Editor's Letter: CES ahoy

Tim Stevens
T. Stevens|01.04.13

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Tim Stevens
January 4th, 2013
In this article: column, editorsletter
Editor's Letter: CES ahoy

In each issue of Distro, editor-in-chief Tim Stevens publishes a wrap-up of the week in news.

It's very nearly time, dear readers. CES is just a few days away. By the time you read this I'll be boots on the ground in Las Vegas, with nearly the entire Engadget team filtering in to Sin City through the weekend. The days ahead of the show will see us setting up our base of operations, the usual vinyl-wrapped double-wide trailer parked just outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center, from which we can dash to anywhere on the show floor and return quickly, getting the news up and into your browser within minutes.

In addition, like last year, we'll have a stage right on the show floor from which we'll be doing live interviews and demonstrations of the just-announced products, and if last year is any indication, we'll have some announcements being made right on the stage, too. And don't miss our video podcast from the show floor every night at 8PM PT. It should be an incredible week and, if that weren't enough, I'm headed straight to Detroit afterward for the North American International Auto Show to dig for some news on techy autos. Nothing like back-to-back show floor insanity.

So that's the week to come. What about the week we've just completed? Well it was, somewhat predictably, another quiet one, the biggest news being not one but two new mobile operating systems getting demonstrated. The first was Sailfish from Jolla, effectively an evolution of MeeGo running (at least currently) on Nokia developer hardware. It extends on the simplistic beauty of its core OS with a suite of intuitive gestures and haptics, creating what is ultimately a lovely package.

Both Sailfish and Ubuntu have one major problem: no support from manufacturers.

The other option is Ubuntu for smartphones from Canonical, which brings the mega-popular open source OS to mobile devices, specifically those designed for Android. Again, it's an intuitive and nice-looking package, but both of these have one major problem: no support from manufacturers. Neither had any partners to announce, but you will at least be able to download a Galaxy Nexus-friendly version of Ubuntu within the coming weeks.

Apple's New Year's woes continued into 2013. In years past we've seen iOS alarms mysteriously stop working on January 1st. This year, it's the iOS 6 Do Not Disturb Mode bugging out and not disabling itself as usual. Apple is aware of the issue and quickly issued a response -- but not a particularly satisfactory one. The solution is to wait until January 7th, and in the interim just manually disable Do Not Disturb. Yeah.

Netflix had its own embarrassing holiday outage, going offline for many players on December 24th. However, it wasn't exactly its own fault. The company posted an explanation this week, predictably pointing the finger at Amazon Web Services and explaining that not every streaming device was knocked offline. The company is working to add new redundant features, ones that are said to be very expensive -- but probably not nearly as costly as that Disney partnership the company just locked down.

If you're still having a hard time finding a Nexus 4 things should be getting easier soon. TmoNews received a document stating that the handset is coming to all T-Mobile retail locations this month, which should handily ease any lasting supply issues -- for those who didn't want Google's unmolested version, anyhow.

LG's 55-inch OLED TV, which wowed us at the 2012 CES, is now up for pre-order. For the low, low price of just 11 million won you can get yours -- a sum equating to about $10,000 US. The set will start shipping to lucky (and well-heeled) Korean consumers sometime next month, but there's still no word on an official release in the US. Given that it's only 4mm thick and weighs 22 pounds, the import shipping fees should at least be relatively small.

Finally, OUYA got a little more competition this week in the form of the GameStick. It's another Android-based minimalist console, this one so svelte it slots right into its wireless controller. Pop it out and the device, which is shaped like a thumb drive, plugs into an HDMI port and requires no external power. At $79, it's slightly cheaper than OUYA but Kickstarter supporters will have to be a bit more patient, with the system not shipping until April.

In this week's Distro we've brought you everything you need to know as we lead up to CES with our in-depth previews of every major device category. This, of course, is just a taste of what's to come next week, where we'll be giving you daily issues of Distro right from the show floor, detailing all the excitement -- and all the Crapgadgets, too. And, with our new Windows 8 version of the Distro app, I'm happy to say you can join in the fun on more platforms than ever. So, with that I invite you to kick back and celebrate the conclusion of the first few days of work in the new year, and get excited for a crazy week to come.

Tim Stevens is Editor-in-chief of Engadget and Editorial Director for AOL Tech. You can find him on Twitter at @tim_stevens.

This piece originally appeared in Distro #72.

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