Back in April this year, I churned out the first instalment of Smartphone flagship snapshot, listing the top players for seven of the world’s many, many mobile manufacturers.
Eight months on, a lot has changed. And hey, I figured I should probably start including Huawei, it now being in third place behind only Apple and Samsung. Well done, chaps.
Actually, looking at IDC’s figures for Q3 2013, Lenovo now sits in fourth place, though with an “overwhelming majority” of their sales going down in China, I may or may not include them here. We’ll see.
Anyway! In no particular order, let’s peruse these flagships.
Launched: September 2013
Succeeds: Apple iPhone 5
Standout features: Fingerprint scanner, 64-bit processor
As the name suggests, the Apple iPhone 5s marks a modest incremental upgrade from the iPhone 5, akin to the iPhone 4S following the iPhone 4. Exclusive features include the fingerprint scanner, Apple A7 64-bit processor and slow motion video.
Next year, Apple is expected to change it up quite significantly, almost certainly launching its first phablet-style iPhone.
Launched: March 2013
Succeeds: Samsung Galaxy S3
Standout feature: Its many software features (Dual Camera, Dual Video Call, S Translator, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, S Voice Drive, Air Gesture, Group Play…)
Yeah, it’s still the Galaxy S4 leading the charge for Samsung, though it’s since been joined by the Galaxy S4 Zoom (the camera one), Galaxy S4 Active (the waterproof one) and the Galaxy S4 mini.
Oh, and not forgetting a little (i.e. massive) something called the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
The interesting story with the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the notion of lower-than-expected sales (still numbering tens of millions, to be fair), with the South Koreans resultantly tipped to rush out the inevitable Samsung Galaxy S5 early next year.
Launched: February 2013
Succeeds: HTC One X
Standout feature: Its award-winning design
Like Samsung above, we’re on the verge of meeting a spanking new flagship from HTC, probably in the first couple of months of 2014.
It’s been an emphatically strange year for HTC. While the HTC One picked up several design awards and was almost unanimously praised by critics, the Taiwanese manufacturer went on to record its first-ever quarterly loss.
Since the launch of the HTC One, we’ve been introduced to the HTC One mini and HTC One Max. And about 462 different Desire handsets.
Launched: September 2013
Succeeds: Sony Xperia Z
Standout feature: 20.7MP rear camera
We’re expecting to meet a proper new flagship from Sony at CES or MWC next year, but in the interim period the Japanese manufacturer has treated us to the Sony Xperia Z1.
Launched at IFA in Berlin, the Sony Xperia Z1 boasts a 20.7MP rear camera (as good as it gets for Android), quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and meaty 3,000mAh battery. That’s a decent leap from the 13MP camera, Snapdragon 600 processor and 2,330mAh battery on the original Sony Xperia Z.
Of course, it’s now tradition for Android manufacturers to base an entire family of products around their flagship, and as such Sony has launched the Xperia Z Ultra phablet and Xperia Z1 f (mini).