Christmas 2011 Smartphone Showdown

PCWorld has a very revealing table on the top smartphones for this Christmas:

Color coding of the best versus the lowest ratings is more revealing  as Motorola’ s RAZR unexpectedly stands out with better weight and size dimensions and a key feature, MicroSD card which already  allows adding of 64GB of storage  for all those full smartphone feature freaks. But clearly the colors indicate a Blistering Battle for Dominance in this years Christmas top of the line  smartphone sales. Apple has the early lead because it is already available; but surprisingly it lags in a number of categories – most seriously in speed of processor, RAM memory available, and lack of NFC plus 4G-LTE support.

Clearly Apple is being threatened by Mototrola’s RAZR for classy design and ergonomics, long an Apple bastion. And Nexus Galaxy really benefits from the fact that Google is racing to make its Google Wallet via NFC as the leading contender for phone-based payments which are already very big elsewhere in the World. Also Nexus Galaxy has dominant display specs with incredible   4.65″ size and 1280 x 720 specs not to mention its very popular AMOLED screens. These are best of tablet screens specs in a smartphone leading 4.65″  size. So a clear Christmas 2011 Smartphone  leadership battle  is up in the air.

But Apple will contend with imroved Camera, Siri voice control and the reputation  that iOS5 gives it an advantage over all other smartphones in operating features. However, Google has introduced Android 4.o [Ice Cream Sandwich]which is a major Android update which,  among other things,  unites going forward the two Android threads -Tablet Andoid and Smartphone Android. It is available on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus first; but since Motorola is now owned by Google it should appear on the Motorola RAZR sometime early in the new year. Here is the Taketh5th take on the two systems on their  new built in native features and capabilities [3rd party apps on both mobile OS can extend these features sets dramatically]:

Comparison of iOS5 and Android 4 Mobile OS
Category Apple iOS5 Google Android 4
 UI Operations Simple, Easy to Use,
First and standard setter
on touch and gestures.
Menu and tile navigation
reveals multi-tasksing apps better plus
better customization of UI. But larger
learning curve to get most out of it.
Communications Siri answering and control.
Facetime is Apple only.
Integrated Apple and IM.
Text auto-reply for call refusal.
Google+ video  phone to any device.
Voice keyboarding of messages.
Voice Utlization Siri control and query links
to many services like movies,
buiness and search queries,
events and tickets, plus ask
Wolfram’s Alpha. Faster and
more consistent.
Iris combines Google Voice, Google
Talks, and Voice Actions for Android
but cannot match breadth and
consistency of Siri.
Voice directions with Google Maps.
Visual + Voicemail alerts.
Media+camera Superior camera in iPhone4.
Gallery provides direct camera
control and some image editing.
More image edting effects, features.
Panorama picture taking and other
direct camera controls.
Video editing features and effects.
Native App upgrades Browser, Notifications  with
widgets, iMessage to integration.
Mail with rich text edits, flags.
Browser, Calendar, GMail, Notifications
bar with added control plus new
People app like Windows Phone 7
Cloud Integration  iCloud catchup with syncing.
Auto syncing to iTunes assets.
Auto app, contact etc updates.
5GB free space for user+Apps.
First to cloud with Music, Mail, photos,
and sync information. Now beyond
Gmail & Picasa with Google + and broad
range of Google cloud services .
NFC-Near Field
Communications
Surprise – no support. The key to Android Beam to Share
and Google Wallet app
Other Features Reader in Safari strips away ads
and images from pages for basic story.
PC free for startup and tethering.
Location based alerts, killer with
Siri help .
Facial unlocking, camera use locked.
Live effects video edits work real
time in Google Talk.
Browser save for offline reading.
Browser 2-times faster than in Android 2.3

Summary

What is obvious from the feature set is the “borrowing of ideas” not only from each others but also from Blackberry, and  even the new Windows Phone 7 plus  Windows 8. Copying  is the name of the highly competitive mobile OS game. Ye Editor agrees with CNET where Apple’s familiarity and ease of use will fend against a rapidly expanding and better integrated Android 4 feature set. But right now,  the advantage is tilted towards Android 4.  Also consider that its rich API and its openness will continue to attract developers who can use Adobe Flash+Flex, Nokia QT, and various Java flavours which are prohibited on iOS.  In the long-run Apple’s big first entrant lead may be eroded by Apple’s insistence on proprietary-only coding.

And thus Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus is the Christmas Smartphone leading  beneficiary of that currently superior mobile OS in Android 4 coupled with its leading CPU, RAM, display, and communication features [big plus with 4G LTE  support plus NFC features].So count Ye Editor as predicting that Android will win the Christmas 2011 Smartphone Sweepstakes.  However, this battle is far from  over – Steve Jobs was none too happy about Google’s stolen-ideas Android and Google considered Apple’s closed  iOS system as a survival issue. So both  companies are locked in a battle that currently sees Microsoft Windows Phone 7  and Windows 8 the losers. Already both vendors are copying Redmond features and their availablity for Christmas will put tremendous pressure on what Steve Ballmer announces at the early New Year CES-Consumer Electronics Show.

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