The smartphone market moves fast and today’s super phones are soon forgotten when the next big thing comes along. Let’s cast an eye over five of the hottest smartphones that are coming soon to a shop near you. We’ll discuss why you should care and exactly what the rumour mill has to say about them.
It has taken quite some time for Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility to bear hardware fruit, but the Moto X is finally upon us. Officially unveiled yesterday, the Moto X has a 4.7-inch 720p display, a 1.7 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, with a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and a 10MP camera. It comes in 16GB or 32GB varieties, and although there’s no support for SD cards you do get 50GB on Google Drive for two years.
The specs aren’t really the selling point here, and that’s just as well, because they look distinctly mid-range. Motorola and Google are banking on the always-on voice commands that allow you to ask questions and tell your phone to do things using Google Now. It also has various sensors and a language processor so it can recognise your voice, and react contextually, for example, it will display the time and recent notifications every time you move it (no need to press a button).
The other selling point is Moto Maker which offers 2,000 different customization combinations so you can tweak the colours, wallpapers, and more before you buy. Unfortunately it won’t be coming to the UK right now, but Motorola has promised a device from the “same family” will land this side of the Atlantic soon.
Apple’s newest smartphone is always worth a look. It could be the iPhone 6, or even a budget iPhone, but it will probably be the iPhone 5S. Whatever it’s called, Apple tradition dictates that we’ll see a new iPhone sometime before the winter encroaches.
The idea of a cheaper iPhone won’t go away and there are strong rumours that it is already in production. This makes more sense in light of the smartphone market saturation we’re seeing at the premium end of the market. As Apple looks to capture a share of emerging markets and fight for the custom of those last feature phone hold-outs, a cheaper device might be the right strategy.
More likely we’ll see the iPhone 5S. It will look identical to the iPhone 5 from the outside, but inside we’ll find some improvements to get excited about. We expect a 1080p full HD display, a spruced up 13MP camera with a dual LED flash, a faster processor, and, of course, iOS 7. We may see support for NFC, wireless charging, and even a fingerprint scanner for security. We could also see improvements in battery life and durability.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 is an exciting prospect for photography fans. The big unique selling point is the 41MP camera. Yes, you read that right, a 41-megapixel camera. It has a powerful 3x zoom function, a Xenon flash, and naturally it records 1080p video. Windows Phone 8 also has a great camera app with what Microsoft calls “lenses” which offer all sorts of additional filter and shooting options, as well as editing tools.
It also boasts decent specs with a 4.5-inch, 1280 x 768 pixel display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and support for 4G LTE and wireless charging. The resolution of the screen and the processor are definitely lagging behind the cutting edge devices on Android, but this phone is all about the camera. If capturing great shots and videos is one of the most important things for you then it will be worth considering.
Smartphone and tablet hybrids are proving popular and Sony’s first foray into this space looks very interesting indeed. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra finds a happy middle ground between the flagship Xperia Z and the excellent Xperia Tablet Z. It is also dust and water proof, just like its siblings and it has a stunning 6.4-inch 1080p display. Taking a peek inside it’s tough not to be impressed by the prospect of the 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor backed up by 2GB of RAM. We can expect this to be very fast.
The 16GB of storage can be bolstered thanks to the inclusion of a microSD card slot. There’s also support for 4G LTE, NFC, and all the usual extras. The 8MP camera, with a 2MP front-facing camera, is nothing to write home about, but all-in-all it looks like a great device. Sony has started to turn things around with the Xperia Z range and this looks set to continue the trend.
We’ve seen a variety of different Galaxy S4 variants, but a lot of people will be waiting for the next Note. The first two releases have bridged the gap between smartphone and tablet beautifully and Samsung’s S-Pen with dedicated apps is a handy device that really differentiates the Note from competitors.
The Note 3 is set to sport a 5.9-inch display, full 1080p HD, naturally, and it may be flexible (which will make it tougher, but don’t expect a flexible device). We’ll probably see an octa-core processor catapulting it into pole position in the current specs arms race. Rumours are suggesting 3GB of RAM. The Note 3 is likely to be the fastest thing on the market when it launches.
Other than that there are suggestions the camera will be 13-megapixel and we’d expect it to launch with Android 4.3. It will also have NFC, 4G LTE, and a host of Samsung apps and features. We’d also expect better battery life than the Note 2 (or at least the same, but in a smaller body). It also seems likely that durability will be a factor, maybe not the water resistant trend, but flexibility would make the display much tougher and less likely to break if dropped.