We may only be a few months into 2013, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to be excited about. There is so much happening in the mobile space this year that it can be hard to keep up. We’ve got new devices, new mobile operating systems, wireless carriers changing the way they do business, and pretty much everything else in between. There is a lot to keep up with, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that some of the most exciting pieces of news have focused on the new hardware (and software) announced by the major manufacturers in the mobile industry.
Specifically, Samsung, HTC and BlackBerry have set the bar for expectations in 2013, and it will be interesting to see how other companies match the precedent. More than that, though, it will be interesting to see the other devices that BlackBerry announces later this year, to see how they compare to what the Z10 and Q10 bring to the table. The same can be said for HTC, since it’s a safe bet (basing our bet on the company’s release history) that the manufacturer will be releasing some new and interesting handsets later this year.
Arguably the biggest name in the mobile industry hasn’t announced anything yet, though. A lot of people are on the fence about Apple’s plans, and as usual there is plenty of speculation. Will they unveil a brand new mobile OS, revolutionized and just generally different than what we’ve seen over the years? Will we see a bigger iPhone? Or will Apple repeat history, and announce an iPhone 5S that shares its design choices with its direct predecessor, and a new iOS that looks the same as the old iOS? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, but it sure does make for interesting conversation.
Because Apple hasn’t unveiled anything quite yet, I wanted to take this time to keep the focus on the handsets that have been announced. And, more importantly, go on sale here soon. While it’s great to keep an eye on the future, it’s also necessary to remember that with so many wireless subscribers out there, more than a few of them will be looking to upgrade long before Apple unveils their new plans, or even before Samsung unveils another flagship device – like the Galaxy Note III, for example.
Some people have the ability to wait to upgrade, while others may not be able to, for all sorts of reasons. So I wanted to talk to the people who are gearing up to pick a new phone to buy, and are looking at the three main contenders in this early part of the year.
So, let’s talk stats and availability, shall we?
First, let’s kick things off with the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. The first device is an all touchscreen handset, and features a dual-core processor under the hood clocked at 1.5GHz. The display measures in at 4.2-inches. It comes with 16GB of built-in storage, and offers support for a microSD card. It boasts 2GB of RAM. On the back, there’s an 8MP camera, and on the front a 2 megapixel shooter. It’s running BlackBerry 10, the newest mobile OS from BlackBerry, and primarily gesture-based. The Q10 features a 3.1-inch touchscreen display, sitting above a full QWERTY physical keyboard. It features a dual-core processor clocked in at 1.5GHz, and 2GB of RAM. It has 16GB of built-in storage, and support for a microSD card. It also has an 8 megapixel camera on the back, and a front-facing shooter for good measure. It’s also running BlackBerry 10.
Here in the United States, the BlackBerry 10 is going on sale on AT&T’s network March 22; T-Mobile USA on March 26 (it went on sale for business customers March 11); and Verizon Wireless March 28. The BlackBerry Q10 doesn’t have a finalized date, but is believed to be launching sometime in April. It should be noted that Sprint does not plan on carrying the BlackBerry Z10.
The next contender for your hard earned cash is the HTC One. The company’s newest flagship device features a 4.7-inch 1080p display, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz, and will come in either a 32GB or 64GB variant. (It does not support a microSD card for expandable memory.) It features 2GB of RAM, and a 4 UltraPixel camera on the back of the device. Around front, above the display, you’ll find a 2.1MP camera. The One is running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, but HTC says it is upgradeable to Android 4.2.2 at some point in the future, coupled with HTC’s Sense 5 user interface.
No finalized dates have been provided quite yet, but it is expected that the One will see a launch date sometime at the end of March, or by mid-April. As it stands, support for the HTC One has been promoted by AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile here in the U.S., but reports suggest that Verizon won’t be receiving this particular high-end device.
And last, but certainly not least, we have Samsung’s Galaxy S 4. This device features a 5-inch 1080p display, will offer variants with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of built-in memory, and has a quad-core processor clocked in at 1.9GHz. (Here in the United States. The processor varies in select markets.) On the back is a 13MP camera, and a 2MP front-facing shooter takes care of the other side. The Galaxy S 4 does support a microSD card, and it boasts 2GB of RAM. It will be running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean right out of the box.
Availability dates for the Galaxy S 4 haven’t been nailed down quite yet, but some reports suggest that it could land by the end of April on some carriers. As far as carrier support goes, the Galaxy S 4 will be available on all the major wireless networks, as well as several different regional carriers.
As you undoubtedly noticed, I didn’t get too far into the details of each device, into specific features or certain elements that may make one device stand out over another. I didn’t do that here simply because we’ve done it extensively in other articles. We’ve covered the BlackBerry Z10’s gestures here; we’ve shown you HTC’s Zoe camera feature here; and then we gave you a tour of Samsung’s TouchWiz software here.
You’ve seen the devices in action, and you’ve read up on their specifications. This is as far as you can get without having the phone in your hand, but I’m very curious which way you are leaning. If you do, as I mentioned earlier, have an upgrade coming up here shortly, or are already up for one, I want to know which of the devices listed above has your attention the most. Which flagship smartphone is more likely to get your money thrown at it, over the other?
But, more than anything, I want to know why you’ve chosen one over another. Why is the BlackBerry Z10 your phone of choice over Samsung’s Galaxy S 4? Or why did you go with the Galaxy S 4 over HTC’s One? Let me know which phone you’re so excited to own that you can barely stand the wait.