Let’s see what upcoming Android phones are going to be worth your upgrade…
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The new Samsung Galaxy S4 might be the most popular Android device this year, but there is very vocal contingent of Android faithful that love the Galaxy Note series of devices. The Note 2 is looking a little tired next to the GS4, but a refresh is expected later this year. It’s probably going to be one of the top Android devices of 2013.
Recent reports indicate the Note 3 could be powered by the much-anticipated Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, a more powerful version of the 600 at the heart of the HTC One and Galaxy S4 (in the US). It’s likely that, if accurate, this will only hold true for the US-based Note 3. The international device will probably run on Samsung’s Exynos octa-core chip.
The Galaxy S4 is now rocking a 1080p screen, so I would be surprised to see the Note 3 ship with anything less. A 1080p Super AMOLED panel in the neighborhood of 5.5-6-inches is being rumored. That should still be plenty crisp despite the larger size. The new Samsung Mega phone-tablets (phablets, if you will) fill the “big and cheap” market segment, so the GN3 will be very high-end.
Another interesting possibility for the Galaxy Note 3 is a completely new type of camera on a smartphone. A report from the Korean language ETNews claims the third Note will have a 13MP sensor with active image stabilization and a 3x optical zoom. That would require movable lens elements and a larger camera module, but you could zoom on images without sacrificing resolution.
Of course the next Galaxy Note is sure to ship with the S Pen stylus and all the cool features that come with it. Some new “Smart” features from the GS4 are also likely to be along for the ride.
The Note 3 doesn’t have a release date yet, but it will likely be announced at the IFA trade show in September.
When Google’s Motorola acquisition was done, there were still pre-Google devices in the Motorola pipeline. We were warned at the time that the true Google collaboration did not include the new RAZRphones, but big things were coming. Rumors of a Motorola X phone started bubbling up late in 2012, but at the recent D11 conference we got the first official word the Moto X is real. Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside let slip a few details about the device.
This is basically a nerd-lust phone. Motorola has always built nice hardware with excellent radio performance, but the software has been holding it back. Getting closer to a stock Android experience with Google’s guidance could be great for users, and Motorola has the relationships to actually get the device on more carriers. Motorola is expected to run a mostly stock version of Android on the Moto X, but it probably won’t be a pure Nexus build.
Specs are still very much up in the air, but Woodside mentioned that Google and Motorola are interested in solving the problems of durability and battery life. The Moto X, apparently, might be the first step on the way to a solution. There have been rumors of a new type of ceramic or carbon fiber casing for the Moto X — perhaps that particular rumor was correct.
The Moto X will be built in America — Texas to be specific. That might make you wary of the potential price tag, but Woodside claimed at D11 the company’s underdog status (and Google backing, I’m sure) lets it take a different approach to price. The Moto X might not be a $650 full-price phone, but there’s no telling if it will see Nexus-like pricing either.
The Moto X is also expected to do some interesting things with sensors. Using the accelerometer, light, proximity, and gyroscope, the phone will be “contextually aware,” according to Woodside. That might mean things like knowing when you take it out of your pocket, or detecting when you want to take a picture and opening the camera app.
Earlier rumors about hardware customization are not looking terribly good right now. Although, some sources still claim the Moto X will come in a variety of colors. Woodside said the phone would be out by the fall, but a Motorola press release said late summer. Either way, you’ve got a few months to save your pennies.