Smartphones: ‘A Current Snapshot’ and ‘Of Things To Come’
By ju83 On 6 Dec, 2012 At 12:38 PM | Categorized As News | With 0 Comments

We can all thank Steve Jobs for, lacking  a better phrase, revolutionizing the smartphone industry. Before Apple’s inaugural iPhone, we had the likes of barely email and internet capable smartphones like the Moto Q, Black Berry , Palm Treo and Nokia E62, smartphones that in today’s world are not considered very smart and even for their time considered difficult to set up and use. Next out the gate were HTC who seemingly pioneered and brought to us our very first iPhone competitive Android devices like the HTC Magic, my very first Android smartphone. Early on HTC dominated the smartphone market whilst phone makers such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson struggled to break through, seemingly suffering an identity crisis. Today HTC still makes decent phones even though the company has been suffering financially of late. In its place another company has stood up and taken the fight to Apple and in more ways than one. That company is Samsung.



Samsung has achieved runaway successes in the smartphone market that started with its Galaxy S range. It had multiple successes with the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III , Google Nexus and Nexus S, and it surprised itself with the success of its Galaxy Note which left fans scrambling for the Note II when consumers were finally able to get their hands on one. But before the release of the Note II and the Galaxy S III, rumours for their successors were already running rife about their specifications, the features and technology that would be bundled in them and their possible release date. Before I get into the rumours about the features they are going to sport let me talk a little about release dates because something strange is happening in that space, something that can only be both good and frustrating for consumers.

In the beginning there was Apple and all things Apple happened once a year. They released a new iPhone once every year. They updated iOS once every year and when the iPad came out, you guessed it, they released a new one of those every year too. That is until this year. 2012 is the year that has marked the first time that Apple has gone against its product delivery cycle, and if the market competition is anything to go by, you can kiss that cycle good bye. 2012 saw Apple release two iPad’s in one year, the ‘New’ iPad, which everyone dubs the iPad 3, and a revised iPad , the new new iPad or the iPad 4. The latter sporting a slight processor bump and it’s ‘revolutionary’ new lightning dock connector. 2012 also saw Apple release the iPad mini, a product whose seven inch size was previously dubbed as sub optimal for the end user experience. So why has Apple broken it’s product release cycle and why has Apple released a seven inch tablet?

One of the reasons Apple released the seven inch tablet is due to the strong sales of devices such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and later Google’s Nexus 7. Further it released a revised full sized iPad due to the strong showing from Google’s Nexus 10, a tablet whose specs now outclass Apple’s iPad showing. With the gap strongly narrowed and if not fully receded, Apple was forced to enter into the smaller tablet market, but Amazon and the Nexus 7 are not the only forces that are forcing Apple’s hand. ‘There is an-oth-er … Sam-sung’

Sorry for that cheesy Return of the Jedi rip off. Samsung’s strong presence in recent times is also causing a disturbance in the product release cycle. The Galaxy S II was released 13 February 2011, the Galaxy Note in late October of 2011. The Galaxy S III was unveiled at the beginning of May and released at the end of May, just over a year later.  The Galaxy Note II was unveiled at the end of August and released across multiple markets at the beginning of October, also a year later. Despite its size the Galaxy Note II has received runaway success, reaching sales milestones quicker than its predecessor and is currently the best device on the market, if you don’t mind its size. However even though these phones have just barely been released, and in some markets still only just arriving, there is talk of the Galaxy S IV and the Galaxy Note III, devices I am thrilled about, and possible release dates as early as the first quarter of 2013. Why is this? And what does it mean for the mobile tech geek or the average consumer today?

The reason for the possible early release dates that break the once a year cycle are twofold. One is to capture the next generation of smartphone consumers and those who are coming out of contract. The other reason is to get the next flagship device out before Apple does and have a lead in time to market for their devices to not only be the best device out at the current time, but also have the time for people to purchase that device without a current Apple alternative. Apple of course is no slouch, and so there are rumours of a possible iPhone 5s revision also coming earlier than normal. So what does this mean for consumers?

For one thing it means great devices sporting the latest technology. Breaking the once a year release cycle got HTC into trouble by releasing too many phones that ended up being sub-par with poor support. It also runs the risk of ruffling the feathers of consumers who took to a device such as the Galaxy S III or Note II only to have it possibly superseded by the next version within the space of 6 months. As for Apple fans who knows, maybe the iPhone 5s may be the phone that eventually comes equipped with NFC? The question to the next generation of smartphone buyers is this, if you are a Samsung fan like I have quickly become, do you risk getting the Galaxy S III or the Galaxy Note II, or do you wait for their older siblings the Galaxy S IV or the Galaxy Note III?

If you were to buy the Galaxy S III or the Note II outright or on contract you certainly couldn’t be disappointed with either phone. As tested by Engadget, both handsets achieve around 9 hours of battery life when looping a video at 65% brightness, which translates to a full day of moderate use to the average consumer. Those are remarkable results when you consider these phones sport a 4.8 and 5.5 inch screen. Both handsets offer great performance and the ability to play games, utilise social networking sites, take great photos and much more.  But what about the next generation, you ask, for those who are begging the question? What will be different?

One of the key differences that the Galaxy S IV and the Galaxy Note III will have  Samsung’s next Exynos 5000 series system on a chip (SoC). What is special about this processor? Well Samsung has shrunk its processor building technology resulting in a chip that is 28nm compared with the 32nm processor in the Exynos 4000 series. Why does this matter? In theory every time you further miniaturize the architecture of processors, even though they become more powerful and more efficient, they consume less power. Anything that extends battery even by a little bit is appreciated, especially in an age where battery life can often suffer at the behest of power and performance. Another key difference may come with Samsung’s flexible OLED technology, and with the current onslaught of 1080p resolution sporting devices from HTC, Sharp and Oppo, it would be a huge disappointment if either phone didn’t sport a similarly stunning 1080p screen just because. Other rumoured features of the next Galaxy SIV and Note II include 3GB of Ram, but all this is still just speculation at this point. Other rumours are that the Galaxy SIV may be debuted at either 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January or at Mobile World Congress  (MWC) in February, which would put the release date of any phone around March-April at the earliest.


What will you do when buying your next phone will you grab one of the current flagship devices or will you hold onto your device for another three to six agonizing months and wait for ‘the next big thing’ to come our way? Let us know in the feedback section.



About - Hi I'm Jonathan and I am a gadget geek. I love my Android phones and smartphone tech in general. I am constantly getting my tech fix from my Android phone using the AppyGeek and Engadget apps.

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