CES 2011: OS Watch Goes Gadgets

LAS VEGAS -- 2011 International CES -- Android stole the show here in Vegas at the International CES , storming in on tablets, Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices and more smart phones than we can count. But it wasn't the only mobile operating system making noise.

LR Mobile attended the press conferences, braved the lines for the keynotes, and took to the massive show floor to find out what companies are making moves and which moves will matter. Here's what we found out:
  • Frag Watch: Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) squelched the rumor that Android 3.0 Honeycomb devices, like the new Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) Xoom, would require dual-core chipsets, which would limit older devices from upgrading to the latest software. Dan Morrill, head of Android open source, tweeted that there's no minimum processor requirement to run the tablet-centric OS.

    But, just because dual-core processors aren't required, doesn't mean they won't vastly improve the user experience. Android's latest OS, Honeycomb, was built specifically for tablets. Lesser versions aren't likely to deliver the same level of performance; hence the reason most Honeycomb tablets announced at CES chose to have dual-core chips on board anyway. (See CES 2011: The Daily Tablet and CES 2011: Moto's 4G Gadgets Blur Lines.)

  • RIM's 4G Play: BlackBerry is one company excited about dual-core processors, which it plans to use in future QNX-based "superphones," it reiterated this week. That's the OS it uses in the PlayBook tablet, which was on display -- and surrounded by hoards of people -- for the first time at CES. RIM announced that the device will run on Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s WiMax network this summer. (See OS Watch: LG Gives Android a Dual Core.)

  • Windows Phone 7: Besides confirming an update to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) didn't have much to say about mobile. CEO Steve Ballmer did introduce an array of tablets, featuring touch screens, slider keyboards and dual screens, but they feature the Windows OS, not Microsoft's mobile version, which it says isn't suited for the larger screen. The company announced that the next version of Windows will run on system on a chip architectors from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) and ARM Ltd. . (See CES 2011: Microsoft... That's It?)
  • Samsung Plans MWC Catch-up: Samsung Corp. rolled out its fair share of tablets and smart phones at CES, but it's promising more in store for next month's Mobile World Congress. CEO JK Shin said in his keynote address that Samsung will introduce dual-core applications, "next-generation tablets" in both 3G and 4G flavors and new WP7 devices, potentially in 4G, at the show in Barcelona. It didn't join competitors Motorola and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) in introducing new Android 3.0 tablets at CES, but as the US's leader in Android sales, you can bet that's on the list for MWC too.

  • CES No Shows: Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), as usual, only showed up via most attendees' personal products, but HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ)'s Palm Inc. only got a small section of the show floor and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Symbian Ltd. made no noise at all. For HP, the reason is that it's holding its own event on February 9, where it's expected to unveil a webOS-based tablet.

  • Android Steals the Scene: Even with the other OSs vying for attention, there's no denying Android was the standout of CES and the favored carrier partner. Check out some of the biggest Android-related stories of the week, spanning tablets, smart phones and the connected home:

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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