New smartphones and tablet devices are released at an ever-quickening pace this time of year, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has been at the center of consumer hopes. Many manufacturers are taking advantage of these expectations, fighting to be among the first to offer a new Android handset based on the completely revamped OS. HTC among them, the Rezound smartphone will ship ready for Android 4.0.
Though it won’t come with ICS right out the box, it's prepared for the software upgrade, which could roll out on the device as early as the beginning of next year. The Rezound offers a 4.3” screen and will be available for Verizon’s 4G LTE network on Nov. 14, priced at $299.99 (with a contract). Focusing on media, the Rezound will come with the advanced audio capabilities of Beats technology, delivering stronger sound through speakers and headsets. It’s yet another way in which OEMs are looking to compete with Apple’s media-centric devicesl, finding their own ways to target entertainment-hungry buyers.
Motorola Xoom 2 ready for work and play, but lacks ICS
Another media-ready device is the Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition, one of the two tablets revealed by the company yesterday. With a slightly smaller screen than its business-ready counterpart, the Media Edition has an 8.2” display, rocks a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and promises a 20 percent improvement over the original Xoom as far as graphics go. The display offers 178 degree viewing angle optimized for media consumption, and also comes with MotoCast to wirelessly stream music, photos and other content between the tablet and a PC. The included “Work and Play” kit lets you connect the tablets to an HDTV, controlling them via a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. What the Xoom 2 family lacks, however, is Android 4.0, a disappointment for many Android fans. While the smartphone sector seems more prepared for ICS, it’s the tablets that truly look to the updated Android OS for a competitive edge.
Google Offers hits the Market just in time for holiday shopping
While Android devices get the star treatment for the nearing holiday season, Google’s rolling out some services of its own. Yesterday, it officially launched the Google Offers app so holiday shoppers will have an easier time nailing down bargains. The app is designed to help you discover, buy and redeem deals on-the-go. You can purchase deals directly from Offers, which aggregates several sources. You’ll also see featured deals, local deals and can use the app to track and manage them as well. The true promise of Google Offers, however, is its ongoing integration with other apps and services. We’re likely to see Offers pop up on Google Maps and other apps from the Google family, as well as third-party apps.