The iPhone 5 is only four months away, though that assumption is based entirely on the release dates of the previous iterations. Since 2007, we’ve seen a new iPhone released in either June or July each summer.
However, there’s no guarantee the iPhone 5 won’t be delayed. Or, more importantly, that it’ll be worth waiting for. So far, the rumour mill has suggested we might see a smaller, cheaper iPhone, an iPhone with a keyboard, or – least exciting of all – a relatively modest update comparable to the 3G being succeeded by the 3GS. Meh.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on some cutting edge smartphone goodness, there’s no need to wait for Jobs’ boys to deliver. There are a handful of great alternatives on the horizon.
HTC Desire S
The HTC Desire frequently appears in our daily deals, and has topped the uSwitch chart for the past couple of months. It’s fair to say the HTC Desire is massively popular, and it’s set for a cheeky upgrade in April.
Ok, so the HTC Desire S isn’t hugely different from its predecessor, but it does add juicier processing action, a front-facing camera, increased battery life, and faster speeds over 3G.
Screen: 3.7in, 480 x 800
Camera: 5MP rear, 0.3 front
Processor: 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255
Expected release: 18 April 2011
If the minor improvements to the HTC Desire don’t float your boat, you might prefer the rumoured HTC Revolver. It’s said to have a 4.3in screen, 1GHz dual-core processor, 8MP camera on the back and 3MP on the front. Jings.
LG Optimus 2X
LG’s showing at February’s Mobile World Congress was largely dominated by its 3D offerings, namely the LG Optimus 3D and LG Optimus Pad. We weren’t particularly impressed by either; this 3D malarkey is all a bit gimmicky, and it over-shadowed what was arguably LG’s best new product, the LG Optimus 2X.
The LG Optimus 2X is one of the world’s most powerful smartphones, thanks to its dual-core Tegra 2 processor. And it’s quite possibly the smoothest Android experience yet. Switching from landscape to portrait when browsing, for example, is remarkably fast.
Screen: 4in, 480 x 800
Camera: 8MP rear, 1.3MP front
Processor: Dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2
Expected release: 21 March 2011
Hats off to Motorola for turning its fortunes around so dramatically. Just a few years ago, the Americans were well and truly floundering, but in 2011 they revealed two of CES’ must-see products in the Motorola Atrix and Xoom.
The marketing boys were keen to define to Motorola Atrix as the “world’s most powerful smartphone”. Well, it’s one of the most powerful at least, with dual-core Tegra 2 processing similar to the LG Optimus 2X.
The Motorola Atrix is already kicking it in the US, but all we have for the UK is a vague Q2. Bah.
Screen: 4in, 540 x 960
Camera: 5MP rear, 0.3MP front
Processor: Dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2
Expected release: Q2 2011
Samsung Galaxy S II
The successor to the much-loved Samsung Galaxy S was revealed last month at Mobile World Congress, and it looks rather bloody good.
The Samsung Galaxy S II stretches the screen size from 4in to 4.3in. The camera has been upped from 5MP to 8MP, with 2MP on the front. It’s also stupidly slim at 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm.
Screen: 4.3in, 480 x 800
Camera: 8MP rear, 2MP front
Processor: Samsung 1GHz dual-core
Expected release: 31 March 2011
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
It was a long time coming, but Sony Ericsson finally unveiled its PlayStation Phone (or Xperia Play) in Barcelona last month.
On the gaming side of things, the Xperia Play has the backing of 20 developers, with 50 games expected to be available at launch. Of course, you can also play games from the Android Market.
The Xperia Play doesn’t scrimp on the phone side of things, with a front-facing camera and Gingerbread as its OS. David Hilton, MD of Sony Ericsson, reckons it'll cost "the same or probably a little bit less" than the iPhone 4.
Screen: 4in, 480 x 854
Camera: 5MP rear, 0.3MP.
Processor: 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
Expected release: 1 April 2011