Every year the bar is raised and new leaps in technology push our Android expectations higher. 2012 promises to be no different. This list explores some of the delights we have to look forward to in the coming 12 months.
Sony Xperia S
The Sony Xperia S was unveiled at CES 2012 and will be released in the UK in March of this year. This phone is shipped with a 4.3 inch LED display, 1.5 GHz dual core processor and a 12 mega pixel camera. The Xperia S will not ship with Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), but an update to Androids latest OS is expected early in 2012.
The Sony Xperia S is a great looking phone with good specifications out of the box and many users will be enticed by the predicted low pricing point, which will drop throughout the year. Some hardcore speed freaks may opt for other manufacturers promising Quad-Core processor phones later in 2012.
Motorola Droid 4
Fans of smartphones with a qwerty keyboard will be happy to fest their eyes on this little beauty. The Motorola Droid 4 is a surprisingly thin phone considering it’s hiding a keyboard underneath the screen. A keyboard which has been receiving rave reviews and is said to have a similar feel to that of a laptop keyboard.
The Droid 4 has impressive specs to boot. With a vivid 4 inch touchscreen, 1.2Ghz dual core processor, 8 megapixel camera and 16 GB internal storage you wont be left wanting. The Droid 4 is a great offering from Motorola and will be shipped with Android’s Gingerbread OS. Motorola has stated that this phone will receive an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich in the second quarter of 2012.
Motorola Droid Razr Maxx
The Droid Razar Maxx boasts similar specifications to it’s qwerty keyboard cousin, including processor and memory, but obviously minus the qwerty keyboard. The phones look very similar in their general design and feel.
The standout feature of this phone is the 3300 mAh Li Ion battery which the manufacturer says gives up to 21.5 hours of talk time. These manufacturer numbers have always been somewhat over exaggerated but with this claim one must stand up and take notice. If you’re in the market for a new smartphone and you’re sick of your current device’s battery dying just as you pound that paper toss, this should be a consideration for you.
Samsung Galaxy Note
The Samsung Galaxy Note is, in a word, a monster! It looks big and feels BIG in the hand. Which is not surprising as it boasts a 5.3 inch touch screen. This phone appears to be an inbred cousin of a tablet and a phone. It seems confused and I’m guessing it lays awake at night wondering….’Am I a tablet, or a smartphone’? Another result of this inbreeding is the stylus pen, which may suggest a form of mutilation has occurred from the mammy tablet / daddy smartphones nasty hi-jinks.
I’d almost feel pity for this sorry lump, but it needs no pity from me or anyone else. The specs on the Galaxy note are top notch and the screen is amazingly clear. If you want your phone to be a portable cinema in your pocket this could be for you. But be warned, it feels like you have an actual cinema in your pocket, no exaggeration!
Samsung Galaxy S Blaze
This is yet another Samsung phone coming under the Galaxy umbrella, and it’s promising to be kick ass. As usual this Galaxy phone has great specs including a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S3, and a Super AMOLED display. Screen size and resolution are yet unknown.
There’s a distinct lack of information available on this phone. We do know its coming in 2012 (whop di doo), and that it will feature on T-Mobile in the US. Apart from that we just have to sit tight and keep entertained watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
One of the best features of this phone is the excellent display, which is not surprising considering LG’s background . The phone ships with 4GB of internal storage, with room for expansion up to 32GB. A dual-core 1.5 GHz Scorpion processor adds to the appeal of this upper end phone. As with many phones on this list the LG Spectrum will ship with Gingerbread and an upgrade to ICS is expected by June of this year.
But hold your horses… theres bad news! As with other manufactures using the Android platform, LG has made some modifications, many of which we feel are unnecessary. For example the app’s list is split into several categories which makes finding an app a painful process for you and your finger.
Looking and feeling this phone did not stir emotion in my pants and left a feeling of middle aged complacency when I was wishing for youth and happiness. I’d recommend buying this phone after the entry price drops and when your granny is feeling generous.
Kyocera Speaker-less Smartphone (Prototype)
Its good to see a phone maker pushing the boundaries of what’s currently expected from smartphones. The Kyocera Speaker-less smartphone sends vibrations into your ear canal which vibrate your ear-drum / bone and causes your brain to intemperate the sound.
The benefits of this system include:
- Increased ability to hear the phone in a crowed place, or somewhere with a high level of background noise.
- Beneficial to people who are hearing impaired.
- Reduced battery consumption.
- Reduced damage on eardrum.
At this point it’s hard to say if this innovative and new technology will make it onto mainstream handsets, just keep your ‘ears’ pealed for further updates.
The Lenove S2 is designed with supple rounded edges which, at first glance, make it similar to the the Google Nexus S. But that’s where the similarities end. This chunky monkey ships with Gingerbread inside its big belly. Lenovo have decided to modify the Android OS and have added several skins to ‘enhance user experience’. I’m not going to comment on these modifications, but some might say the added skins could be described by a word that starts with S and sounds like Pucks.
The Lenono’s spec’s are, well, adequate. The 3.8 inch screen does offer a good alternative to the smaller handed folk of the world. This phone may be to someones taste, but for me too much salt has been added to the cake.
At what point is a phone more of a camera than a phone? Well seeing that Polariod are now bringing out a camera with the Android operating system I think we can safely say the line is well and truly blurred. The device sports a 16MP camera for pictures and HD quality video. it has 3x optical zoom and a 5x digital zoom with a built in flash. As a phone it has a 3.2 inch screen and the usual 3G radio, wifi, bluetooth etc.
Polorid have added their own version of Android and there are reports of lags, hopefully these will be ironed out by the released date of April. For me the look is the best thing about this phote it hints back at 70’s camera with the black cracked vinyl and its great to see the polaroid logo on some mod technology. One question though… will you look odd with a camera held to your ear as you walk down the street?
Motorola DEFY+ JCB Edition
Builders and phones do not mix, that is a fact!! Show me a builder or painter or anybody who works on a building site and I’ll show you a phone battered and abused to within an inch of its digital existence, (John Crean’s phone comes to mind). But fear not Motorola may have a solution… they teamed up with JCB give us a very rugged looking Motorola DEFY. Not only have JCB added their “patented visco-elastic protective sleeve” to bulk up the phone, extra apps have been added to give you a Toolbox on your phone. Apps such as a spirit level, a torch, a decibel meter and even a theodolite, which sounds pretty cool.
Fujitsu’s ARROWS µ F-07D
Ok its got a strange name thats for sure and looks may not be to everybody’s liking but Fujitsu’s ARROWS µ F-07D has got some very unique features and a great spec. Starting with a 4 inch screent he smartphone also has a 1.4 Snapdragon processor, pretty nifty! Throw in 512MB RAM and a 1GB ROM and it’ll be a flyer. What sets it apart I hear you ask….? Well its waterproof! and only 6.7mm thick… also has the latest e-wallet functionality otherwise known as near field communications (NFC) and I did say its unique… Fujitsu have added a digital tv tuner just just for good measure, not sure it it’ll pick up saorview though!
Samsung Galaxy Y
Most android users will be familiar with Samsung and their range of Galaxy smart phones, for 2012 Samsung are bringing an economy version to their Galaxy family. Enter the Samsung Galaxy Y. Economy means cheap, in the states you can get this for €129 on a prepay package, no doubt this baby will be renamed/rebranded and launched in most every other nether region of the world, bringing Android bargain basement bitesize phones to the masses, but be warned, with low price comes low specs… and you cant get much lower than a 3 inch screen on a smartphone, needle fingers are the ready! that said it has all the usual android functions and hardware including GPS, Wi-Fi, bluetooth etc. Not quite throw away prices but it’s getting there!
HTC Velocity 4G
Also known as the HTC Raider 4G in the USA the Velocity 4G is available now in Australia. It is the first 4G smartphone on any Oz network and this one packs a punch. A huge 4.5 inch screen with a 1.5GHz dual core processor it’s a top notch high end smartphone. The Velocity 4G is an example of the type of phones which will become more popular as 4G networks take hold in the USA and around the world, big screens deserve better quality meaning more bandwidth! It launches with Android 2.3 Gingerbread but undoubtedly the ice cream sandwich update will become available for it.
Sugar n’ Spice… is it all things nice…? Well considering the price bracket this phone is targeted at that being similar to the Samsung Galaxy Y it’s not a bad bit of kit at all. You have a slightly bigger screen than the Y at 3.5 inches (still small by all accounts though) and you have the dual sim functionality which is not an option on the Y. Design wise I quite like it although it may not be to everybody’s tastes… the aluminium body makes it somewhat chunky but gives it he feeling of being well built. It also has a rubber surround offereing a sung fit in your hand.
HTC have let things slip in recent times with regards phone design, allowing Samsung to swoop in. The Galaxy S II being the one of the best phones currently on the market, fullstop. HTC will want something special to claw back customers… the HTC Ville might just do that! Immediately you’ll notice the VIlle is extremely thin at only 8mm its thinner than the iPhone 4s but also the Samsung Galaxy S II, not an easy feat of engineering! Early rumors suggest you’ll get a 4.3 inch screen, Icecream sandwich, 1.5GHz dual core processor and an 8MP rear facing camera with a flash and not a single flimsy plastic back in sight! This phone really will be one to watch
Huawei Blaze (U8510 IDEOS X3)
Huawei, a manufacturer you think you’ve never heard of but the name looks eerily familiar… thats because Huawei have been, for a number of years been making USB internet dongles and phones but the products are rebranded with your service provider’s logos. Now they have decided to launch their own phone, the Blaze and are planning of being among the top 5 mobile manufacturers in the US. The specs for the blaze are decent, given its very affordable pricing range. It has a 3.2 inch screen and robust feeling exterior, the 600MHz comfotably runs Android’s gingerbread. Sound quality lets this phone down somewhat but at a price of about €80 some things can be easily forgotten
2012 · Droid Razr Maxx · Fujitsu ARROWS F-07D · HTC Velocity 4G · HTC Ville · Huawei Blaze · JCB · Kyocera · Lenovo S2 · LG Spectrum · Motorola DEFY · Motorola Droid 4 · Polaroid SC1630 · Samsung Galaxy Note · Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G · Samsung Galaxy Y · Sony Xperia S · Spice Mi-350n