Friday, March 14, 2014

Smartphones for early 2014

Good evening, people.

So I think I missed my two a week post last month.  I wanted to do something big, but I just never got around to doing any of it.

So in the mean time there was some news on the smartphone front last month, mainly the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S5.  And I'll have to say, like most of the blog/tech news sites, I was a bit underwhelmed by it.  HTC jumped right on that sentiment with ads for their new hero phone, the HTC M8 (or the new One, whatever they call it on release).

Before I go into the top phones for the Spring/Summer of 2014, I want to get out of they way that there won't be an iPhone 6 until at least the fall/Q3 2014 at the earliest.  There will likely be a format change with likely a larger display (though I doubt it will exceed 4.3 to 4.7 inches) and likely have a "bezel-less" design to try and keep the width as small as possible for "easier" reach via you thumb.  It will likely have a synthetic sapphire screen, and it may end up with a slightly different shape to the home button, with an updated fingerprint scanner.  But that's a ways off still.

So anyway, I have to say that while I was disappointed by the S5 announcement.  It missed on all of the big specs that were rumored to be true about it, from screen size and resolution, RAM, processor, camera, build materials, and user experience.  It did, however, come with a fingerprint scanner.  But I have to say that while the specs were far less than expected, it still seems to exceed the other major releases that are coming out this Spring, in the HTC One/M8 and the Sony Experia Z2.

But it's not just this factor that is important to remember.  This is the Samsung Flagship phone.  It will sell in the tens of million units.  It's still an impressive phone and it's on par with the "expected" level of processor, RAM, memory and materials that we should expect at this point in time. I would even say that rumors of the "prime" and "premium" versions are nothing more than speculative.  I would be more likely to believe that either the Galaxy S6 or the Note 4 are more likely to sport the rumored features of the devices.

So check out here a speculative post on IDT for a spec rundown.  They seem to believe that a superior version of the S5 is likely (though I disagree) and  they throw in the LG G3 with some rumored specs that I don't suspect we will see in time for that release (the Qualcom 805 being the only one I'm willing to grant it, thought a 2k screen that's larger would be easier and cheaper to manufacture) but I'd push the G3 off till well after the supposed June release, not till at least late August or early September to be more in line with the fall releases of the Optimus/G line of phones as well as the uptick cycle of phone sales.  But the longer they hold off on that the more likely they will be to have some of those spec actually on the device.

And while gadget spam is rampant on the S line of Galaxy phones form Samsung, they are all specialized version of the basic device.  They are not technically superior in more than a single aspect.  So the idea of a "high end" S5 coming out later in the year is almost silly, unless it pops on the scene in less than 6 weeks of the main S5 release (though every week after means a smaller and smaller chance), unless the device is only offered off contract to limit sales because there is little reason to think that Samsung could maintain production of such a high end phone for the masses.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

-SR

Edit:  I changed my estimate on the next iPhone to 4.7 inches after hearing that the saphire screens that Apple ordered are all spec'd for "5 inches" diagonal.  Max size would be no more than 5 inches provided the screens did not need to be altered during production.

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