Welcome back to the Sunday High 5! This third edition of SH5 is focused the new developments of the one of the greatest technology product lines to appear in the last few years, Smartphones. It may surprise you to find out that the first Smartphone was released in 1993 with the IBM Simon which, amazingly, had a touch screen, email and fax capability and, a growing trend in modern smartphones, games. From this initial development smartphones didn’t really become widespread until the mid-2000s and their uptake has been majorly accelerated with the marvel that is the Apple iPhone.
In the next year of 2011/2012 smartphones will look to steal majority market share of the mobile phone market from what are now regarded as “dumbphones”. Here are my top 5 upcoming releases to look forward to:
Blackberry Curve Apollo
Set to be released in August, this new Blackberry looks set to come loaded with an 11mm thick form factor (just a bit larger than the iPhone 4), a 480×360 screen. While the Apollo is slightly less powerful than alot of smartphones being released by companies such as HTC and Motorola, the load of the Blackberry OS is a lot less than that of the Android software and so will be still very zippy and perfect for business usage. The camera is slightly disappointing at a measly 5MP with no HD mode and so won’t attract the high end market on this front. Overall the Curve Apollo will surely be great for entrants into the Blackberry/Smartphone market due to it’s physical keyboard and ease of use but will not attract the more technical smartphone enthusiast.
Motorola Droid 3
In stark contrast to the Apollo comes the Motorola Droid 3 which packs a 1080p HD video camera as it’s flagship feature. Providing a 4 inch screen with a 960×540 resolution alongside an advanced physical keyboard this phone caters to all needs and preferences in terms of usage. At the moment Motorola has not released details of the processor used but it will almost certainly be of the 1GHz and upwards variety and will be probably accompanied by 1Gb of RAM. This will mean that the Droid 3 will breeze through all apps you could possibly want and you could probably run several at the same time if you so wanted. One problem with this new release is that it isn’t compatible with the new LTE network coverage which means it isn’t very future proof.
Blackberry Torch 2
Another entry from Blackberry here has been chosen because of it’s snazzy new feature, NFC or Near Field Communications. This new form of communication allows compatible devices to be programmed to perform a whole new range of tasks with possible uses being instant payments, door unlocking and mobile ticketing for flights, trains and events. This means that your phone can eventually replace your entire wallet, keys and more so that you only have to carry one thing in your pocket. Other features of the Torch 2 include a 480×640 screen which is of a higher resolution than the other Blackberry phone on this list and a 1.2GHz processor. All this coupled with 8Gb of internal storage means that this phone could be a real powerhouse when released with many drawn to the NFC feature.
This phone is perfect for all those media buffs out there who just can’t live without watching videos on the move. The interesting feature of this phone is the intelligent kickstand that allows you to stand the phone up in landscape mode so that you can watch your favourite movies, TV shows and video clips without holding the phone. Also present are mini USB and mini HDMI ports which enable for data and video out connections. All this comes in addition to two cameras, one front facing and another 8MP camera on the back for high resolution photos. Motorola has also paid special attention to the form factor and ergonomics of the phone so that it is easy to hold and is as slim as possible.
To be fair there was only ever one winner here. No other phone will be as anticipated this year and you can be sure that Apple will throw something new at us by the time 2011 ends. While the iPhone 5 has not been officially announced there are many sites predicting it’s features with a good amount of certainty. Possible features include: NFC (as in the Blackberry Torch 2), Dual Core Processor, improved graphics, increased storage and 4G compatibility. Alongside the already announced iOS5 and iCloud the iPhone 5 could be the most updated iPhone yet and steal even more market share than it already holds.
It does seem however that smartphones are not announced too early and so more be announced throughout the year that are not included on this list with some amazing innovations.