Five Android sensations coming in 2013

May 13, 2013
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samsung galaxy s4 vs htc one standings aa

We’ve seen a plethora of a great devices released in 2013 already. HTC managed to make a comeback with its immaculate and beautifully crafted device,  the HTC One. Samsung? They launched the Galaxy S4, and though some may not like it, it’s still one of the most anticipated and biggest releases of the year.

There’s been some other great devices released in addition to the two superstars. Sony launched the Xperia Z/ZL and LG launched its Note-competitor, the Optimus G Pro. There’s been a number of other awesome devices too, but the point is, a lot has happened in the wide world of Android and we’re barely halfway into 2013.

With that said, what else should we be looking forward to? Are there any other great devices we can expect in the next half of 2013? Of course there are! In fact, there are quite a few. Let’s take a look.

Galaxy Note 3

samsung-galaxy-s4-vs-galaxy-note-2-backs-note-2-in-focus

I’ll admit it, I’m a big fan of massive smartphones, and so are a few others here at Android Authority. That said, I’m sure you can understand why I’m a huge fan of Samsung’s line of Note smartphones and why I’m excited for a Note 2 successor. As you might expect, there’s been quite a few compelling rumours on the Galaxy Note 3, but nothing in the way of anything official from Samsung itself. If you’re a fan of big phones, then it’s one of this year’s most compelling up and comers.

The Note 2 is a really good phone, and a crowd favorite. Though, it begs the question – what can Samsung do with its successor to make it even better? Of course, much like Galaxy S4, it really only needs some simple and subtle improvements. Why fix what isn’t broken? Besides, Samsung really doesn’t need to do much to make the next Note a huge success. After all, they have a seemingly infinite marketing budget.

Look how much thinner the bezel is on the Galaxy S4 (right) relative to the Note 2 (left)

Look how much thinner the bezel is on the Galaxy S4 (right) relative to the Note 2 (left)

Personally, I’m hoping I’m wrong with the “why fix what isn’t broken?” thought. It’d be amazing to see the next Galaxy Note pack a larger display in the same form factor, a larger battery, a Snapdragon 800 or eight-core Exynos 5 Octa processor clocked at 2GHz, 3GB of RAM, a 1080p next gen AMOLED display, and a body with a more premium feel.

If they can achieve this, they will have created an absolute monster of a device; a truly portable computer. Can they do it? This remains to be seen, but we’ve got faith on a few fronts  – in particular the 1080p AMOLED panel, the larger screen in the same form factor, and the larger battery. It’s likely though, that they will stick with the material usage/body they have become infamous for. And that might not be a bad thing as anyone who has dropped their Note 2 will certainly attest to.

The Next Nexus 

LG-Nexus-4

1080p, 5inch Nexus cometh? Only time will tell, but consumers are clearly demonstrating a preference for this form factor.

Regardless of the number of rumours we’ve seen float across our screens here at Android Authority regarding the next Nexus smartphone, it’s a device that you should really be looking forward to. As you know, Google always brings a major refreshing to every smartphone they release, both in terms of hardware, and in terms of software. That’s not going to change anytime soon either.

So, why should you look forward to the next Nexus device? The usual stuff, really – speedy updates, awesome software and top-of-the-line hardware. Aside from that though, Google has demonstrated that they are extremely committed to releasing devices that are usually the best bang for buck out there, and the next Nexus is unlikely to be an exception. We all know the cost to manufacturer high end devices (BOM = build of materials) is anywhere between $217-$250. Google made everyone perk up and pay attention when they released the Nexus 4 at one of the most aggressive price points ($299 for 8GB model) ever seen on a device. And this wasn’t a device with low end specs or made by some obscure Chinese manufacturer either; it featured high end specs for the time, and was made by a very respectable manufacturer, LG.

That said, the Google experience is something to always look forward to, and with the recent changes happening at Google, we can only imagine that the next Nexus smartphone will be even better than the previous.

LG Optimus G2

LG is aggressively pushing the thin bezel boundary, with their latest, the Optimus G Pro

LG is aggressively pushing the thin bezel boundary, with their latest, the Optimus G Pro

OK, let’s face it. Some of LG’s recent devices really take on that Samsung feel, and there’s nothing wrong with that. While we’d prefer to see something unique, LG still makes some great devices. Both the LG Optimus G and Optimus G Pro are fabulous. Due to that reason alone, the LG Optimus G2 should be something to look forward to.

rumored-lg-optimus-g2-nexus-5-1Like every device on this list, we don’t have official information on what the Optimus G2 will pack, but LG does seem to have a few exciting things in store for 2013. As usual though, it’s inevitable that there’ll be a minor hardware bump and some added software features.

Also, credible reports from some industry insiders point to the fact that LG has a near bezel-less device coming out quite soon, which is a very exciting proposition. The reason for this is simple. More more display on form factors we are comfortable with is a great thing for consumers. While we won’t explore the drop test angle on this, I think you will agree when I say a device that is all display with no bezel sounds amazing, right? You bet it does, and LG is alleged to be close to unveiling one. Could it be the Optimus G2? Only time will tell. And the leaks just keep coming.

Motorola X Phone

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As we all know, Motorola is going through some pretty drastic changes since Google acquired it, but we haven’t seen a smartphone from them since last November. So, the question has to be asked: what’s Motorola cooking up in 2013 to stay relevant?

There’s no question that Motorola is working on the X Phone; a LinkedIn job listing gave that away. Since then, there has been a consistent stream of X Phone rumors — some that back previous rumors up and some that contradict them. That said, we can’t know what the X Phone is going to bring to the market, but we do know one thing, both Google CEO Larry Page and Chairman  Eric Schmidt seems to be really excited about it, and you should too.

In fact, when asked about what was happening at Motorola since Google took over, Motorola design chief Jim Wicks said,  “We’ve been spending the past eight months on this next generation of phones, and we’ve all seen positive feedback and collaboration around things.” If that doesn’t sound exciting and something to look forward to, I’m not sure what is.

Sony i1

htc one vs sony xperia z z camera aa

Sony has timed their releases poorly, and didn’t succeed in swaying US carriers to their latest and greatest, which was actually a rather unfortunate thing for consumers, because the Xperia Z and ZL were both amazing devices, and won numerous best of show awards at CES. Fast forward to today, and looking even further, we have a device codenamed Honami, and it’s reputed to be officially dubbed as the Sony i1. In addition to a 5 inch 1080p display it’s rumoured that Sony will be bringing its best of breed optics to the fore, in the form of either a 16 MP or 20.1 MP Cybershot camera. Rumoured to have a Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, it is alleged to also contain a beefier battery, too, ranging from 2700 – 3000 mAh.

We know that Sony has successfully produced 20.1 megapixel sensors, and we know all the other bells and whistles are provided by Qualcomm and others, so really, there’s nothing stopping this device from coming to market in the next little while. Look out for big file sizes, guys. Plus, it’s likely that this and other future devices will have Sony’s trademark water and dust resistance and a 10mm profile. Like what you hear? Let us know!

So much more in store

Folks, this is by no means a comprehensive or full complete list, and the truth is, it’s impossible to make one. We do our very best at Android Authority, every day, to scour all corners of the web for credible leaks, to speak to industry insiders both that work for manufacturers, and others that are in the supply line. What we can tell you is that there is some incredible technology being worked on as we speak. So what’s in store? Read on, dear reader, read on.

Don't count Japan out yet - JDI has an 5.2" OLED display that has the potential to change the mobile display landscape

Don’t count Japan out yet – JDI has a 5.2″ OLED display that has the potential to change the mobile display landscape

JDI (Japan Display Inc) has a 5.2 OLED panel that, while not as high, pixel density wise at the 4.99i nch 1080p (441ppi) on the Galaxy S4, features a unique pixel arrangement that will enable it to produce 100% of the color gamut (NTSC standards) by the time it is produced, further putting pressure on Samsung to continue to improve their AMOLED display technology. Rich, saturated colors, and higher brightness than anything out there. Nice! Also, Sharp has a 2560×1600 6.1 inch panel in the pipe, too.

Samsung has currently begun production on 4GB LPDDR3 RAM for mobile devices, which will be able to transmit 17Gbps (!) per second, with a 30% lower power envelope than its LPDDR2 counterpart. Targeting high end markets, this beast will translate into incredibly responsive performance, both in media consumption, graphic processing, and multitasking.

Sony IMX135 13 megapixel  image sensor, first found used in the Oppo Find 5, and also used in the Galaxy S4

Chipworks Sony IMX135 13 megapixel image sensor, first found used in the Oppo Find 5, and also used in the Galaxy S4

Sony continues to raise the bar in its image sensor business. Already the market leader, and sourcing its finest wares to Apple for usage in the past several iPhones, Sony also supplies Samsung (Galaxy S4), Oppo (Find 5), and many more with its excellent image sensors, too. And, as we all know they produce absolutely fantastic images and video, in a variety of environments.

Sticky fingers, anyone?

Sticky fingers, anyone?

And let’s not forget the strides being made in gesture based device interaction, too. Expect major advancements to be made in this area over the next 12 months, making our mobile devices of the future ever easier and more intuitive to control and interact with.

Sapphire screens

Sapphire is the second hardest material in the world

Gorilla Glass what? Let’s not forget Sapphire screens, folks. Advancements in both material science and the benefit that economies of scale bring means that sapphire screens are likely on the horizon as well. Sapphire is the second hardest material known to man in the world, and where it was once cost prohibitive for it to be included in our mobile devices, recent advancements have made it such that we are likely to have virtually unscratchable and unbreakable displays in the not too distant future.

There are few industries more competitive than mobile technology, folks, and we’re all in for a wild ride! Whether its improved cameras, lightning fast processing, impossible-to-scratch-displays, or blindingly bright, color rich displays – you have so many competitive forces at work vying for your dollars that it’s almost enough to make your head spin.

The reason behind this is simple: there are seven, and soon, eight billion potential consumers of mobile technology at stake. Rest assured, your best interests ($$$) are at heart. What manufacturer is best positioned to put it all together? What device is on your radar, and what are you most excited about? Let us know down below!

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