Why Android will continue to lead in both software and hardware this year

September 13, 2012
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After the disappointing announcement of both the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, with the latter not having introduced anything new from the WWDC event in June, and after Microsoft’s stumbles with Windows Phone 8, it’s safe to say that Android will continue to dominate in both software and hardware this year, especially if there will (most likely) be another version of Android coming out this year.

iOS 6/iPhone 5

So the new “iPhone 5” was announced yesterday. Software wise, there hasn’t been anything new announced compared to the last Apple event, even though some people were expecting Apple would keep some “big features” away from us, to give everyone a surprise when unveiling the iPhone 5. But that didn’t happen, except for the fact that there is now an extra row of icons, which should’ve been expected with a higher resolution, and really how exciting can that be?!. There are still many things lacking from iOS compared to Android, that are much more important.

As far as the hardware is concerned, there’s nothing that groundbreaking. It’s a little taller, but that’s hardly a worthy reason for anyone having an iPhone 4 or an iPhone 4S to upgrade. It’s thinner and lighter, but is that really a big deal for a phone? It’s still 0.5mm thicker than the original RAZR, and it’s about as tall as Motorola’s Droid RAZR M, which actually has a bigger 4.3-inch screen. And I don’t think this is a particularly good benefit for a phone. Being lighter and thinner is much more important for a tablet. There I would agree that tablets need to be half as heavy as they are today.

Droid RAZR M vs iPhone 4S

 

We don’t know what the processor is yet, but my guess is it’s either a dual core 1.5-1.6GHz Cortex A9, or a quad core 1.2-1.4GHz A9 processor. It’s highly, highly unlikely that the iPhone 5 is using Cortex A15, although there’s no way of knowing until someone disassembles it.

WP8/Lumia 920

Then there’s Windows Phone 8, which hasn’t shown that many new features when it was first announced, probably because Microsoft did most of the work around porting WP7’s features to the Windows 8 core. And Microsoft seems to be unveiling the same features over and over again at every event since then, while at the same time not allowing anyone to test them out, because apparently WP8 is still not ready yet, even though manufacturers have just a month and a half left to port it to their devices until Microsoft’s announces the official “release”.

It’s no surprise that when people talk about WP8, they only talk about Nokia’s Lumia 920, because what they like is not the OS itself, but the design and the camera of the Lumia 920. If anything, in this case, WP8 hindered Lumia 920’s launch. Lumia 920 would’ve sold extremely well with the latest version of stock Android, but that’s one strategic mistake Nokia is never going to take back.

Plus, while I think the design is very good, I don’t think the actual manufacturing is that stellar. It has a 4.5-inch display on a body almost as large (130mm tall, 71mm wide) as the Galaxy S3’s (136mm tall, 71mm wide). So you get less of an advantage of having a large screen with the disadvantage of having such a large phone. Not exactly an ideal trade-off. It also seems to be very heavy (185g) – significantly heavier than Galaxy S3 (133g) and the iPhone 5 (112g). As I mentioned earlier, being too light is not an advantage compared to regular phones (120-140g), but being too heavy can be, especially if it’s that large of a phone.

Why Android will keep leading

I believe it’s safe to say that Android is the most advanced mobile operating system right now, even with Jelly Bean. And if Google releases a new version of Android, which always happens around November, it’s going to arrive with even more features, and stay 2 steps ahead of the competition. Whether it’s Android 4.2 or Android 5.0, that’s irrelevant, because either way it will bring new features.

I strongly believe it’s going to be Android 5.0 unless Google screwed up something, or has a new overhaul of Android coming up, and instead of keeping it until Android 6.0 for next fall, it is going to delay Android 5.0 to the next Google I/O, and unveil it there. At the same time it, Google I/O could become Android’s main event where Google would be showing the “major” version of Android for the year, instead of keeping it for the fall, like it has been done so far .

With the exception of Gingerbread/Honeycomb, which was a strange transition period for Android, when Google split the team in two, to work on two versions of Android in parallel, Google has always unveiled the “major” dot-oh version of Android in fall (1.0, 2.0 and 4.0). So again, unless Google is getting ready to overhaul Android, and doesn’t want to wait until next fall to call it Android 6.0 (major overhauls happened at even numbers 2.0, 4.0…6.0?), it will most likely unveil Android 5.0 this fall with new Nexus devices, to be not only even better competition for WP8 and iOS 6, but probably for Windows 8, too.

As far as Android hardware goes, almost without exception, Android manufacturers have led the market. Again, I very much doubt iPhone 5 has Cortex A15 chips inside, and there’s just no WP8 device that will have either S4 Pro or Cortex A15 chips inside this year, while Android devices will.

So as iOS and the iPhone keep falling further and further behind, and Microsoft and Nokia keep trying to catch up, Android is undoubtedly remaining not only the leader in market share, but also in having the best all-around software, and the most cutting edge and highest performance hardware.

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