New Android products pushing smartphone market envelope
by Alan Zisman (c) 2012
published in Business in
Vancouver July 10, 2012 Issue #1185 High Tech
Smartphones running Google’s Android provide the most serious
competition to Apple’s iPhone.
U.S. and worldwide Android models account for more than 50% of
smartphone sales. Canadian data is hard to find, but might be
different: last April, JuiceMobile stats placed Apple’s iOS on top in
Canada (with 47%) followed by BlackBerry (36%). Android accounted for
Recently, three new Android phones - from different manufacturers -
have come my way.
Motorola’s Motoluxe goes against the popular wisdom that “bigger is
better” with a four-inch display – larger (though lower resolution)
than the iPhone, but smaller than on some other Android models. That’s
not necessarily a bad thing – many people will find the Motoluxe more
comfortable in their hands.
In price, too, the Motoluxe is aiming for a comfortable middle, selling
as low as $0 (on a three-year plan from Bell or Virgin) or $299 for
outright purchase. Features are not cutting edge: it’s shipping with
the older Android 2.3 version and lacks high-speed LTE connections. The
processor is relatively slow and built-in storage is minimal – though
it can be beefed up with add-on storage.
Nice, though – a notification light that glows in various colours
depending whether you’ve got email, text messages, phone calls or
While the Motoluxe is aimed at an entry-level Android customer, HTC’s
new One X wants to be today’s ultimate Android superphone. Available
from Rogers and Fido (from $129 with contract to $575), the One X
includes a large (4.7-inch) high-resolution display that is perhaps the
brightest and clearest of any currently available phone – even outdoing
the iPhone Retina display. Similarly, the camera is the best of any
phone camera I’ve tried.
The 16 gigabytes (GB) of storage is ample but not expandable, which may
HTC provides buyers of any of its One series phones 25 GB of online
storage at Dropbox.com free for two years; optionally, all photos can
be automatically stored there.
Samsung has emerged over the past year or so as the Android powerhouse;
its various Galaxy models have become the best-known Android brand, and
whether you look at U.S. or Canadian stats, it’s become the top Android
seller. Its new Galaxy S III is available from all the major carriers
($160 with contract to $600/650.)
Like HTC’s flagship OneX, the S III runs Android 4.0 and supports high
speed LTE. Like the One X, it’s a big phone – with a 4.8-inch display
and a very good camera, both nearly as good as the OneX’s. Unlike HTC’s
phone, the S III includes a removable battery, a memory card slot and a
choice of 16- or 32-GB storage models. And a massive 50 GB of Dropbox
online storage account.
Samsung focused customizing the S III’s software and features. Place it
face down and it mutes for meetings. Lift it to your ear to convert a
text conversation to a phone call. All very cool and well implemented.
These high-end models from HTC and Samsung show that phones running
Android don’t just compete with the iPhone – for now at least, they
offer hardware and features that surpass Apple’s current best.