Yes, I know; it's November 6. Slightly later than billed, partly on account of an impromptu trip to A&E (er, as if people actually plan to go to A&E), it’s the review of the month of October in mobile.
September had more than its fair share of new goodies, what with IFA 2013, a pair of new iPhones and Microsoft swooping in to buy Nokia, but October saw HTC, Google, Nokia and Apple step up to the proverbial plate. Lovely.
In terms of big new mobile releases, this’ll probably be the last hurrah for 2013. We figure the next wave of goodies will land at CES 2014 in Vegas.
In any case, here’s how October 2013 played out:
Tumultuous times for the Taiwanese temptresses. While the flagship HTC One has been picking up design awards left, right and centre throughout the year, the manufacturer recently posted its first-ever quarterly loss.
Sadly, with the HTC One Max, it’s probably a case of too little too late. It’s the first phablet from HTC, but faces incredibly stiff competition from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z Ultra and Nokia Lumia 1520.
Indeed, when I recently compared the four big-name phablets, there was very little to make the HTC One Max stand out, other than the award-winning design (it’s pretty much a massive HTC One) and the rear fingerprint scanner.
Nokia World 2013
Like HTC, it’s a crazy time for Finnish manufacturer Nokia. The former world’s number one mobile manufacturer is being eaten alive by Microsoft (well done, Elop), but its showing at Nokia World 2013 was worth standing up and taking note of.
There’s far too much to go into detail here (six devices in all), but we met the Lumia 1520 (Nokia’s first phablet), Lumia 2520 (Nokia’s first tablet), Lumia 1320 (big screen, small price), and a trio of Asha phones, namely the Asha 500, 502 and 503.
Nice work, Nokia.
In the wake of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c launches, Apple announced that it still had “a lot to cover” on October 22.
First up was the fifth generation iPad, or iPad Air as they’re calling it. It’s 20% thinner and almost 30% lighter than the iPad 4, with significantly less bezel.
Nicely, iPad Air price starts at £399 (no iPhone-style price hikes here), so that’s £399 for the 16GB, while £639 (wish I had that kind of money to throw around) gets you the spanking new 128GB variant.
As for the iPad mini 2, it materialised as the iPad mini Retina after all - despite rumours of yield problems with the 7.9in Retina display. Having said that, Apple still won’t tell us when it’s being released, saying only that it’s “Coming later in November”. Hmm.
Rounding off October’s new hardware, it’s the worst kept secret in mobile, the Google Nexus 5.
A series of frankly suspicious leaks meant there was very little we didn’t already know about the Google Nexus 5 prior to launch.
Unfortunately, those rumours of Google Nexus 5 price being literally half that of the iPhone 5s (i.e. £275) weren’t quite right, with the 16GB model instead costing £299. Still, great specs for the money.
And of course, on the software side of things, the Google Nexus 5 marks the debut of KitKat Android 4.4, which plays nice with entry-level devices with just 512MB of RAM. You can read more about Android KitKat features right here.
Somewhat surprisingly, there was no new Google Nexus 10, despite promises that it was a) imminent, and b) built by Asus (the chaps behind the Google Nexus 7; Samsung built the first generation Nexus 10).
And that was October in the month of mobile. Not too shabby.