Your cheat sheet to CES' notable mobile happenings

What's actually challenging, changing, and new at CES 2012? Here's a primer.

The Consumer Electronics Show, CES, is in full swing, and tech reporters and gadget hounds are gathered in Las Vegas to soak up all the newest 3D-HD-4G-Something-Somethings, while simultaneously putting out as many blog posts, headlines, “Hands on” videos and photos, podcasts, and other bits and pieces that add up to a whole lot of, well, talk about CES. Meanwhile, you’re left with a whole lot of announcements and not a lot of context.

So here’s a short list of the things worth talking about at CES in 2012, at least in the mobile realm.

  • Personal dictation software maker Nuance releases Dragon Go! for Android, suggesting the possibility of a “Siri for Android” isn’t something that necessarily has to come from Google itself. Google is, in fact, working on an advanced voice recognition system for Android phones, but it’s interesting that, in the meantime, the company that partnered with Apple to develop Siri is offering a similar kind of contextual voice command app for Android. It’s well worth checking out for any Android owner, especially those who like to look up movies, restaurants, and people on the web.

  • People are talking about Windows Phone, and more specifically, some upcoming phones that are quite interesting. One of those phones could make for Windows Phone’s “Droid” moment, but CES is where tech types are starting to see all the pieces of Microsoft’s Metro-based future coming together: Windows 8, XBOX Live, and Windows Phone.

  • Intel is showing off its reference Android devices, because Intel’s newly mobile-friendly chips are looking to enter the Android game. You can see how the reference model looks and performs in Android Central’s video, but take note that the first actual Intel Android phone will likely look nothing like this.

  • Google’s newest Android phones have NFC chips installed, and the Google Wallet project is all about paying for your stuff with your phone. But Sony is showing off at CES a really neat use of NFC that doesn’t require spending more money. Sony’s SmartTags are tiny little tags that you can place anywhere you want your phone to do something specific. Place one in your bedside drawer, and your phone turns into an alarm clock. Put one in your car, and your Bluetooth goes on, your phone’s car mode activates, and--well, you get the idea. It’s realistically futuristic, and very usable today, which is kind of a rare CES treat.

And that is honestly it. Mostly, CES is a place where the new models of products you already known are shown off, and where prototypes of future products you might already want are put in the best possible light. No, seriously--you probably didn’t need to skip a week of work for CES. Use the time off to bank some time at work so you can wait in line for the next notable phone.

Top photo by LGEPR.

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