two-handed.

It also fits very comfortably into all my jacket pockets, including those with a phone-specific pocket.

It does, however, fail the trouser pocket test: fine in slacks, but not jeans or chinos.

This isn’t just an aesthetic or security issue: it means the phone would dig into my hip while cycling, and even if that weren’t uncomfortable I’d be worried about bending it. Not a problem for most seasons, when I’m wearing a jacket, but it is an issue in the summer months, when I’m usually cycling in shirt sleeves. This will mean I’ll have to put it into my bike bag (my handlebar design means there isn’t space to mount it on the bike.)

So, the size does definitely involve compromise. Especially when I think about the alternative of the iPhone mini.

The question, then, will be whether the camera performance makes the pocketability compromise worthwhile. So far, the reviews are somewhat mixed. Most say that the difference is smaller than you’d expect, but Austin Mann did have some convincing evidence that it is significant for low-light shots.

Ok, this kind of difference in such a small element of a photo is pretty irrelevant:

But look at this:

That is, for me, a realistic scenario. I love taking low-light shots when eating out, for example, and to me that’s a night-and-day difference in quality, if you’ll excuse the pun. We also have much more to come when the iPhone 12 Max Pro gets Apple ProRAW later in the year, while the mini won’t.

So for me, the question is only whether I can live with a much larger phone than I’d ideally like – while acknowledging, as I did earlier, that there’s also the possibility that I’ll fall in love with the larger screen.

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The Best Android Alternatives To The Iphone 12 Series

David Imel / Android Authority

The Apple iPhone 12 series is still great, and it’s a viable, more affordable alternative to the iPhone 13 series. iOS isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, though. You may want to move to the Android side, and you’ll be glad to hear there are plenty of iPhone 12 alternatives. Here are some of our favorite ones.

Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list of the best iPhone 12 alternatives.

The best iPhone 12 alternatives

Powerful Android flagship phones stuffed with a ton of features.

Samsung promises three years of system updates for its phones.

Available in a wide variety of markets.

Samsung is Apple’s arch-rival in the mobile space, and the Galaxy S22 range is the Korean firm’s latest offering. These phones pack 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X screens, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Exynos 2200 processors, water resistance, and wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy S22

See price at Amazon



Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

See price at Amazon



Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

See price at Amazon



Powerful flagship phones with high-end experiences.

They lack an IP rating.

Available in global markets (no US release, though).

We’ve been eyeing the Xiaomi 12 series since late 2023, when it was launched in China. These phones were very hard to get anywhere else, but we’ve since seen a global launch, making it easier to recommend the device. That said, the Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro are still hard to get in the USA, but there are multiple ways to import them.

Availability issues aside, these devices are definitely amazing iPhone 12 alternatives. They come with great high-end specs, including a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 8-12GB of RAM, and 128-256GB of storage. Both also feature AMOLED displays with a 120Hz refresh rate, but the Pro version has a slightly larger 6.73-inch QHD+ screen, as opposed to the 6.28-inch 1080p panel found on the Xiaomi 12.

Of course, the Pro version is the better of the two. It comes with an excellent 4,600mAh battery, a triple 50MP camera setup, and 120W charging. It’s also not much more expensive than the base Xiaomi 12. That said, you might enjoy the more manageable size of the Xiaomi 12.

Xiaomi 12

See price at Giztop



Xiaomi 12 Pro

See price at Giztop



Awesome design and powerful performance.

Water resistance and wireless charging.

OnePlus tends to support its phones for as many as three versions of Android.

Now available globally, even in the USA.

Like the Xiaomi 12 series, the OnePlus 10 Pro was first released only in China, making it hard for us to recommend it as an iPhone 12 alternative. It has since been launched globally, though, and even North Americans can buy it from all major retailers.

The OnePlus 10 Pro is not only a great iPhone 12 alternative, but it’s also one of the best high-end phones around, as well as a pretty good deal considering what you get. We’re not fans of the speakers and software, and the IP rating is exclusive to T-Mobile in the USA, but it’s otherwise a competent phone.

Stunning video capabilities are similar to dedicated cameras.

It sports a fantastic 4K, HDR, OLED, 120Hz display.

The design is elegant and simple.

Battery life is solid.

Also: Here’s our Sony Xperia 1 III review

Other specs include a Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. The 4,500mAh battery offers more than a day of regular use. And the camera is equally impressive, with three 12MP sensors (standard, ultrawide, and periscope zoom), especially for video shooters. It can shoot 4K video at up to 120fps. The video quality and stabilization are stunning, and you can even opt for the Cinema Pro app, which is based on Sony FS cinema cameras.

We could say the Sony Xperia 1 III is not only a great iPhone 12 alternative, but also an iPhone 13 one. And if you think the Xperia 1 III is a bit too pricey, the Sony Xperia 5 III is also a great device that costs slightly less, yet keeps most of the best features.

Sony Xperia 1 III

See price at Amazon



These are the first devices with Google’s Tensor chipset.

It sports a new awesome, fun, high-end design.

Like every other Pixel phone, you can expect industry-leading camera quality.

A large battery to keep you going for longer.

Are you looking for more options? We also have a list of the best Android phones available. We have also listed the best gaming phones if you want true power. Additionally, it would help if you also looked into the best camera phones around.

These 12 Mistakes Slow Down Your Android Smartphone, Avoid Them Immediately

1. Ignoring software updates (Android Slow Down Mistakes)

One crucial mistake Android smartphone users make is ignoring software updates. These updates often include important bug fixes, security patches, and performance enhancements. To keep your Android smartphone at optimum performance, do not ignore software updates. Usually, most software updates come as pop-up notifications. However, if you have not received such notification for a long time, you may have to do a manual check. You can manually check for updates by following these simple steps.

How To Check for Software Updates on Your Android Phone

Open the Settings app.

Scroll to the bottom, select System, and tap System Update.

If there is an update available, tap the Install button.

Continue to follow the on-screen steps.

2. Allowing Excessive Background Processes

Having too many apps running in the background can consume valuable system resources. When this happens repeatedly, it will end up slowing down your smartphone. Android smartphones are quite good at handling background applications. However, more apps may pile up in the background than necessary. Most of these may not even be necessary to you. It is important to check and disable apps that you don’t need running in your background.

How to Check and Disable Background Running Apps on Android Smartphones

Open Settings on Your Android Smartphone

Go to the App Settings or Developer Options (depending on your Android version) and review the list of running apps.

Close unnecessary apps or use the “Force Stop” option to halt resource-draining processes.

Uninstall the app if you don’t need it anymore.

3. Overloading the home screen with widgets (Android Slow Down Mistakes) How To Remove Unwanted Widgets from the Home Screen of your Android Smartphone

Press and hold the widget.

Drag them to the “Remove” or “Trash” icon that appears.

Release it once you drag it to the trash icon to remove the widget from your home screen.

4. Running out of storage space (Android Slow Down Mistakes)

Insufficient storage space can hinder your device’s performance. Apart from the processor and RAM, the internal storage is another important factor for your smartphone to run well. No matter the power of your chipset, if the storage is overloaded, you will definitely see a drop in performance. Always make it a habit to delete unnecessary files and apps from your Android smartphone. Doing this will help keep your smartphone in optimum performance at all times.

How to Check Your Storage on Android Smartphones

Open the Settings app.

Scroll down until you find Device Care or About Device.

Tap Storage.

You should now see used and available space.

5. Installing apps from unknown sources How to Delete Unwanted Apps from Your Android Smartphones

Open Settings and select Apps.

Tap on the app you want to delete and select Uninstall.

You may need to confirm by tapping OK.

6. Letting your cache build up within apps

App caches can accumulate over time, leading to slower performance. This is because all apps store temporary files on the smartphone in order to allow them load faster. However, as more app keeps dumping these files over time, some of the files may corrupt. This will lead to abnormal behavior of the apps and end up slowing down your smartphone. Once in a while, you need to clear cache from your Android smartphone to avoid corruption of these temporary files.

How to Clear Cache on Your Android Smartphone

Open the Settings app on your phone and select Storage.

Tap Apps or Other Apps (depending on your Android version).

Select the app whose cache you need to clear.

Now tap Clear Cache within the app’s information page.

7. Ignoring Android’s battery optimization settings How to Activate Power Saving Mode on Android Smartphone

Go to Settings

Customize the settings to suit your usage patterns and conserve battery power.

8. Receiving excessive notifications

Constant interruptions from notifications can disrupt your workflow and drain battery life. Constantly receiving a lot of notifications puts extra pressure on your smartphone’s processor. Therefore, it is important to customize your notifications settings. This will ensure that you only get notifications from apps that you allow.

How to Customize the Do Not Disturb Mode on Android

Swipe down and open the drop-down menu on your Android device.

Press and hold the Do Not Disturb icon until its settings appear.

Now customize which notifications can bypass this mode.

You will have various options, such as People, Apps, and Alarms.

If necessary, schedule a specific time you want the feature to activate.

Finally, turn on Do No Disturb by tapping the icon from the drop-down menu.

Also, you can decide to silence specific apps so that they stop sending you notifications.

How to Turn Off App Notifications

Open the Settings app.

Select Notifications and tap App Notifications.

Toggle the specific app’s notifications off.

9. Neglecting to restart your Android phone

Restarting your Android phone periodically can help clear temporary files and refresh system resources. Simply press and hold the Power button, then select “Restart” from the options provided. Regular restarts can boost performance and resolve minor software glitches.

10. Operating without security measures (Android Slow Down Mistakes)

Ensure your device is running the latest Android version with updated security patches. Most security patches do not come with new features. Because of this, a lot of Android users tend to ignore them. It is worth noting that security patches usually solve a lot of vulnerability issues. They ensure that your smartphone is always secured from all sorts of software loopholes. Hence, always make sure to install security patches as soon as you receive the updates.

How to Install Security Patches

Go to Settings

About Phone

Software Information.

If updates are available, follow the on-screen instructions to install them.

11.Not backing Up (Android Slow Down Mistakes)

Failure to back up your data puts you at risk of losing important files. Utilize Google Drive or other cloud storage options to regularly back up your contacts, photos, videos, and documents. In the event of a data loss or device malfunction, you can easily restore your data and continue seamlessly.

How to Back up Your Files on Google Drive

Open the Google Drive app. (You can download it from the Google Play Store if you don’t have it on your device already).

Select the + button to open the Create New Window.

Tap Upload and choose the files you want to back up.

12. Letting the battery drain to zero (Android Slow Down Mistakes)

However, you need to allow a full cycle once in a while. You need to allow your battery to completely drain out and recharge it again to 100%. Doing this helps optimizes the battery and clear some unwanted caches from your Android smartphone.


Ces Preview: Mobile Technology Will Dominate Everything

Beneath all of the specifics, though, mobile technology will be driving many of the trends on display at CES 2012 in Las Vegas next week. Phones, tablets, and mobile software are soaking up most of the energy and attention in technology today. We’ll see lots of new mobile products and technologies at CES, but we’ll also see older products–laptops, cameras, and even desktop PC OSs–trying to remain relevant by adopting features of mobile devices.

A prime example is the Ultrabook, the year’s hot new laptop design. Ultrabooks are razor-thin and light, but unlike the cheap netbooks of a few years ago, they aim for beautiful, sophisticated designs and enough power to buzz through most of the tasks that an average user needs to perform. You can look at Ultrabooks as Windows versions of the MacBook Air, since Apple’s svelte laptop has clearly helped inspire the new designs. But the Ultrabook is just as clearly a response to the growing popularity of tablets. By cutting the weight of their laptops to a level only slightly greater than that of a full-size tablet, and by focusing on cutting-edge designs, laptop makers can argue that Ultrabooks are almost as portable and just as fashionable as tablets–and that they’re more useful, thanks to the built-in keyboard and ability to run more-capable software.

Tablet makers aren’t focused on the competition from Ultrabooks, however. Instead, they’re trying to figure out how to beat Apple’s iPad. The only tablet that came close to competing with the $500-and-up iPad in 2011 was Amazon’s $200 Kindle Fire. The lesson seems clear: Tablets need to be much cheaper than the iPad to have much of a chance of widespread adoption. Expect to see lots of budget-priced tablets at CES, many of them running the new version of Google’s Android operating system, nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich.

Windows 8 is another example of older PC technology hoping that a mobile makeover will make it look hip again. The most notable part of the new OS is its Metro interface of brightly colored, interactive tiles. That design comes directly from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS, which reviewers have praised, even though it hasn’t yet broken through with consumers.

We don’t expect to see the final version of Windows 8 until the second half of 2012, but at CES we hope to see a more evolved beta version of the software and perhaps to try it out on prototype tablets and laptops designed for the new OS.

Today’s smartphones take decent images; they’re in people’s pockets virtually 24 hours a day; and once you get a great shot, you can share it with friends with the touch of a button. So to combat phones that are becoming more like cameras, cameras must become more like phones. Expect this year’s CES to include lots of phones that allow users to upload images to Facebook, email them to friends, or put them on a photo-sharing service–instantly and wirelessly.

In Short

Tablets: We’re looking for a flood of tablets, including some with budget prices. We also expect to hear some buzz about Windows 8 for tablets.

HDTVs: The HDTV industry will focus on improving the TV-watching experience, with less emphasis on improving the TVs themselves.

Laptops: We anticipate announcements of thin-and-light Ultrabook laptops equipped with Intel’s upcoming line of CPUs (code-named “Ivy Bridge”) that promise improved graphics capabilities.

Smartphones: Perhaps we’ll see the first LTE Windows Phone for AT&T, or maybe a Sony Ericsson phone equipped with a 13-megapixel camera.

Cameras: Look for Wi-Fi-enabled imaging devices as camera manufacturers try to beat the competitive heat from smartphones. We also expect to see a lot of very small cameras with big optical-zoom ranges.

Desktop PCs: The biggest desktop PC news likely to come out of CES will involve the inclusion of Ivy Bridge CPUs, and the emergence of thinner, lighter all-in-one PCs.

Networking: We’re looking forward to demos of a new wireless standard that will mark the next step up from 802.11n.

Apps: Expect a deluge of apps, including some that will be available in new cars from Ford.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation’s largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld’s complete coverage of CES 2012.

Next: Tablets, HDTVs, Laptops


Tablets will be everywhere at CES. I expect to encounter a wide range of screen sizes, from the 5-inch displays of oversize phones/miniature tablets to screens with diagional measurements of 10.1 inches or more. And we’ll probably see many different features in these tablets (stand-alone GPS! waterproof! 3D!).

Android 4.0’s blanketing approach will ultimately benefit consumers: It encourages competition and invites more options, as well as lower prices overall. It also means that you’ll have to be smart about what you’re purchasing, in order to avoid buying a clunker that touts its shiny new Android 4.0 OS, but may contain subpar components elsewhere that slow the tablet experience to a crawl.

For tablet makers, Android 4.0 isn’t the only big selling point this year. The other is Windows 8. I’ve received word of several Windows 8 tablets that will be shown (though some may be behind closed doors only), and smaller vendors are already touting “Windows 8-ready” tablets, a designation that presumably means the tablet has the guts and screen resolution needed to run Windows 8. –Melissa J. Perenson


Most of the really interesting HDTV-related stuff that I expect to see at CES this year will involve experimental or otherwise not-ready-for-market TV tech demos. The actual 2012 lineup, meanwhile, will consist largely of unimpressive incremental updates to last year’s sets. In other words, the theme for the show in the HDTV category will be “Bet You Can’t Wait Until 2013!”

Consider LG’s upcoming 55-inch OLED TV. Undoubtedly it will look beyond beautiful, and the new manufacturing process that the company used to achieve its extralarge size will (I hope) help reduce OLED manufacturing costs dramatically. But bear in mind that LG’s 15-inch OLED TV from 2010 debuted at $2700–the same price as a top-of-the-line 55-inch LED TV.

Likewise, people have been working on glasses-free (“autostereoscopic”) 3D TV for a long time, and we’ve seen prototype sets at CES for several years now. This year I expect some manufacturer to show off an almost-market-ready glasses-free 3D TV that is as watchable as a normal TV–and it will probably reappear at CES 2013, with a projected release date and a price tag.

I predict that the HDTV industry will focus this year on improving the TV-watching experience, not on hugely upgrading the TVs themselves. Though TV manufacturers won’t have a lot of new ways to boost their HDTV specs, they may try to make their image-tweaking options more user-friendly (and include even more useful preset modes). They won’t be able to add many new content channels to their streaming video catalog, but they will be working on touchscreen remotes and smartphone/tablet apps that make searching and navigating through your many options easier. All in all, you can expect to get more TV from your buck in 2012–but don’t plan on seeing much shiny new tech this year. –Patrick Miller


The stars of the show, where laptops are concerned, will be Ultrabooks. Only a few Ultrabooks had reached market by the end of 2011, but we’ll see dozens of models debuting throughout 2012. Many will be configured with CPUs from Intel’s upcoming line code-named “Ivy Bridge,” which resembles today’s Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors, but with improved graphics capabilities and lower power use. The improvements should make Ivy Bridge perfect for thinner, lighter laptops. In addition to dozens of new laptops from current manufacturers, we may see one or two companies entering the field for the first time. Like Razer with its Blade gaming laptop, companies better known for other categories of tech products may sense an opportunity in the laptop PC market.

I hope to see at least one Ultrabook with discrete graphics. It doesn’t have to be high-end–even a modest GPU from Nvidia or AMD would easily outclass the integrated graphics in Intel’s chips, even with the improvements in Ivy Bridge. I’d much rather see discrete graphics than an optical drive, and I know companies will be building Ultrabooks with those. Laptops equipped with responsive touchscreens, in preparation for Windows 8, would be nice another treat at CES 2012. Whatever the laptop manufacturers have to announce, I hope it doesn’t involve stuffing thick, heavy plastic machines with an array of parts to produce the cheapest laptop possible. Let’s hope that the days of the crappy $500 laptop are behind us.

Windows 8 looms large over the whole PC industry, including laptops. Though it’s unlikely to be released until the latter half of the year, the OS is probably going to very big–or at least heavily marketed. New Windows releases tend to possess a halo effect that lifts PC sales; and since Windows 8 is the most dramatic change to Windows in the last few years, the lift this time around could be larger than usual. With any luck, we’ll see an updated version of Windows 8 at CES that will give us a hint about what’s in store for us in February when the public beta appears. We may even get an early peek at laptops or convertible tablets designed with Windows 8 in mind. –Jason Cross

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation’s largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld’s complete coverage of CES 2012.

Next: Smartphones, Cameras, Desktops


CES is a hot-or-cold show for mobile phones. With Mobile World Congress slated to take place the very next month, and with CTIA happening in May, previous CES events have been a bit on the quiet side for phone news.

Nevertheless, CES 2011 was a big year: Verizon unveiled its first LTE 4G phones, including the HTC Thunderbolt and Droid Bionic; AT&T stepped up its Android game with the Motorola Atrix 4G; and LG revealed its superslim Optimus phones. Will this year be equally exciting? It’s hard to say. [Read: “15 Sizzling Smartphones of CES 2011.”]

Speaking of the Windows Phone OS, Nokia is expected to announce a U.S. version of its flagship Lumia 800 phone. According to rumor, the Lumia “Ace” 900 is larger than its European sibling, with a 4.3-inch display rather than a 3.7-inch display. The Lumia 710 for T-Mobile has already been announced; but some additional, lower-end Nokia Windows Phones may also make an appearance.

We probably won’t see the Samsung Galaxy S III at CES, since the company traditionally announces its flagship phones at Mobile World Congress. However, some affordable Galaxy phones are likely to show up. Likewise, LG tends to make its big announcements in February, but I’m hoping to get my hands on the flashy new LG Prada, which rolled out in Europe and Asia last month. Sony Ericsson, which is rebranding as Sony, has a few press events at the show. I expect to see at least one new Xperia phone, which may be the rumored “LT28at” (and which I hope has a catchier name at launch). This Sony Ericsson Xperia supposedly comes with a 13-megapixel camera (yes, 13 megapixels), LTE and HSPA radios, a 4.55-inch display, and a front-facing camera. –Ginny Mies


Expect a bigger-than-usual crop of camera announcements at this year’s CES, as 2012 marks the first year that the annual PMA (Photo Marketing Association) will occur simultaneously with CES. PMA usually sees more high-end camera announcements in the realm of DSLRs, compact interchangeable-lens cameras, and lenses; whereas CES tends to be a showcase for point-and-shoots and relatively beginner-friendly photography devices.

Big optical zoom ranges in very small cameras are another big trend, as the pocket megazoom category has grown in popularity over the years. In the past year, we saw pocketable cameras with optical-zoom reaches of up to 20X–specs that required a camera about the size of a DSLR just a few years ago. What’s more, cameras with zoom ranges of up to 12X have become more pocketable than ever; at less than an inch thick, they’re smaller than some 3X-optical-zoom cameras from just a few years back.

For an in-depth discussion of what to expect in the cameras category at CES and beyond in 2012, see “Camera and Camera-Phone Trends to Expect in 2012” and “CMOS Is Winning the Camera Sensor Battle, and Here’s Why” –Tim Moynihan

Desktop PCs

The biggest desktops news out of CES will be the long-awaited appearance of Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs. These processors will make thinner, faster all-in-one PCs possible, cutting down on power consumption while boosting performance–theoretically.

Expect the new all-in-ones to be thinner, faster, and equipped with larger screens. Their tower counterparts will continue to shrink, primarily targeting folks who need a media-center PC or want an inexpensive Web-surfing machine. Massive, performance-level desktop PCs will be out in force, too, but they will be aimed at exclusively at content producers who need lots of horsepower, and at gamers.

It’s probably too soon for actual products to make the rounds, but I hope to see a few prototypes of impossibly slim all-in-ones and monstrous gaming rigs running Intel’s latest and greatest processors. –Nate Ralph

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation’s largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld’s complete coverage of CES 2012.


Besides encountering all kinds of dual-band, 802.11n, and high-power routers for home use, we expect to see new, more-powerful hybrid routers that use your home’s power line to extend your connection into rooms where other desktops or Internet-capable TVs might not otherwise enjoy wired Internet. The routers will also be able to use that connection to expand wireless Internet coverage to hard-to-reach rooms.

Another item generating some buzz is the upcoming debut of consumer routers that operate on a new wireless standard that represents the next step up from 802.11n. The new version will operate on the high-frequency 60GHz band of spectrum, and proponents say that it’ll be blazing fast for wireless connections–delivering almost 7 gigabits per second. The downside of the new standard is that, since it operates at such high frequency (most routers today use the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands), it functions at only a very short range before the wireless signal begins to disintegrate.

I expect to see a demo from Wilocity (one of the forerunning distributors of chipsets designed to work on a 60GHz band) on the speed and range of the new standard. This may provide a taste of what a future of fast, short-range wireless on top of slower, long-range wireless will be like. –Megan Geuss


The number of augmented-reality apps should pick up steam at CES, promising new “Kinect-like” features such as gesture recognition.

On the business side, apps that provide IT support are likely to be a big hit among companies that let their employees use their own smartphones for work.

Phones and tablets won’t be the only things running apps this year: Ford will demonstrate more apps for its new line of “connected cars,” which the auto maker says will contribute to a much more enjoyable driving experience. For people who want to view and work with apps on something bigger than a 10-inch display, TV manufacturers such as Samsung will make another big push to promote app-centric “smart TVs.” –Armando Rodriguez

Windows Phone 7 Series Hands

Windows Phone 7 Series hands-on

Microsoft have officially launched Windows Phone 7 and with it the Windows Phone Series, promising we’ll see the first devices on the market in time for the holiday 2010 shopping season.  Windows Phone 7 marks a new, more end-user aware phase for the platform, with Zune and Xbox integration, together with stricter controls over the overall end-user experience: third-party UIs, such as HTC Sense, will not be allowed (though OEMs will be able to add into the new WP7 UI), and while they’re not yet revealing the details, Microsoft have a long technical specifications list for handset manufacturers that will better standardize the platform.

There are no handsets debuting today – though HTC, Dell and Qualcomm are among the manufacturers onboard – and all of the demo devices are unbranded, generic models specially built by ASUS.  Still, they’re a decent example of what we can expect: a large, multitouch-friendly capacitive touchscreen with a glass front, three front-panel buttons (back, Start and search), GPS and a rear-mounted camera.  They also have a front-facing camera, though there won’t apparently be support for it natively in Windows Phone 7, and OEMs are limited to what hardware controls they can add; it’s pretty much down to volume buttons, camera shortcut and power.

Windows Phone 7 Series hands-on video:

The on-screen Start button has been retired, and the hardware Windows flag now takes you directly to a blocky homescreen.  Each app on the screen is dynamically represented, pulling in the user’s content and constantly shifting; the gallery icon, for instance, transitions through recent shots from the camera.  Microsoft contrasted it to the iPhone OS, where the extent of user app customization is rearranging the icon layout on their homescreen; Windows Phone 7, meanwhile, pushes up constant reminders of the user’s content.  Swiping to the right, however, gives instant access to the entire app list, again something prompted by user requests for easier access.  Microsoft have created six “hubs” – People, Pictures, Games, Music + Video, Marketplace and Office – which collate similarly themed content.  So, the Music + Video hub resembles the Zune HD UI, and if you install a media plugin, such as Pandora (which Microsoft also announced today), it will integrate in here.  The Games hub links in with a user’s Xbox Profile, and you can modify your profile, view those of others, and play games (though Microsoft haven’t announced a list of titles yet).  The People hub pulls in updates from across the phone and various linked services – though we only saw Windows Live and Facebook mentioned – and you can post your own updates and read those of others.

Microsoft are retiring not only their “Windows Mobile” nomenclature but ActiveSync and any other desktop sync app they’ve used in the past.  Instead, the Zune desktop manager software is being rolled-out worldwide, and that will be used to sync Windows Phone 7 devices.  Both wired and WiFi sync will be possible, which is long-overdue.

Confirmed carrier partners includes AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, while manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC, HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm are on-board.  Those partners won’t be able to change the onscreen QWERTY keyboard – which is one of seven layouts (including numeric) Microsoft have developed – but they will be able to add on a hardware QWERTY.  For the moment, since Microsoft have screen aspect ratio specifications, they’ll have to be landscape rather than portrait QWERTY devices, too.  In the display units Microsoft showed us, the accelerometer wasn’t working properly, but final devices will flip automatically between portrait and landscape on-screen keyboard layouts.

We had a chance to try out some of the prototypes – though not take photos or video yet – earlier on today, and first impressions are reasonably positive.  Microsoft were at pains to point out that it’s still an in-development build, and indeed we saw various bugs and slow-downs.  Often these would take place when opening an app, with data being pulled in but no on-screen indication of that taking place nor its progress.  The touchscreen on the development device seemed responsive, as was the onscreen keyboard, and the animations are smooth.  The browser supports pinch-zoom and will eventually reflow text on a double-tap.

Windows Phone 7 UI Demo:

Press Release:

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series

New phones designed for life in motion to debut at holiday 2010.

BARCELONA, Spain – Feb. 15, 2010 – Today at Mobile World Congress 2010, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the next generation of Windows® Phones, Windows Phone 7 Series. With this new platform, Microsoft offers a fresh approach to phone software, distinguished by smart design and truly integrated experiences that bring to the surface the content people care about from the Web and applications. For the first time ever, Microsoft will bring together Xbox LIVE games and the Zune music and video experience on a mobile phone, exclusively on Windows Phone 7 Series. Partners have already started building phones; customers will be able to purchase the first phones in stores by holiday 2010.

“Today, I’m proud to introduce Windows Phone 7 Series, the next generation of Windows Phones,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience. We believe Windows Phone 7 Series is a phone that truly reflects the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people.”

Designed for Life in Motion

With Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft takes a fundamentally different approach to phone software. Smart design begins with a new, holistic design system that informs every aspect of the phone, from its visually appealing layout and motion to its function and hardware integration. On the Start screen, dynamically updated “live tiles” show users real-time content directly, breaking the mold of static icons that serve as an intermediate step on the way to an application. Create a tile of a friend, and the user gains a readable, up-to-date view of a friend’s latest pictures and posts, just by glancing at Start.

Windows Phone 7 Series creates an unrivaled set of integrated experiences on a phone through Windows Phone hubs. Hubs bring together related content from the Web, applications and services into a single view to simplify common tasks. Windows Phone 7 Series includes six hubs built on specific themes reflecting activities that matter most to people:

* People. This hub delivers an engaging social experience by bringing together relevant content based on the person, including his or her live feeds from social networks and photos. It also provides a central place from which to post updates to Facebook and Windows Live in one step.

*Pictures. This hub makes it easy to share pictures and video to a social network in one step. Windows Phone 7 Series also brings together a user’s photos by integrating with the Web and PC, making the phone the ideal place to view a person’s entire picture and video collection.

* Games. This hub delivers the first and only official Xbox LIVE experience on a phone, including Xbox LIVE games, Spotlight feed and the ability to see a gamer’s avatar, Achievements and gamer profile. With more than 23 million active members around the world, Xbox LIVE unlocks a world of friends, games and entertainment on Xbox 360, and now also on Windows Phone 7 Series.

* Music + Video. This hub creates an incredible media experience that brings the best of Zune, including content from a user’s PC, online music services and even a built-in FM radio into one simple place that is all about music and video. Users can turn their media experience into a social one with Zune Social on a PC and share their media recommendations with like-minded music lovers. The playback experience is rich and easy to navigate, and immerses the listener in the content.

* Marketplace. This hub allows the user to easily discover and load the phone with certified applications and games.

* Office. This hub brings the familiar experience of the world’s leading productivity software to the Windows Phone. With access to Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace all in one place, users can easily read, edit and share documents. With the additional power of Outlook Mobile, users stay productive and up to date while on the go.


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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