These are other guys who have never appeared on the local tech with any smartphones. Apart from a few posters in downtown Nairobi from resellers offering the Motorola Xoom tablet and spotting the same tablet in a few outlets, that’s as far as it gets. Either you talk feature phones when discussing about the Google acquired company or just shut up and move on to other manufacturers when talking about smart devices locally.
Motorola is a force to reckon with in the US and once in a while is visible in overseas markets like in some European countries.
In 2012, it released a slew of smartphones under the RAZR brand like the RAZR I, the Droid RAZR MAXX HD, RAZR M, Droid RAZR HD and a few others.
What places Motorola in sharp focus come the New Year is not its awful software update cycle but recent rumours that Google is working on a “Smartphone X” and “Tablet X”. These could be the next Nexus devices that we’ll see released with Android 5.0 or could as well be the first devices that Google is making entirely on its own and release to the market the same way Microsoft released the Surface tablet to compete with those from manufacturing partners bundling its software.
Love it or hate but you can’t discuss mobile tech and leave the Cupertino giant out of the equation. Being a pioneer in large scale designing of smart devices with touch interfaces, Apple has gone to bad books in 2012 for its increasing desperation in the name of protecting its “innovations”. The patent cases with Samsung across courts in Europe, Australia and North America remain the highlight of the year.
It is in 2012 that Apple unveiled the new iPad, its third generation tablet and continued with its hold of the tablet market.
It is in the same year that it unveiled its latest smartphone, the iPhone 5 and went on to, unpredictably; release another iPad in a short time frame ditching its usual yearly product release cycle.
Notable of 2012 is iOS 5. This was the mother of them all. While iOS 5 brought the usual new goodies to the iSheep like panorama mode in the camera app, Apple decided to remove a slew of Google apps including YouTube and Google Maps. It is the latter that caused the entire backlash. Apple released its version of Maps that was largely screwed up and became the laughing stock of the internet sparking several memes and mocking tumblrs within hours of iOS 5’s roll out. This sparked an apology from you know who. Fast forward to the end of the year when Google released its own Maps app to the Apple App Store and it received over 10 million downloads in just a day’s time.
With the seeming change in its product release cycle, 2013 will be a year to watch Apple since such changes can mean anything. With increasing competition from Android devices and the rise of rivals like Samsung, Apple finds itself in a tough situation. Its iOS too is in bad need of a revamp since it has remained largely the same for so long.
2012 marked the release of the first Nexus branded tablet. The Nexus 7, made by Asus went on to be a hit. Its 10 inch sibling, the Nexus 10 was just recently unveiled and is yet to make a sure footing. Touting the highest resolution on any tablet, the Samsung-made Nexus 10 and its smaller sibling the Nexus 7 come at a reasonable cost when compared to pricey offerings from other Android manufacturers or Apple.
After shining in 2012, let’s see how they fair in the New Year and what specs their successors will pack.
Apart from financial market reports (that are the subject of discussion and analysis by the relevant people not me) and the departure of the co-CEOs, there has been nothing exciting other than occasional leaks and mock ups of the upcoming Blackberry devices. Well I’ve never been a fan of the BBs, though I use one at work, but for the many BlackBerry fans out there your happy hour is coming on January 30th when the next generation of Blackberry devices running BB OS 10 is announced.
The availability of Kindles locally is still a big issue. Either you get yours online, find a reseller who will obviously overprice it or go grey. Those are the only options available for those interested in getting a Kindle. As Kenyans we are always accused of not having a serious reading culture, well we have an excuse.
Amazon is largely a content provider and hardly a device manufacturer in the sense of LG and HTC but it has been doing well with its Kindles. In fact for a long time before the arrival of the Nexus 7, the Kindles were considered the most successful Android tablets out there.
Recently Jeff Bezos announced the new Kindle lineup and going into 2013, expect it to continue dominating. The 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD, the 7 inch Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Paperwhite are all poised to do well.