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1/8/2013
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CES 2013: Huawei, Sony, ZTE Add To Smartphone Mix

Industry's smaller players continue to trump the big boys with compelling smartphones.

CES 2013: 9 Cool Gadgets
CES 2013: 9 Cool Gadgets
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Tuesday marked the first official day of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. The show floor opened to the tens of thousands of attendees who mobbed exhibitors small and large. Samsung, LG, Motorola and Nokia remained quiet and the smaller smartphone makers stepped in to fill the void. Again.

Sony kicked off its CES press conference with the Xperia Z, its flagship smartphone for the first half of 2013. The Xperia Z has an incredible spec list and a charming design, to boot.

For starters, the Xperia Z includes a 5-inch display with 1920 x 1080 pixels, making it a full HD screen. It uses Sony's Bravia Engine 2 (imported from its television sets) for improved clarity and brightness. The Xperia Z is powered by a 1.5-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2 GB of RAM

One of the standout features is its 13-megapixel EXMOR camera sensor. It has Fast Capture technology to help get those hard-to-capture moments. The camera can shoot 1080p HD video, and supports High Dynamic Range video.

[ From giant tablets to $20,000 televisions, there's a lot to crave about new CES gadgets. CES 2013: 7 Standout Technologies. ]

Sony says the Xperia Z has improved power efficiency through the use of something it calls STAMINA. This feature shuts off select applications whenever the screen is turned off. The apps then supposedly resume instantly when the screen is turned back on.

All of these features are built into a device that is water and dust resistant, and measures just 7.9-mm thick. (Hint, that's pretty thin.) The Xperia Z will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at launch, with an update to Android 4.2 to follow quickly after initial retail availability.

Huawei announced the W1, its first-ever Windows Phone device. Huawei is swinging for the middle of the pack with this device. It has a 4-inch screen with 800 x 480 pixels. The W1 uses colored plastics similar to Nokia's Lumia line and the HTC Windows Phone 8X and 8S. It is light, thin and inexpensive. It includes a 5-megapixel camera, a dual-core 1.2-GHz camera and Windows Phone 8. It will be available in the United States later this year.

Then there's the ZTE Grand S. Continuing a theme, the Grand S packs a 5-inch, full HD display. It has 1920 x 1080 pixels for incredible clarity. The Grand S is powered by a 1.7-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage.

The Grand S boasts a 13-megapixel main camera and a 2-megapixel user-facing camera. Both imagers can record 1080p HD video, which is a bonus. The device supports microSD cards up to 32 GB and LTE 4G networks. U.S. availability of the Grand S has not been announced.

In all, it was an exciting day one for CES, but not from the companies you'd expect to debut big products.

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