In 2008, Android started out with a very small bang with the G1, with hardware specs that couldn’t really stand up to the iPhone that year. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my G1, but when I’d flip out that screen not many people lost their breath. Things didn’t change too much when the 2nd Android offering reached the market either. When the Mytouch 3G was released, it did make more of a difference and sales were quite strong. Still, the screen size was too small for any real competition to take place and the iPhone continued to outsell our favorite¬† little green robot. However, things were set to change. Once the Motorola Droid was released, the public began to see that Android was a viable option that really could beat the iPhone in specs. The Droid handset easily became the best selling Android device to date. At that time, the 3.7″ screen was the first of that size in the US Smartphone market. This screen size really set the bar for all future flagship Android handsets. It wasn’t until June 2010 that any Android phone really was able to beat the highly sought after iPhone to market with a hardware spec KO punch.

Where Apple had previously been the first to market with most of the new technologies available, the Sprint Evo 4G beat the iPhone to market by a full month with its front facing 1.3MP video camera, while the iPhone featured a 0.3MP. The Evo also featured 4G access since June which allowed for video chat over cellular radio, where the iPhone4 has a mandatory WIFI only video chat. The Evo was also the first Android phone to market with the 4.3″ screen, which almost made it a bridge device between the average Smartphone and Tablet. Having had an Evo for months now, I have no interest in using my 10.1″ Archos 101 Internet Tablet. The 4.3″ screen is the perfect size, and is a good example that the Evos screen isnt too big for everyday use. Also the Evo beats the iPhone 4 in its still camera which is a 8.0MP vs the iPhone 4’s 5.0MP shooter. This spec list became the new benchmark for what a Smartphone could be, and since then, there have been numerous other offerings that are right on the heels of the Evo – but not quite beating it.

Don’t jump all over me saying the iPhone4 has a “Retina Display”, or its all Aluminum and Glass body, or Facetimes reliability. I understand the iPhone4 has its benefits but it was easily out spec’d by the Evo overall, which still holds the King of best Hardware throne until the new LTE offerings from Verizon hit the market.

So where are we headed?

All while this barrage of constant evolution, innovation, and Android competition has been occurring, Apple has sat there quietly working on its iPhone 5 and the CDMA version of its iPhone 4. With it being a single hardware manufacturer with a rigid one phone per year release schedule, it hasn’t been able to offer up a phone that would best the multitude of Android manufacturers and counter the Evos’ move. In the recent weeks we’ve seen a few hardware spec leaks coming from the Apple camp. It looks like Androids push past the 4.0″ barrier has finally put too much pressure on the company from Cupertino. If rumors and leaks are right, Apple looks like they finally have stepped up to a 4.0″ screen. I assume the pressure was just too high that they couldn’t mandate a 3.5″ screen any longer. Could you imagine the iPhone 5 sitting there in the Verizon store next to the HTC Thunderbolt, Droid Bionic, LG Revolution, Samsung Inspiration, Droid X2, and Sony Ericsson Xperia Play all with 4.0″+ screens? If the iPhone 5 also had a 3.5″ display it would be totally out classed by SIX Android phones sitting next to it, even if it had a “Retina Display”.

Most recently, news has come out that the the iPhone 5 is likely not to have a 4G radio in it. I almost laughed out loud when I heard it, thinking it would be another year of the iPhone being out spec’d. However, now comes news that Apple is scrambling to get a 4G radio into its golden child. I’ll be impressed if they can outfit this years offering with a 4G LTE radio. Changing the specs around aren’t a quick and easy task. I know your average iPhone owner will tell you its not about hardware specs, its about the simplistic UI, Apple’s groomed ecosystem, hardware build quality, and overall ease of use. But to someone like me who loves having the best of the best hardware, Android really is the place to be.

What do you guys think? Will Apple finally keep up in the hardware specification race? If they scaled the screen size up, the 640×960 resolution of the “Retina Display” would no longer be smaller than what the human eye can see at 12″. So would they need to raise the resolution again to have another “Retina Display” and risk further complicating their groomed simplistic ecosystem? Does this mean that Apple will go to a bi-yearly release schedule? And will it be enough for them to take back the lead in the US Smartphone OS Marketshare competition? Maybe just another reason for Apple to be scared of Android?

Via: Bloomberg


Darryl Doak
Darryl is our in house device reviewer. His love of Android has lead him on the personal quest to find the phone and tablet that suit him best. This all started with the T-Mobile G1, moving onto the Motorola CLIQ XT(stock Motoblur 1.5 & Cyanogenmod 7.0), myTouch 3G, Samsung Vibrant, Samsung Transform, Samsung Intercept, Archos 101 Gen 8 Internet Tablet, Google Nexus S 4G, and now he's the very happy owner of a myTouch 4g, Evo 4G and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The next stops he's planning on making are to the Evo 3D, and Motorola Photon 4G. But the hunt never really stops. You can also follow him at
  • David

    The G1 was released in late 2008.

  • Ivan

    Nice comment, just makes the whole article incompetent

  • kev

    Really? So he entire article’s no good because he got a date wrong?

  • vwgtiron

    well the epic 4g actually outspecs the EVO and has a great keyboard. hmm now thats two things that are wrong with the article without even looking.

    • Corey

      Not at all true. The EVO has a 4.3″ screen, a mini-HDMI output, an 8 megapixel rear facing camera with dual flash, 1.3 megapixel front facing camera, can connect up to 8 devices using the mobile Hotspot and runs Android 2.2 (Still waiting for 2.3).

      Comparatively, the Epic only has a 4.0″ screen, no HDMI, only a 5 megapixel rear facing and a 0.3 front facing camera, only connects up to 5 wireless devices, and I’m pretty sure is still only running 2.1 (I recently heard the latest attempt at an update to 2.2 failed miserably).

      I actually own an EVO. It was a great piece of hardware until recently. I have always been a lover of Sprint but they have royally screwed up with the latest PRC updates. My phone hasn’t worked right since Dec. and they don’t seem to be in too big of a hurry to correct it. Other than that, I miss a hardware QWERTY. :)

  • This article reminds of something…ahh yes Swiss Cheese! There are that many holes in the article. I’ll address the overarching issue of “specs” last.

    So let’s start with the camera. If a Droid 8 MP camera is so good then why has the iPhone 4’s been reviewed as better? Next up Retina Display, I wonder when did Bigger “outclass” Clearer? It makes Droid users sound like they like bigger fuzzy images to view compared to smaller fuzzy images of last quarter’s phone releases. It’s also hilarious how I can only think of 1 Droid that has a comperable display, too bad it’s only sold in Japan and doesn’t even run the latest OS (2.1 only, smh).

    Now this next one I’ll cut the writer some slack cause it’s easy to get caught up in the fake rumors and miss the real ones. The 4G antenna issue is not an Apple issue. Apple was actually planning on putting it in to the phone now known as the 3GS so that it would have been the iPhone 4G. But because ATT and alot of their overseas carriers were not ready for 4G yet, they just put the fastest 3G antenna you could put in a cell phone which still (the phone is more than a year and a half old) outperforms many Droid phones today. Here’s firsthand proof: My aging 3GS beat a HTC EVO that was equipped with 4G. By a lot. And I know facetime is wifi only and there’s a good reason why. Have you seen video chat on a Droid over 3G or 4G. Yeah, it’s laughable for the 10 secs it syncs the audio to the video before it freezes up.

    Which leads me to my last point, why is the 3GS still able to beat Droid phones in performance (let alone the iPhone 4)? Why does the iPhone “feel” better than Droid Phones? It’s not because of the specs, it’s because of the software. This writer is missing the bigger point in comparing the iPhone to the Droids.

    The software is what makes the specs shine. With crappy software, an 8MP camera looks like a 3MP camera. With crappy software, the display doesn’t seem to look “as crisp”. With crappy software, webpages still download slow even though you rooted and overclocked the CPU to 1.5 ghz. Apple has the ability to do more with less hardware because of the software. I have yet to hear of people doing professional photoshoots, short film shoots, and live news broadcasts with Droid Phones. But they’ve been doing them with iPhones for a few years now. One more thing: The fact that the writer has to combine all Droid phones to “win” (whatever win means) shows how weak they are individually. In business, market share is one thing but profitability is a completely different thing….I wouldn’t mind losing market share if my profit share is through the roof.

  • Mela360

    what the hell are you doing on an android site you blind follower?

    the only reason the ios seems to run butter smooth over the android os is that ios is the same on every iwhatever devide. ipad, iphone, ipod… did imiss anything? they basically perfected their os which is why it runs so smoothly. however, i would take an os that is highly customizable and open over a slightly smoother looking os any day. android has so many more features than iphone, and this is confirmed when even Steve Wozniak, apples co founder even said “android has more features”. ever heard of a proper notification system on ios? no you havent. just a stupid block thing appears on the screen, and if you dont want to view it at the moment, you press dismiss or whatever. when you finished what youre doing, you have to find what the notification was for. with android, just slide down the notification bar and tap on it to bring you to the thing right away.

    i dont know if you have ever heard of a motorola atrix or not, but that has a screen almost identical to the iphone. resolution of 960 x 540 “qhd” display. pixel density of approximately 280 ppi versus the iphone for about 320 ppi. regardless, you cant see pixels on the atrix unless you stick it rigt up to your face, which nobody does because you would just look stupid. its display is also RGBW not RGB. samsung also has super AMOLED, which has much better viewing in direct light, much higher contrast and much more vibrant colours than LCD or SLCD.

    and have you ever seen pictures taken by the sony xperia line? those cameras are probably the best of any android phone and can easily top the iphone.

    i dont know what youre on, but the older android phones still destroy the iphone 4, let alone the 3gs. take the nexus one for example. AMOLED screen, 2.3 gingerbread, and every feature iphone has, and then some. iphones are crap. theyre just going to stick to their 1ghz single core processors while the quad core android monsters start rolling out. iphone cant even customize the UI the slightest bit! you can have widgets, live wallpapers, and parallax wallpapers on android, and on top of that you can choose which apps you want to be displayed on your homescreens for android. with iphone all your apps come onto your homescreen, and in a short time you can have 9+ screens. i currently have a motorola atrix and have over 200 apps, and have neatly organized almost 100 apps on just 3 screens. try doing something like that on ios!

    when is apple going to sue google for copying their notification system? oh wait, thats right, iphone copied google. it just took them 3 years. ios 5 has taken all the neat features that are on android, (not to mention windows phone 7, blackberry os) to make the iphone more similar to android. perfect example of this is the notification system. sure it may look nicer than the one on android, but its still copied from android and apple is calling it “their own”.