Top 10 Smartphones We Can’t Wait To See In 2011
Just for the sake of delivering all of the necessary information I’d like to start this article by saying a couple of things about smartphones. As most of you probably know by now, smartphones are basically mobile phones with more advanced features, including better web access, the ability to run an operating system and let users install applications and more. You could think of smartphones as tiny pocket computers which will allow you to do, while on the go, some of the stuff you’d have normally done only with a full-sized computer.
For instance, people nowadays use their smartphones while in the store to either check stuff off their shopping list (with the help of an app or a notepad). They can also check the prices of products at other locations, scout for deals, communicate with their friends, post what they bought or what they found interesting on Facebook and Twitter…and so on. As people show more interest in this type of device (and let’s be honest, why wouldn’t we? they are actually proving useful), companies that make them are trying to make them even more exciting and adding more features, better screens, faster processors. After a pretty interesting year in terms of smartphone releases when we got to see a new version of the Android operating system for mobile phones, several upgrades for Apple’s iOS and a brand new operating system from Microsoft called Windows Phone 7, next year seems even more promising. There’s a good reason why I can afford to say that. We’ve already heard of a pretty large number of devices which will start shipping in 2011. Some are already announced and their features are known to us while in the case of others all we’ve had so far were rumors and leaked photos. In any case, we’ve made a list of smartphones we can’t wait to see next year and we’d like to share it with you. If you’re planning to replace your phone but need some time to raise some money, take a look at this list, pick the one you like the most and consider buying it sometime next year when it finally becomes available on store shelves. Feel free to let us know in the comment section below if you think we should’ve added any other handset on this list or if you simply have something to tell us.
If the way we called this smartphone confuses you, I’ll just go ahead and explain why I’ve called it a tablet and a smartphone. It’s because Acer, its manufacturer has described it as “100 percent smartphone. 100 percent tablet”. What this means is that it’s pretty big for a smartphone and offers a bit more screen space. Its features are pretty advanced as well. The handset will come equipped with a 4.8 inch widescreen with a 21:9 aspect ratio and its casing was designed to look both professional and stylish at the same time so regular consumers and business users won’t have a problem in taking it along in their pockets. Acer says it best (and should, because they made it) when describing it as a phone with “full metal body, enriched by subtle wavy patterns (that) conveys a sense of timeless elegance”. So…what can it do? Looks aren’t everything, after all. Well, it reportedly is ideal for browsing and has no limit in accessing any website. Websites won’t require a resize or adjustment because of the screen’s pretty large resolution of 1024 x 480 pixels. You won’t need to zoom or scroll left and right. You’ll just need to go up and down on a page to enjoy its full content, exactly as you’d do on a computer. Because the Acer smartphone is running Android, that means that it has a browser with multi-touch, Java script optimization, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support and multiple page opening.
The big, shiny screen is naturally also great for enjoying all sorts of content including movies and photos. For high quality sound you get Dolby Mobile technology through in the mix. On top of that DLNA technology and a HDMI cable will allow this phone’s users to connect the device to a TV and view any kind of content on an even larger screen.
The rest of the specification sheet includes a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, gyroscope, accelerometer, an 8 megapixel camera with Led flash on the back, a 2 megapixel camera on the front for video calling, access to all the regular apps like Google Maps, Email, Instant Messaging, ultra fast high-speed connectivity through HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and 720p video recording. Sure, the size of this handset is somewhat odd and I guess we could fit the device in the same category as the Dell Streak, not really a smartphone but not really a tablet either. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, we’ll let each consumer decide once this phone hits the market during April 2011. All we know is that we were pleasantly impressed by all the features Acer managed to fit in this new achievement of theirs.
Does a 5 megapixel camera sound impressive to you? Ok, then, how about an 8 megapixel one? What if we upped the ante a bit and started talking about a 14 megapixel camera? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, we’re actually talking about the Altek Leo, a handset that might not wow you in terms of looks, spec sheet and performance but the camera on it will definitely sound good even for people who aren’t that interested in taking snapshots with their mobile phones. The first time you hear this smartphone’s name, you tend to wonder what it’s all about. Altek was nice enough to explain it to us since the very moment it announced the phone by mentioning that their new creation is meant to be the new kind of the smart phone jungle who is sharpening its claws for a European debut.
“You say that other smart phones have cameras? Leo eats them for breakfast” Altek added. Ok, we got it, the company is encouraging us to throw our old digital camera to the lions and get ourselves a Leo that provides great image quality and functionality on top of standard mobile phone features. But how good are those smartphone features really? Let’s start talking about this handset’s specification sheet then. It will come equipped with a 3.2 inch multi-touch capable display with a WVGA resolution, Google’s Android 2.1 aka Éclair operating system, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3.5G(HSPA/WCDMA) wireless and network protocols, GPS for easy navigation and geotagging, accelerometer, digital compass and handwriting recognition. With the 14 megapixel camera on board with a 3x optical zoom lens and support for pulling video at 720p HD we’re pretty sure you’ll be tempted to fill the onboard memory with content right away. Altek thought about this and figured that delivering such a powerful photo smartphone definitely requires a MicroSD memory card slot with support for memory cards of up to 32GB.
Of course, aside from offering a very high megapixel count, the camera on the Altek Leo is pretty smart as well. The handset can handle low light situations quite well with the help of a build in xenon flash and auto-focus assist lamp. Moreover it offers smile and blink-detection technology as well as a lot of options that allow consumers to edit photos fast and easy. Like what you’ve read above? Wait for this one to show up in stores (well, at least in the ones in Europe) during the first quarter of 2011.
Gotta love it when some carefully snapped photos of yet unreleased smartphones show up on the web. As much as some companies would love to keep these devices a secret, the team of spies and “anonymous sources” various publications keep quoting always manage to get into the possession of leaked photos and spec sheets. We’ve seen the first with Motorola Olympus at the beginning of this month. This interesting little smartphone from Motorola which will reportedly make its way to AT&T features a 4.1 inch screen, 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, front facing camera for video calling, a HDMI port, Android 2.2 with Motoblur and possibly a dual-core processor.
The photos were provided by a person who claims it has bought the handset at a flea market. If you ask me, this sounds at least a bit odd but let’s just go with the information we have and assume it is correct until something comes along to prove us wrong. Some people are even suggesting that the Motorola Olympus might be the 4G handset headed towards Verizon’s network but that seems less plausible at this moment in time. Since you won’t get to see it until late January (or on January 5th at Motorola’s CES press event, as some people believe), maybe when it finally shows up it will come running the latest version of Android OS namely 2.3. We’ve learned to expect only good stuff from Motorola who has changed the opinion people in the US had on Google’s operating system for mobile phones and managed to record massive sales in partnership with Verizon Wireless. Whatever specs this handset rocks, we’re pretty sure we’ll be far from disappointed which is why it made the number 8 spot on the list of phones we can’t wait to see next year.
Nokia tried to capture the gaming audience on a previous occasion with its Ngage mobile phone that we’ll all have to admit didn’t sell as well as expected. The mobile market has however evolved a lot since then and people are showing a lot more interest in spending their time (or wasting it as some might say) playing on their devices. There’s a perfectly good reason why both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market are flooded with a large number of games. Well, thinking that it might have more luck the second time around, the Finish phone maker who hasn’t been doing extremely well in the past one or two years is apparently cooking a device called the X7.
A very short while ago Mobile Review’s Eldar Murtazin posted two photos of a AT&T branded Nokia X7 just to prove that the phone exists, even though Nokia hasn’t confirmed it thus far. The conclusions Murtazin drew are pretty to the point and may disappoint some. First off he explained that he doesn’t like the handset. Secondly he described it as a gaming device with a screen that’s “something transcendental out of the fog of sleep marketers” which is sort of hard to understand given the fact that it’s been translated from Russian but we can assume that it’s not a compliment to the handset.
What you should expect to get (and don’t get panicky thinking it’s a bad device before it’s launched) is a 4.0 inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels, proximity sensor, accelerometer, Gorrila glass for extra protection, four speakers, 3.5 mm audio jack, a MicroSD card slot supporting cards of up to 32GB, WiFi, Bluetooth, an 8 megapixel camera on the back with fixed focus and dual-LED flash, geotagging, face detection, Symbian^3 as an operating system and a mid-ground not so impressive ARM processor. Some people expected this phone to start selling before 2010 was over but with few days of the year left, we’re pretty sure we’re going to finally see it during the first quarter of 2011. When AT&T will welcome this one to its lineup, it will record a first. To be more precise, this will be the first Symbian smartphone with a touchscreen to become available through the US carrier.
While Microsoft put a lot of effort into creating and launching Windows Phone 7 a few months ago, people don’t seem so thrilled to try it out. The lineup of handsets running the operating system is pretty varied but none of those phones are spectacular, at least for the time being. That’s because in the near future you’ll get to meet the HTC 7 Pro, which is probably the most powerful and exciting WP7 phone created so far. First thing I’d like to mention is that this one is a slider and includes a full QWERTY keyboard so if you’d rather have a physical keyboard in favor of the virtual one most smartphones deliver, this phone is definitely one that you can consider.
The HTC 7 Pro was unveiled during Microsoft’s WP7 launch event and on that occasion we got to discover most of its spec sheet. Sadly, the phone was delayed multiple times and according to the latest information should eventually start selling during the first quarter of 2011. While AT&T and T-Mobile will both end up selling some pretty interesting phones running Microsoft’s OS, this particular one that made our top ten list will be selling through Spring. So let’s take a bit of time to talk about its features. You’ll get a 3.6 inch touch screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, a 5 megapixel camera on the back with HD video recording and LED flash, Dolby Mobile and SRS surround sound, Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi, 1Ghz processor, 512MB ROM, 576MB RAM and up to 16GB of storage space. To complete the list we can also mention a 3.5 mm headset jack that often proves valuable and a Micro-USB port.
So what’s the deal with the keyboard? Well, because the handset has a slide and tilt screen, the HTC 7 Pro is said to angle perfectly and provide you with raised and nicely spaced keys just so that you can spend all the time you need to type that very important mail or even post an update on Facebook or Twitter. The same screen can prove valuable for people who love to watch videos. Oh yes, and because HTC was sort of trying to appeal to business consumers as well with this handset, they packed up-to-date finance information through a Stocks app which will let users view stock prices and track their progress. Expect it on Sprint in the following two months or so.