October 31, 2014

Android handsets are still pacesetters in mobile industry

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Looking to buy  a brand new smartphone and want to make sure you’ve got the latest and greatest technology?  You don’t want the new iPhone 5.  It’s a great product, sure, and will sell like hotcakes, but it’s not the definition of cutting edge.  Not since around Android 2.0 has Apple been able to stay out in front of other players and brag that they have the both the leading hardware and the best software features.

Before going further I should clarify that we try to keep a pretty open opinion of Apple, iOS, and the iPhone line.  We’re not big fans of their stuff, but we respect their game and the products they release.  That said, we couldn’t help but feel a bit relieved after all was said and done today.  Android enthusiasts can sleep well tonight knowing that we’ve still got the edge when it comes to mobile technology. No Android handset maker has to rush into the office tomorrow to figure out how to combat the iPhone 5.

Call us whatever name you want, but we found today’s big takeaway to be a thinner version of the iPhone 4S that also has a 4.0-inch display and 4G LTE connectivity.  In other words, two of the three things that people were hoping to get last year. In other, other words, stuff that we got all the way back in early 2011 with the HTC Thunderbolt.

We seem to recall hearing that the reason there was no 4G support in the iPhone 4S was that they did not want to sacrifice battery and consumer experience.  News flash – not much has changed on the carrier front over the last year.  So maybe Apple has come up with some new standard of battery or created something that allows for double talk time and standby.  Nope.  We don’t know the full details yet but Apple promises that the phone will have 8 hours of talk time or 4G LTE usage and up to 225 hours standby.   Contrast that with the Droid Razr Maxx HD some of the other newer Android models and it’s easy to see that Apple didn’t innovate on this front.

[pullquote1 align="right" variation="hotpink" textColor="#000000"]So you got a 4-inch screen there, huh? It’s cute, we like it. Did you happen to see our 4.0-inch stuff from 2010? How about the 4.3-inch, 4.65-inch, 5.3-inch, and 5.5-inch offerings we have enjoyed of late? [/pullquote1]
Take a look at some of the Android phones of 2011 and 2012 and you’ll see that many of them feature the 4.0-inch display size.

According to Apple, the iPhone 5 is the thinnest smartphone on the planet, something we’ve proven to be inaccurate inside all of an hour.  At 18% thinner than last year’s model, it sounds like things are getting to be paper thin!  Ask yourself, seriously, how much does that matter?  Wouldn’t you gladly go back to 10mm-12mm phones if you could get at least double the usage and standby?  Wouldn’t it be great if you could actually remove the battery and toss in an extended life unit in its place?  Nearly every Android on the market allows for this.

We were expecting to see Apple introduce NFC today and proclaim to the world that they have revolutionized mobile commerce.  Alas, the iPhone 5 does not feature the fast-emerging standard.  Even as retailers and service providers battle it out over who works where, we like knowing that we’re equipped for the tech.  Heck, we like the fact that we can tap to share things, pull up additional information, and other fun stuff.

It would be easy to point the finger at the 8-megapixel camera and assume that it’s just the same stuff that we’ve been getting all along.  To do that, however, isn’t totally fair.  To Apple’s credit, they have introduced some great technology and camera features that are serious improvements over the previous offerings.  On the other hand, HTC, Sony, and LG are hard at work delivering all sorts of wonderful camera delights of their own.

We could go on a bit about some of the other features such as the lack of removable storage, the beta status of Siri, or the new dock adapter, but it’s not worth it.  The key improvements that Apple touted in the iPhone 5 were not industry improvements, but rather steps up from the last iteration.  But, just as much as we’d like to point out every little feature or difference, it won’t make a bit of difference to the die-hard crowd.  Apple will keep preaching to the same choir and the fan base will grow here and there.  In the meanwhile, the general consumer is getting smarter and starting to really appreciate choice.  Choice in hardware, carrier, display size, batteries, and more.