I get it. Not everyone is excited about iPad. Not everyone cares what Apple's up to. Not everyone balances their investment portfolios or manages their internal desires according to what Steve Jobs thinks is "magical." Plenty of folks will be carrying on their lives just fine, thanks, without lining up at a store or waiting for the UPS guy this Saturday.
This is a rough week for you, my Apple-hating friends, and next week will likely be rougher. We'll be covering iPad because it's our duty - it runs iPhone OS, after all. But as a gesture of good faith towards you, Android Lover, I give you this small token of my appreciation: An All Android Top 5 list.
1. HTC Evo 4G (Sprint) - Available this Summer
This thing is a beast. The pre-production units Aaron and I played with at CTIA weren't running final software, and they were still smooth and fast and a joy to behold. Between the huge 4.3" capacitive touch display, Android 2.1 with HTC's excellent new version of Sense, and the HD video capture and playback (including HDMI out), Evo is chock full of multimedia-heavy features. The 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset under the hood seems to like Android just fine, and the device remains pocketable - if large - thanks to its thin profile and sleek lines.
I have some qualms with the whole "4G" thing, seeing as T-Mobile's HSPA+ network is actually faster than Sprint's WiMax, but that's another story. Evo can double as a EV-DO/WiMax mobile hotspot, and Sprint's promising aggressive pricing on service when the phone ships this Summer. Whether or not customers will jump to Sprint for Evo remains to be seen, but there's no question that this is the hottest Android phone yet to be shown in public.
2. Samsung Galaxy S (Carrier Unannounced) - Available this Summer
Despite the fact that Samsung somehow saw fit to build a custom Android skin that doesn't look a whole lot different from the stock Android 2.1 UI (or iPhone OS, if you look at the grid-of-icons home view), I still love Galaxy S. Why? It's fast, it's sleek, and it has the most stunning display I've ever seen on a mobile phone. Acronyms and fancy marketing names are a dime a dozen in this game, but Sammy's on to something with their new Super AMOLED display tech. S-AMOLED looks amazing, holds up in direct sunlight, and allows engineers to do things like build a smartphone with a 4" capacitive touch display and 1GHz application processor while keeping its profile to a slim 9.9mm.
Word is that Samsung's looking to launch Galaxy S on all four major US carriers later this year. Here's hoping that pans out. Oh, and if you haven't seen it yet, check out the crazy song-and-dance routine Samsung staged for the phone's launch at CTIA. The production values were absolutely amazing.
3. HTC Desire (Unlocked / European)
Take a Nexus One, give it an optical trackpad that feels and performs like a trackball but promises better durability, and then add the terrific new version of HTC's Sense user interface on top. What do you get? Desire, HTC's new sleek, slick, fast as a whip Android phone. Desire's 3.7" display may not be as gigantic as the ones on Evo 4G or Galaxy S, but the "smaller" screen offers an arguably better overall device size and in-hand feel. And it's not like a 3.7", 480 x 800 pixel display on a phone is really going to cramp anyone's style.
Rumors abound that Desire is headed to the US, perhaps in the form of the mythical Verizon "Incredible." I hope so. It's a sweet piece of Android kit.
4. Google Nexus One (Unlocked / T-Mobile / AT&T)
While it hasn't launched in a Verizon-compatible format and reports have surfaced regarding touchscreen and connectivity issues, a Nexus One on T-Mobile's 3G network is still my pick as the best Android experience currently to be had in the United States. Droid lovers and HTC Sense aficionados can cry foul - and with good reason - but after seeing T-Mobile N1s regularly pulling data at speeds upwards of three and even four Mbps during CTIA, I'm sticking with Nexus ahead of Droid or Hero/Droid Eris.
What N1 lacks in a physical keyboard or HTC Sense it makes up for with a great form factor, big, bright display, and Android 2.1. If and when #3 up there makes it to a US carrier, N1's days as the king of American Androids will be over. But until then, Google's got the best Droid in the land. Too bad they have no idea how to market or sell the thing.
5. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro (Unlocked) - Available this Summer
While Sony Ericsson's first Android device, the Xperia X10, is a large, sleek beauty designed to show off its custom Timescape and Mediascape software, its little siblings the X10 Mini and Mini Pro are arguably the more interesting and attractive options in SE's new line of smartphones. Both handsets bring a full Android install to a cute little form factor suited to one-handed use, but Mini Pro ups the ante with a full QWERTY thumb board that should make it a lot easier to fire off a proper Email should the need urgently arise while you're on the go. And while the Mini Pro may lack X10's fancy social networking and media player software, it makes good use of an innovative four-corners UI that might just make the idea of a tiny little smartphone attractive and functional at the same time.