Last week, I listed my top Android smartphones, but let's be realistic: while it's an important piece of the mobile pie, Android isn't everything. There's some cool tech launching in the coming months, and it's coming from all sides of the market. Whether it comes from HP, Samsung, or Microsoft, there's guaranteed to be a shiny tech toy that launches this year and tickles your fancy.
Here's what I'm most excited about in the mobile sphere. Whether you agree and think I'm awesome, or disagree and think I'm a fool for choosing what I did, hit me up in the comments section below. I also hang out on Twitter, so shoot me a message there as well (@PhoneDog_Aaron). Here we go!
1. HP Pre 3 (unknown)
HP's webOS is the bee's knees, as far as I'm concerned. Innovative in many ways, it has taken a hit over the years due to lack of strong hardware. It's not a huge deviation from the Palm Pre, Pre Plus, or Pre 2 design, but the Pre 3 offers hardware improvements that will (assuming it launches sometime this year) allow webOS to compete with the big boys on the market - Android and iOS.
HP's Leo Apotheker is also on record claiming that the company is willing to license the OS to other manufacturers, so I'm hoping we'll see an HTC or Samsung superphone with webOS at some point in the future. A little OS diversity never hurt anyone, right?
2. Samsung Galaxy S II (unknown)
Yes, it's on my "Top 5 Android smartphones" list, and it's also on this list. How is that possible, you ask? While the Galaxy S II can be purchased through speciality retailers, it's not available from a carrier in the United States, which severely impacts visibility. Why buy an unlocked phone for $780 that you can't test drive in-store when you can buy a nice, high-end smartphone for $199.99 on-contract?
The Galaxy S II is a fantastic device, with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Exynos processor, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, and Android 2.3 with TouchWiz 4.0 (which is much improved over past versions). Rumors about it coming to one, two, three, or even all four of the carriers abount, so hopefully we'll see it hit sooner rather than later. Choice is always a good thing - even more so when it's a super hot Android phone.
3. HP TouchPad (Wi-Fi)
Take everything I said about the Palm Pre 3, and apply it to a tablet. HP's TouchPad should be a nice addition to the tablet market, and will open webOS up to an entirely new demographic. The spec sheet is nothing to scoff at, either: a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, along with a 9.7-inch display and 1 GB of RAM should make any power-hungry user happy.
The tablet market is still in its infancy, and if HP plays its cards right, webOS to gain some traction in a market that's not as saturated as the wireless one. Think 2009's launch of the Palm Pre, but in tablet form. Let's do this, HP!
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 (Wi-Fi)
It's like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but smaller and lighter. And with Samsung's TouchWiz UX out of the box. And if FCC filings are any indication, it could be coming to AT&T in the near future. Carrier support plus Android 3.0 plus pocketability should make this dual-core tablet a hit.
5. A new smartphone running Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango"
I haven't had any hands-on time with it just yet, but if it's as much of an improvement as my fellow reviewers say it is, Mango could be the jump-start that Microsoft needs to stay competitive in the crazy mobile OS race. It's boasting 500+ new improvements including improved social network integration, support for linking email accounts into a unified inbox, and new multitasking options.
Between now and Mango's retail launch date, Microsoft needs to dedicate as much energy as possible toward educating retail employees on the fact that options exist outside of iOS and Android. After spending years in the wireless industry in several of the channels that are impacted by this, I'd suggest a few things. Seed employees with free devices based on sales contests. Hire part-time people to train sales reps on the benefits of Windows Phone. It's an investment on Microsoft's part, but in the long-term, it's a worthwhile one.
Video via windowsphone (YouTube)