Meet the iPhone 5's competition

Two new phones expected this year will have all the bells and whistles a user could want. Can Apple meet the challenge?

By Kim Peterson Feb 27, 2012 2:26PM
Image: Worried Man (© John Howard/Getty Images/Getty Images)Apple (AAPL) is expected to make a big splash this year with the iPhone 5 -- a device many think will be a leaps-and-bounds improvement over the iPhone 4S.

But don't expect competitors to give any ground in the smartphone race. Two upcoming phones using the Android platform from Google (GOOG) are upping the stakes considerably, and will add more pressure to Apple to deliver.

Enter the highly anticipated Galaxy S III from Samsung, the top smartphone maker in the world. Samsung has sold 20 million units of the Galaxy S II and 22 million units of the Galaxy S, so we know the S III will sell nicely. But Samsung is going for the "wow" factor, if recent reports about the smartphone hold true, with these features: a quad-core processor, a 4.8-inch "full HD" resolution, a 4G LTE support and a 2-megapixel front-facing camer and an 8-megapixel rear camera.

Those specs, reported Monday by BGR, have not been confirmed by Samsung. But they do fall right in line with earlier leaks of what the phone will look like. We still don't have a launch date or carrier, but I suspect the launch will be timed to steal some of the iPhone 5's thunder.

Another phone getting attention this week is the HTC One X, which has a 4.7-inch screen and a quad-core processor and should be out exclusively for AT&T (T) customers in the next two months. Gizmodo called the phone "the most exciting Android phone to date." HTC's new "One" line will be its flagship line of phones, similar to the role the Galaxy phones play for Samsung.

Apple will undoubtedly rise to the competition, although the company is keeping its lips sealed about the new iPhone 5. Many expect the new phone to have a quad-core processor and LTE support along with a larger display (the current iPhone only has a 3.5-inch display).

Apple sold 93 million iPhones last year, and Samsung sold 95 million, research firm IHS Suppli notes, according to Reuters.

Samsung isn't the only phone maker to use Android, of course. The company says that an average of 850,000 Android devices are activated every day. That's an incredible number. Android had about 49% of the global smartphone market last year, compared to 19.1% for Apple phones, according to Canalys.

Apple seems content to hand Android the low end of the smartphone market. The high end is where we'll see the big competition this year.

Feb 27, 2012 3:52PM
What's going to use the quad cores and why use all that battery power? It seems like dual cores is enough for a crummy little phone especially if the OS is optimized like WP7 or 8. Maybe when we get those mobile xBox that'll connect to any screen size we'll need 4 or 8 cores.
Feb 27, 2012 5:23PM
I think Apple will lose some ground this year with a spike around Christmas time.  Latest solid rumours suggest Apple will launch the next iPhone on or around Steves death anniversary which is in October.  Demand will be high, supply low just like last year.  Rumours through template designs also suggest the screen size will receive only a slight increase, say, less than 4 inches likely 3.8.  This is puny in terms of the current standards with Android and Windows 7 phones.  Apple hasnt and will not keep up with the times on this one.

Android is quickly gaining ground but Google's stubbornness with their poor OS implementation where fragmentation of OS update is STILL a huge issue and updates jumps in leaps and bounds for only some models .  Some newer models have been abandoned almost immediately by Google  This Android's Achilles heel.  Yet, Android  users, which for the most part, like to customize or even hack their device beyond what most people would ever want to do and spend  many hours in doing is quickly impacting Apple sales . Google devices are already  being known in the geek world as a hacker’s dream. 

For those looking to upgrade their smartphone, I say, wait a few more months and to see what the Samsung Galaxy 3 is really like.  However, for me, I am done with Samsung.  I will go with HTC or Motorola.

I have a Samsung Galaxy 1 and I am completely unimpressed with it,. despite it being a good seller.  I've had many problems with it, the biggest one being where the apps just come to life and you cant stop that from happening. It's no wonder the battery life is so poor and phone often lags. Another big one is Samsungs own launcher program causing everything to lock up. It's called TWlauncher. You need to download a 3rd party app to use and ignore the built in one. Also Gmail takes a long time to load or the number count appears but the actual number of emails isnt shown unless you fetch a few times your gmail. 

For the most part, Samsung has horrible customer service and poor product support including web design.  KIES is required to do any updating, and Samsung just butchers the Android OS.  Making matters worse, the Samsung Galaxy 1 is using Gingerbread 2.3.3 which is the same version that the Samsung Galaxy II is using.  

The current version OS is Ice Cream Sandwich, or Android 4.0 OS!  Trying to update the software is a huge nightmare. This is one of the big reasons why techies, enthusiasts, and hackers are offering their own version of the firmware called custom roms.  This is also why Android has the highest cases of malware of any smartphone OS and also the biggest supporters too: it's fully customizable. Yet, Google doesnt want to provide official custom ROMS for a fee where everyone will be happy, but you lose your OEM warranty but you gain software stability and intuitiveness which is what is lacking with the Android OS.

The high volume of Samsung devices really means the carriers are all giving them away. People have to actually spend money on the non cheap iPhone. If you give something away for free, of course, you're going to have a high number count. The fact is Apple is ahead in the game and people are willing to shell out all that cash on a device that sacrifices a decent usable screen but you gain stellar software performance and experience. This says everything.
Feb 27, 2012 4:14PM
I think apple will come out on top again.  They seem to always find a way to make their phones so seamlessly intuitive and well crafted that not much tops them.  I think Apple has another surprise up their sleeve.  If not, it could be the first time they take a hit.
Feb 27, 2012 10:13PM
I think she is dead on correct with the situation at apple . Just bought my first apple product ( IPhone 4S on 2/19 . If being on top is this 1) after a few hours phone calls did not work returned phone on 2/21 after several resets . 2) new phone has been reset several times including tonight and still no phone calls working . 3) appointment to pick up 3rd I phone 4S tomorrow 2/28 .  This is not on top and resetting phone constantly is not on top . Wake up apple , I hear footsteps from the makers of quality .
Mar 1, 2012 7:15AM
i have several iphone 3gs and just got week ago a iphone 4s and i love it
Feb 27, 2012 6:44PM
Really enjoyed your analysis, Huh888. Will be interesting to see what happens this year.
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