Just two weeks after the furore of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the tech world gathered again to show off what they've been working on for this year. This time, the venue was CeBIT in Hannover, a long-standing tech exhibition that spans 26 massive halls across the grounds. I had a chance to visit CeBIT for the first time this year, from Thursday to Saturday, and I've got to say it was magnificent - definitely go if you have a chance. We had some cool announcements there as well as from other sources in the week, but let's start with the week's biggest headline: Apple's new iPad.
After months of rumours and speculation concerning their next generation mega-tablet, Apple have finally officially announced the new model. Instead of being called the iPad 3, iPad 2S or even iPad HD, it's simply called 'the new iPad.' The big feature of the new iPad is its Retina Display - at 2048 x 1536, it's more than full HD and is double the resolution of the iPad 1 and iPad 2. The tablet also includes an improved A5X processor with quad-core graphics to drive the high-res display, which were ably shown off with the latest version of Infinity Blade. Apple also confirmed after their presentation that the iPad has also been upgraded to 1 GB of RAM, double that of its predecessor.
All of this comes at a price though - but surprisingly, it isn't battery life. Even on the LTE-equipped versions that'll be hitting the Americas, the new iPad still manages 9 hours - the same as the old model. Instead, the drawback (although slight) is that the iPad comes with a slightly thicker chassis, at 9.4 mm overall, and the weight has increased marginally as well. All in all, it's what we expected but it's still an impressive technical achievement that will doubtlessly sell well.
The same press conference also saw the announcement of the latest version of Apple TV, but beyond new support for full HD video (to match the iPad 3 display), there isn't much to write home about - the new iPad was the star of the show this week.
We may have learned a little more about the special relationship between Asus and Google - according to the Digitimes, ASUS is working on a co-branded tablet with Google that could be ready as early as May. The proposed tablet seems similar to the Asus Memo Pad that they announced at CES, but haven't mentioned since - a 7" form factor aimed to beat the Kindle Fire at $199 to $249. The Memo Pad included a Tegra 3 processor and 1280 x 800 dimension display, but these high-end specs might be compromised to hit that aggressive price point.
Elsewhere, it was bad news for another top Android manufacturer. HTC may be having trouble producing their new HTC One series, which includes the HTC One X, One S and One V. According to the rumour, their Taiwan-based TSMC plant is experiencing difficulties with the Snapdragon S4 chip that powers the HTC One XL (the LTE-enabled version of the One X) and the HTC One S. The Pansonic Eluga and Asus Padfone are also using the S4 chipset, and so might face similar delays if the rumours are true.
Finally, an enterprising CeBIT visitor managed to run some browser-based benchmarks of the Orange-based version of the Intel Medfield reference platform. The tests revealed that the Orange Santa Clara is surprisingly capable for its single-core heart, offering similar performance than the current Android browser benchmark leader, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The results are even more impressive given that the phone was running Android Gingerbread; upon the planned upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich the phone should become even more capable.
The biggest manufacturer of Windows Phones, Nokia, today announced their finances for the last year, as required by law. Sadly, it isn't great news for the company - they dropped €1.4 billion in 2011, compared to a €1.3 billion profit the year before. This was largely due to the continuing obsolescence of their Symbian handsets however, and the Windows Phone section of the business has made great strides, going from 0 to number 1 Windows Phone maker in just three months. As Nokia continue to trim the fat, expect them to be able to operate with a small profit for 2012.
One excellent bit of news for owners of the Nokia Lumia 800: An update has been released that reportedly triples the amount of battery life you'll be able to get from the handset. That seems to point to a rather massive bug being fixed, rather than any small adjustment like down-clocking the CPU or stopping a few extra services from running - a worrying mistake, but one that has now been rectified.
So that's it - the biggest headlines from the big three this week. We'll back on the same time next week with all of the latest headlines, so please check in then. If you've got any questions or comments about the post then feel free to contact me via the comments below or via the links just here: