Mobile tech busy season: Recap of what's new

The mad season in mobile tech has landed with every major player announcing new products and updates in an assault on our wallets. Here's a recap of what's new in gadgetry.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

Those interested in the hectic world of mobile tech are no doubt overwhelmed with the non-stop product announcements that have followed one after another. Last month was huge as so many new mobile gadgets were announced as companies vied for our holiday spending dollars. Here is a recap of the major new products announced.

Microsoft reimagined

Yoga 13 Win 8 (300x275)

The folks in Redmond led the charge by first shocking the industry with its first computer hardware, followed by the introduction of the brand new Windows 8. The Surface tablets captured a lot of attention that was carried over to the actual product release.

It didn't seem it was Microsoft but the long lines at company stores showed the great interest in the Surface RT tablet, the first out of the gate from the new Microsoft. The $500 tablet running Windows 8 is exciting a lot of buyers if those long lines are an indication. It has certainly captured the interest of Microsoft's Windows partners as Acer has publicly stated it is holding off on producing any Windows RT products to see how well the Surface does in the market.

The Surface RT tablet was launched in conjunction with the new Windows 8, the next version of Windows designed to work on all computing formats. Companies have been announcing all types of laptops and hybrid tablets (like the Lenovo Yoga 13 reviewed here) that should start appearing in time for the holidays.

Microsoft followed the big Surface/Windows 8 roll-out with the same for the next big version of Windows Phone. The modern interface consisting of live tiles on the Windows Phone home screen formed the basis for Windows 8 on the desktop. 

OEM partners with Microsoft have been presenting a stream of smartphones running the new Windows Phone 8, Nokia and HTC chief among them. The new Lumias look like solid entries into the Windows Phone fold, as do the new handsets from HTC. These will start appearing in the market soon to complete Microsoft's efforts to get its hand in our wallets.

Google refreshes across the board

Nexus carousel

The search giant Google has also been busy recently, with a refrest of its entire Nexus line. The new Nexus 4 smartphone running the next version of Android, verstion 4.2, it the first partnership with LG. The phone is a typical Nexus product with the exception of LTE high-speed connectivity. Google has decided to aim the Nexus 4 squarely at the international market and avoid the hassles US carriers bring to the Nexus phone line.

The Nexus 7 tablet was also refreshed adding more memory for the same low $199 price. Google has continued its partnership with Asus for the Nexus 7, the popular 7-inch tablet released early this year.

Rounding out the Nexus line is a brand new 10-inch tablet from Samsung, the Nexus 10. Google is taking the Nexus line to compete directly with the iPad with the Nexus 10.

Samsung Chromebook

All three of these new Nexus products ship with Android 4.2, also announced in conjunction with the new gadgets. Android 4.2, still known as Jelly Bean, brings some notable new features to Android, not the least of which is multiple user login support. It will be possible to pass that Nexus tablet around with each user logging in to his/her own set of apps and user environment.

Most surprisingly, Google has also pushed the Chrome OS platform to the forefront with a partnership with Samsung for the new Samsung Chromebook (reviewed here). The new Chromebook is highly portable and hits the market at a low price of $249. Google has launched a major advertising campaign in the US for this low-cost Chromebook, no doubt to try to capture some holiday spending.

Apple -- new Retina Displays and a major product without

iPad Mini thumb

The latest iPhone hit the market running, with millions sold the first weekend. The larger iPhone 5 continues the iOS march in the smartphone space. It will no doubt be a major seller this holiday season.

Apple also released a smaller 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina Display to join the 15-inch model. Like its bigger sibling, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is expensive. It is also almost as thin and light as the Macbook Air.

The big news from Cupertino was the recent introduction of the iPad mini, a 7.9-inch entry into the iPad line. The smaller tablet is cheaper than the larger iPad but more expensive than the competition. The iPad mini is lacking a Retina Display but initial interest doesn't seem to indicate that is a problem to buyers. 

Record holiday season on tap

The holiday season is fast approaching and these major product introductions pave the way for record buying. Microsoft, Google, and Apple will likely have huge sales given the innovative new products, and along with those sales we should see big sales in the accessory space.

Buyers of these new gadgets will surely snap up cases, covers, and keyboards across the board. It is looking like the entire mobile device ecosystem will have a good year end.

While RIM is hard at work on the BlackBerry 10, the next product line that is looking pretty good, its decision to hold off release until next year puts them out for what should be a huge holiday season. We'll have to see if that turns out to be a major mistake for beleagured RIM.

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