Mobot buying guide: Android smartphones

Mobot buying guide: Android smartphonesIf you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few years, chances are that you’re (a) in a great deal of pain right now, and (b) completely oblivious to the ridiculous popularity of Google-owned mobile OS, Android.

When choosing a new smartphone, you’ve essentially got three choices: the iPhone, a BlackBerry, or one of the hundreds of phones that adopts Android as its operating system. Oh, and there’s also Windows Phone 7. (Sorry, Microsoft.) In this guide we’ll focus on the world of Android, specifically what’s new, what’s coming soon, what to buy, and what to avoid.

Android - a quick overview

Since its first appearance around two-and-a-half years ago, Android has released several updates with new features and general performance improvements. The downside is that many users are now scattered across different versions. That’s referred to as “fragmentation”. One of things to be aware of is which version of Android your potential new handset rocks, and if it’ll be catered for in future. You don’t want to get left behind.

You can download apps for your Android phone from the Android Market. It’s currently still playing catch-up with the App Store, with around 200,000 apps compared to Apple’s 300,000. Still, that’s a heck of a lot of apps, and the recent announcement of in-app billing means we’ll inevitably see a flood of new content.

Android was plagued by malware issues recently, but you shouldn’t have anything to worry about if you play safe. Don’t download anything dodgy, and stick to the official Android Market. Oh, and there’s also Amazon’s spanking new Android Appstore. Some apps are cheaper on there, and they have a daily free app.

What’s new?

We’re in a bit of a transitional phase here, where a whole host of new Android handsets have been announced but haven’t seen the light of day yet. Well, not in the UK anyway. One of the few to hit shelves in recent months is the:

HTC Incredible S (full specs) – this handset from the Taiwanese manufacturer will set you back around £420. It has a meaty 4in touchscreen, 8MP camera on the back and 1.3MP on the front. Not cheap, so you might want to hold off for one of the new dual-core Android smartphones instead.

What’s coming soon?

There are tons of new Android phones on the horizon. Let’s crack on.

HTC Desire S (full specs) – a modest upgrade for the massively popular HTC Desire. It basically chucks in a front-facing camera and sits in a nice new aluminium shell. It’s also thinner and lighter.

Expected: early April
Price: £380

Samsung Galaxy S II (full specs) - one of the new dual-core Android phones, the Samsung Galaxy S II claimed to be the thinnest smartphone in the world when it was announced. That may no longer be the case, but it still boasts impressive specs, including a 4.3in touchscreen, 8MP camera and 2MP front-facing for video calls.

Expected: late April/early May
Price: £515 (16GB), £660 (32GB)

Motorola Atrix (full specs) - this bad boy is already out in the States, and is another dual-core affair. It claims – or at least claimed – to be “the world’s most powerful smartphone”, and has 1GB of RAM allowing smooth multitasking action. We think the Motorola Atrix's laptop dock looks pretty cool too.

Expected: Q2
Price: £540

LG Optimus 3D (full specs) - ok, we’re not so keen on 3D, but this phone is still making waves, and is the first phone to feature autostereoscopic – that’s “glasses free” – 3D. The phone uses twin cameras on the back to capture photos and video in 3D, and also boasts 3D gaming.

Expected: June
Price: £500

Budget Android phones

We could hardly leave an Android buying guide without mentioning the Orange San Francisco. It's available for less than £100, and comes highly recommended. If you fancy an Android phone and can't stretch to any of the above guys, check out the good old San Fran.

Alternatively, there's the HTC Wildfire. It comes in at around £130. The HTC Wildfire S, which is much the same but with a higher screen resolution, is expected in May.

Read more about: Android

Add a comment

Julias  Mar. 27, 2011 at 13:41

I wasn't going to respond to this but then i couldn't help myself the temptation here was too great.Maybe i have been slightly harsh with mobot with some of my comments recently,but you know what you win here because i'm still coming back for more but having said that i can't help but speak my mind and will say that this guide here is annoyingly pathetic, now listen up here's why,When choosing a new smartphone, you’ve essentially got three choices the iPhone a BlackBerry or one of the hundreds of phones that adopts Android.And least you had the decency to slip a mention of Windows Phone,although jokingly.But what about Symbian and the million-selling Nokia N8?and the upcoming E7 and what about the new generation of HP's WebOS devices?Or the already available Pre 2?Now this has to be asked but Lewis are you on something? meaning do you PUI?(Post Under the Influence)or take some other kind of intoxicating cocktail?and is your employer aware of your actions?..and i'm not being funny here but do you even know what a smartphone is because i'm not convinced you do??

discodaz  Mar. 27, 2011 at 20:22

'Mobot buying guide: Android smartphones'
yeh, julias.the title of the article pretty much sums up why winpho, symbian et al are absent.
have a word with yourself.

Julias  Mar. 29, 2011 at 14:32

discodaz i do know that, I was referring to the intro of the article which fails to mention Symbian,Bada and Web OS..Duh!!

mrew42  Apr. 1, 2011 at 13:48

Perhaps that's becuase Nokia are pretty much ignoring Symbian, Bada isn't really up to much and Web OS? Well it's a pretty limited platform so far. I think it's faily obvious to anyone looking for a new smartphone that the article has it spot on.

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 1, 2011 at 17:32

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 1, 2011 at 21:43

Just to annoy, and to be all fanboy-ish: if you were to go to right now, you'd find that the most 'popular'*** smartphone currently is the Nokia N8! Reality, eh :p
(***= in terms of specs searches and visitor rating) Thank g*d that gsmarena is such a little known niche site :D

hard123  Apr. 4, 2011 at 09:59

Hahaha - sticking up for the little guy ? I wager that 90% plus of consumers would think you've performed a magic trick if you asked them what 'bada' was.

Furthermore and speaking from a retailers perspective, Android, Ios and BB are the smartphone platforms of choice. Whilst retailers now classify any old piece of 3g **** as a smartphone, those chosen in the opening paragraph are the dominant names.

The fact that Nokia are hopping on the Winphone bandwagon hardly adds to their cause to be considered, as a smartphone force under symbian.

I'll agree on wp7 though. It's an absolutely fantastic format but in terms of sales; not great - be that part to do with the 6.5 and below stigma that attached to the brand or the fact that they've placed it in the high-end tariff end of the market, which obviously again means you're pitting it against the Iphone and DHD's of the world.

Web based apps are the future, fo' sure. However this future is still some way off, so again Whilst Web0S makes for a lovely experience its come about 7-10 years too early to have any real impact on the market.

In regards to the N8 - Nokia still has a cache/stranglehold on the weestern telecoms, so its little surprise that their flagship phone shows as the most searched.

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 4, 2011 at 22:46

well check out this study
It confirms a number of other studies that show a LOT of people do NOT know what phone or phone model they own.

The mistake we keep making is we assume everyone is a geek.
Most ordinary consumers wouldn't know the difference between a Samsung Wave and a Jet or Tocco - why do you think Samsung put touchwiz in one form or other on every phone?
Show someone a Nokia N8 and some Android phone, both with SPB Mobile Shell.
And talking about Nokia's 'stranglehold' on retailers: the flipside is that most instore staff find it easier to recommend an Iphone, Nokia or Android or whatever they know best. See the blank expression when you ask about the Palm Pre or Bada! I know retailers who can use a Wave, sell a Wave, but they don't know what Bada is!
And I know retailers - a lot of them - who think Series 40 is Symbian!
So anyway.


You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.