This year, two thousand and thirteen years after the birth of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, is shaping up to be a pretty good year for smartphones. For a change, the focus isn’t entirely on Apple and Samsung.
Of course, it’d be nice if it weren’t all about iOS and Android. Maybe in a couple of years I’ll be writing Five mobile operating systems to bother Apple and Google in 2015. Or not.
In the meantime, Apple is again expected to churn out the highest selling individual mobile of the year in the iPhone 5S. However, there are a few phones that might throw a spanner in the works.
Behold! Five of those phones. As always, because it’s too early in the morning to apply any sort of logic, I’m going for ‘no particular order’.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Ok, this is the obvious one. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is expected to be the second highest selling phone of the year, unless Apple really drops the ball with the iPhone 5S.
Rumours suggest Samsung expects to sell 100 million Galaxy S4s in total, most of them this year obviously, but we’ll be genuinely interested to see just how close it comes to Apple’s flagship.
Indeed, this might well be the last year that the flagship iPhone outsells the flagship Samsung Galaxy.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Samsung Galaxy Note really surprised a lot of people when it came along in 2011 and sold five million units in five months. That sure wiped the smile off the collective face of naysayers.
More surprising still was the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which arrived in 2012, shifting five million units in just two months.
The phablet thing will eventually plateau at some point, but for now, there really is only one choice if you want a proper big-name beast, and that’s Samsung. It’s surprising that Apple hasn’t bowed to phablet pressure, though there was that iPhone Math thingy…
Anyway! The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 surely can’t be much bigger than the monstrous Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3. Indeed, it might even be smaller. In any case, it’ll be this: huge. And this: really powerful.
Ah, the Motorola X-Phone. If it lives up to the hype (mostly generated by Google and Motorola), it’ll be the best thing since sliced iPhone.
We’re hearing a lot of sense from Motorola these days. Earlier this week, design chief Jim Wicks observed that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, while emphatically dissing bloatware. Sounds good to us.
The Motorola X-Phone is expected to address a further two smartphone bugbears, namely ruggedness and battery life. Damn straight. Show me a survey where consumers rank slimness and weight as the main concerns when buying a smartphone.
This is inevitably the point where some wiseacre shows me such a survey. I hate you in advance, wiseacre.
LG Optimus G2
LG has done a precent (sorry, that was me typing ‘pretty decent’ really quick) job of turning things around, at least as far as reputation goes.
Back in 2011, we turned our noses up at the LG Optimus 2X (world’s first dual-core smartphone though it was), and last year we can’t say we were too enamoured with the LG Optimus 4X HD.
Fast-forward one year, and we’ve been drooling over the LG Optimus G Pro spec sheet. It has a 5.5in 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, a quad-core processor and 13MP rear camera.
But what we’re really looking forward to is the LG Optimus G2, which promises to build on those specs. Er, somehow. Possibly with a Snapdragon 800 processor and 3GB of RAM. Oh you dirty beast.
Admittedly, we’re living in a fantasy world if we think Apple will genuinely be troubled by the YotaPhone, but – for us – it still stands out as the one truly different smartphones of 2013.
And what makes it different? Initially it might appear as yet another same-old Android smartphone, but the YotaPhone has not one but two displays, the second being an “electronic paper” type effort on the rear.
If you’re running out of battery, you can quickly fire content onto the rear display, and peruse it at your leisure.
There’s also an intriguing gesture panel beneath the YotaPhone’s 4.3in front display, with a full swipe from right to left taking you Home, and a half swipe acting as your Back button.
Imagine the fuss Apple would make if they shoved an e-ink display on the rear of the iPhone 5S? And pigs might fly over Cupertino.