For the past couple of months, I’ve been walking around with both an iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, with the former running iOS 5 and the latter running Google’s Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich. I posted my initial impressions a while back, after having used both devices for a week or two, but now that I’ve gotten used to both, I thought I’d reevaluate how they compare in several categories.
Size: Of course, the Galaxy Nexus, with its 4.65-inch display, is a lot larger than the iPhone 4S, which has a 3.5-inch display. The Nexus measures 5.3-by-2.7-by-0.4 inches, while the iPhone measures 4.5-by-2.31-by-.37 inches. Initially, I thought the size would make carrying the Nexus more difficult, but both fit into my pocket. The Nexus’s size makes it better for reading lots of text on a page and for viewing videos, but the iPhone’s smaller size means it’s easier to carry and to use single-handedly because you can reach all the controls. Let’s call it a wash.
Display: The Nexus display is not only physically bigger, but it also offers higher 1280-by-720-pixel resolution, compared with the iPhone’s 960-by-480. That means you can see more on a webpage, for instance. The Nexus display uses Samsung’s “Super AMOLED” organic LED display, but uses Samsung’s PenTile technology (which has two subpixels per dot, not three); the iPhone uses an IPS LCD display. The basic technology—OLED versus LCD—means that the Nexus has really dark blacks (since it doesn’t use backlighting), and thus better contrast. In practice, though, the iPhone looks quite good and is typically brighter. There are pros and cons, but overall I’d give the advantage to the Nexus, mostly because I do a fair amount of browsing and email, and the larger, higher-resolution screen matters. Advantage: Galaxy Nexus
Camera: The iPhone 4S has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera; the Nexus has a 5-megapixel one. The iPhone has a VGA resolution front-facing camera; the Nexus has a 1.3MP one. Ice Cream Sandwich gives you a lot more control over the camera settings, with more screen modes and more control over exposure and white balance. But forget the specs; I’ve now used both, in a variety of situations, and the iPhone 4S simply takes better pictures. Advantage: iPhone
Network: This is going to vary a lot depending on which carrier you choose, and where you live and travel. The Galaxy Nexus is currently only available in the U.S. as a Verizon LTE phone, whereas iPhones are available on multiple networks. Mine uses ATT’s HSPA+ network. As someone who works in New York but travels to the West Coast pretty often, there’s just no question: Verizon’s LTE network is faster. I’ve been particularly happy using it with a hotspot feature (and have stopped using a separate mobile hotspot as a result). For voice calls, Verizon seems to be a bit more reliable than ATT, but I find that varies a lot by location. I still get no service from Verizon when I’m on the train tracks at Grand Central Terminal, for instance, but ATT works fine there. At my home, both are fine; at my office, both are horrible. (I thought midtown Manhattan was getting better for a while, but it’s gotten worse again.) Traveling, I’ve seen lots of variability. On balance, I’ll give this to LTE. Advantage: Galaxy Nexus
Battery Life: In part, it may be the LTE support, but this really isn’t a competition. I almost always can get through a day with the iPhone 4S without concern but I’m always worried about battery life with the Nexus, and often drain it. Third-party apps to better manage the battery have helped, as has an extended life battery, but it’s just not as good. Advantage: iPhone
Browser: I like the iPhone browser, which is quite fast, but the Nexus’s has more features. Sure, everyone talks about the ability to run Flash on Android, but actually, the feature I found most useful was the ability to request the desktop site instead of the mobile one. Advantage: Galaxy Nexus
Apps: There are plenty of great Android applications, and you will probably be very happy with the selection on either platform. There are a few more iPhone apps, and in some cases, they are a bit more polished, but Android is catching up. Advantage: iPhone
Voice recognition: Apple has given Siri a lot of attention. There’s no question that its ability to query multiple databases simultaneously and generate an answer is more advanced than the relatively straightforward Google Voice Search on Android. Still, other than as I demo, I don’t find myself using voice very much; most of the time, I can get what I want a lot faster through a browser. Apple has a noticeable lead here, though I really can’t say it matters much to me yet. Advantage: iPhone
Operating System/Stability: Overall, I’ve found many reasons to applaud the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android. I really like the way it handles multitasking; a single button that shows you thumbnails of all your loaded applications, making the switch among applications faster and easier. I’ve seen crashes on both systems (not to mention on Windows and Mac OS X), but in general, the iPhone has been more reliable. As a result, I’m giving Apple the point here, but minor tweaks to Android could change things. Advantage: iPhone
Reviewing this list, the iPhone wins in more categories. For the most part, that comes down to software; Apple’s iOS 5 is just a bit more refined, and a bit easier to use. Make no mistake, though, Android 4.0 is narrowing the gap quickly. From a hardware perspective, the Android ecosystem just gives you more choices. Users can get a larger display on the Galaxy Nexus, a keyboard on the Droid 4, or a much less expensive Android model. That diversity is a major strength of the Android platform, and Apple can’t really compete with that. If I had to pick just one, though, I’d still choose the iPhone 4S today.
By the way, in addition to the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy Nexus, I always have my BlackBerry Bold 9810, which still has the best corporate mail solution, even if it lacks the application array of the other two. Carrying three phones all the time probably makes me look like a nerd, but that’s not really new news.
If the iPhone 5 rumor mill in 2012 is proving anything, it’s that what comes around goes around. But this time, some of the tactics employed by the tech world to slurp up iPhone 5 buzz is now being used for the iPad 3.
In a publicity stunt much like the big Case-Mate leaked iPhone 5 case story of 2011, consumer electronics case designer Otterbox has begun to leverage iPad 3 buzz by blogging ferociously about the iPad 3 release rumors and even staking a claim on an Otterbox Defender case for the iPad 3. In an e-mail blast to subscribers of their website, Otterbox had this to say: ”
Excitement is building and the rumor mills are spinning toward another highly anticipated Apple announcement. We don’t know when, but we do know that the next iOS device will receive iProtection from OtterBox. We’re expecting a new iPad and whether it’s an iPad 2S, iPad 3 or something else, we can confirm we will have a Defender Series case available…[it] will be OtterBox’s flagship option for the new device.”
To be fair, Otterbox’s approach to promoting via iPad 3 rumors is more earnest than the original Case-Mate leaked iPhone 5 case publicity stunt, which we identified immediately as bogus. Case-Mate was audacious enough to cite their own “inside sources,” which turned out to be wrong in large part. This is what their original promotional content read: ““The debate continues on whether the new iPhone will be an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S. From our inside resources, it appears that Apple will be indeed launching both an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 4S in early October. The speculation indicates that the iPhone 4S will feature the same form factor as the iPhone 4 but will be upgraded with the latest technology, including the A5 dual-core processor and 8 mega-pixel camera.”
Well, they were right about the iPhone 4S, but totally wrong about the dual release with the iPhone 5. And all 0f those leaked photos of iPhone 5 cases were bogus, too.
It would appear that Otterbox wants to avoid any negative blowback for misreporting anything about the iPad, while still capturing some of the buzz and excitement without going too far out on a limb. In fact, Otterbox is making a safe bet that the rumors of a nearly identical form factor to the iPad 2 are true, and that they will only have to make very slight changes to the Defender iPad case series in order to be first-to-market with it.
I can tell you from my own inside sources from within the consumer electronics accessories market that all of the major case designers are planning the same approach as Otterbox — they just have yet to publicize it. As a result, I would expect the first new case designs for the iPad 3 to be relatively pedestrian, and mere refreshes of what is already out there for the iPad 2.
By Michael Nace
Date Posted: February 16th, 2012
Chip maker Nvidia is reportedly targeting Apple’s smartphones, specifically the iPhone 4S. Can the dual-core CPU and the new Tegra 3 Nvidia CPU undercut the popular dual-core iPhone, including the rumored iPhone 5?
Rumor has it that Apple will release a new smartphone in mid-2012, the iPhone 5. Multiple tech sites say the device might ship with Apple’s new, but unannounced quad-core A6 chip. Following the success of the dual-core iPhone 4S, analysts believe that Apple’s smartphone momentum will continue.
However, Apple’s biggest rival in the smartphone world, Android, is expected to compete against the iPhone 5, and Nvidia believes that its dual-core Tegra 2 CPU and its new Tegra 3 quad-core CPU will undercut the iPhone sales because Nvidia-powered phones are cheaper but powerful.
According to CNET, Nvidia’s income is growing and the chipmaker claims they will gain more revenue this year with its quad-core CPU and with the help of Android smartphones, the company’s Tegra business will post 50 percent growth per quarter of 2011.
Nvidia is also expected to compete against Qualcomm with its integrated chip that will support the Long-Term Evolution. In United States, ATT and Verizon, followed by Sprint, shift from 3G to 4G LTE to sell more Android phones with bundled data and voice plans.
Still, the iPhone 4S is the most popular single smartphone in United States according to multiple reports, while Samsung’s Galaxy S2 and other popular Android devices remain below the Apple smartphone. iPhone 5 release date rumors cite “June” as the next big month of the iPhone, and analyst say many will upgrade to the new phone if it will sport a new design and new features.
Another smartphone worth mentioning is the Samsung Galaxy S3 which is expected to use the company’s own Exynos chipset. Last year, Samsung’s Nvidia-less Samsung Galaxy S2 posted impressive sales number, and one analyst predicts that Samsung (and Apple) will enjoy the full 90 percent of the smartphone market this year. So, can Nvidia’s Tegra 3 outsell the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 and/or the Galaxy S3?
Nvidia’s Tegra 3 is the CPU of the popular ASUS Transformer Prime and the Taiwan-based company’s upcoming MeMo tablet, and smartphone. HTC is also expected to ship a new Android smartphone running the Tegra 3 chipset inside, the HTC One X. Rumors also added that LG will launch its own smartphone with Tegra 3 this quarter, the X3.
The most likely release date for the longest awaited smartphone in history, the illusive iPhone 5, is likely to happen at the WWDC in June of 2012. This has been the traditional launching forum for iPhone’s even though last year the iPhone 5 was anticipated from as early as March until October when Apple decided that an iPhone 4S would do just fine.
Shortly after the iPhone 4S appeared, iOS 5.01 was released. While the operating system had some nifty features, problems with battery life have not been addressed to everyone’s liking and iOS 5.1 may just be the answer to those concerns.
Carriers of the iPhone in Europe and Japan are now indicating that the new OS may be released on March 9th. Perhaps not coincidentally the iPad 3 release date is widely speculated to be or at least be revealed in the same timeframe.
A March release of iOS 5.1 could play nicely with a June release of the iPhone 5. A possible iOS 5.2 could support the new phone or there could simply be time to work the kinks out of iOS 5.1 before the iPhone 5 debuts.
With the elongated, almost 2 years, wait for the iPhone 5, Apple needs to hit a home run in terms of both hardware and software. The form factor, screen and insides of the new phone are most certainly going to get updates. It will be interesting to see if there is anything revolutionary in terms of software or services.
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If there was any lingering doubt that the 2012 version of Apple’s iconic iPhone – dubbed iPhone 5 in the media for now – would be an LTE device, it’s likely evaporated with news today that Verizon Wireless and ATT will begin selling a 4G LTE-compatible iPad this spring.
Apple will announce the third-generation iPad the first week of March, and America’s two largest carriers will start selling it shortly thereafter, according to what sources are telling the Wall Street Journal. It wasn’t immediately clear if Sprint – which, along with ATT and Verizon, sells Apple’s iPhone – would be in line to sell the tablet.
VzW’s LTE network covers more than 200 million Americans, while ATT’s is available to about 75 million. Both promise speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. An LTE iPad should provide a test for the young networks because it’s estimated that the iPad 2 consumes anywhere from four to eight times the amount of data that an iPhone does. The iPad 3 – or whatever it’s called – would surely be even more of a data gobbler; however, 4G networks are 50 percent more efficient than 3G networks, a Verizon exec told the Journal.
The iPad is far and away the tablet space’s biggest seller. While Android has gained ground, most estimates still put Apple’s slate as garnering two-thirds or more of the global market. Just last quarter, the Silicon Valley giant made more than $9 billion off of sales of the iPad and related products and services. Apple sold more than 15 million iPads during the quarter.
After the new iPad debuts, keep your eye out for the sixth-generation iPhone, predicted by many to arrive sometime this summer after Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. While LTE functionality has been one of the mysteries surrounding it up to this point, there remains little doubt now, with an LTE iPad likely on the way, that the next iPhone will also be compatible with Verizon and ATT’s fourth-generation wireless networks.
The buzz barometer known as Gartner lowered expectations for iPhone 4S sales in the first quarter of 2012, indicating a sales lull in anticipation of the iPhone 5.
As we all waited in vain for the iPhone 5 last Summer, you will recall that iPhone 4 sales slumped, with many Apple enthusiasts and prospective buyers opting to wait for the new iPhone rather than risk buying the iPhone 4 just ahead of the iPhone 5. It appears that rumors of a June iPhone 5 release are affecting iPhone sales again.
Gartner, a technology analyst who forecasts trends in the technology marketplace, is anticipating a decline in iPhone 4S sales for the first quarter of 2012, compared to the blockbuster sales of the 4S in the fourth quarter of 2011. According to IBTimes, Gartner “expects Apple’s market share to slip for a couple of quarters as novelty of the iPhone 4S wears out.”
It’s worth noting, however, that the decline in iPhone 4S sales off its norm establishes in Q4 of 2011 should by no means be seen as alarming to Apple shareholders, which manages to remain in the top three of mobile phone manufacturers, in spite of offering only a few smartphone models, none of which are considered a low-end “dumb phone” like many of the models that bolster sales for Nokia and Samsung. According to Forbes, “Apple clocks in at 19 percent of all smartphone sales, making it the leader in the rapidly growing smartphone market. The company captured 23.8 percent of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2011.”
Analysts even go so far as to say that “Surging demand for the iPhone 4S and rival smartphones is helping offset the impact of the global economic crisis on consumer spending.”
Absent from the Garner report is any explicit mention of the swirling iPhone 5 release rumors, which are pegging its release for June. While impressive iPhone 4 sales in 2010 and 2011 were unusually extended by the addition of Verizon and the fact that the iPhone 4 was an overhaul of the previous 3GS model, the iPhone 4S’s profile in the smartphone market may not be as resilient in the long term, due to the fact that it is perceived by consumers as a refresh of the iPhone 4 and a stand-in for the highly anticipated iPhone 5. This fact, above all else, may be reason enough for Apple to expedite the release of the iPhone 5, making an announcement in June rather than waiting for October.
That being said, there is no reason to believe that Apple will give up on aggressively marketing its current flagship iPhone.
Considering that Apple sold 35.5 million units in Q4 — a 121.4 percent increase — and an impressive 7.4 percent share of the mobile phone market, there is no reason to believe that iPhone 4S sales will fall flat in the Spring, and may even be buoyed by the rising excitement over the iPad 3 release, which is bound to have some residual sales impact on all Apple products.
By Michael Nace
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A number of reports have given indications that the iPhone 5 of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may feature near field communications or NFC capabilities. Some industry watchers have questioned the wisdom in offering these capabilities with the reports that a number of NFC readers from third party manufacturers for the iPhone were not widely-used.
However it appears that that Apple may offer NFC capabilities for the iPhone 5 as it was revealed that the company was working on a wireless payment system that will compete with the Google Wallet. The iWallet payment system was reportedly revealed following an interview with Ed McLaughlin of MasterCard (NYSE:MA). The use of the EasyPay system in a number of Apple stores in the US showed that the company was keen on using a wireless payment system.
Earlier reports have also hinted at the possibility that NFC technology will be used on the iPhone 5. Prior to the release of the iPhone 4S, reports revealed that a number of NFC ideas were reportedly patented by Apple although it was not used on the recently-released iPhone 4S.
However it may possibly be used on the iPhone 5 when it will finally enter the market.
However McLaughlin did not comment on the plans of Apple with the iPhone 5 although he did not deny the involvement of the company which has only resulted to more speculations in connection to the subject. These speculations revolved on the possibility that the NFC payment system is being developed by Apple which may utilize the secure iTunes and Apple ID system.
According to McLaughlin the company has a number of smartphone manufacturers as partners although he is not revealing any of them. This disclosure gave industry watchers more reason to think about the possibility that the iPhone 5 may feature NFC capabilities.
Earlier reports have hinted at the possibility that the iPhone 5 may be release in either June or October. The iPhone 5 may feature a quad-core processor, larger display screen, and LTE connectivity.
As the iPad 3 release date draws ever closer and certainty grows in relation to iPhone 5 features and specs, other key industry players the likes of Google’s Motorola and Android in general look set to up the ante in luring buyers away from iOS devices.
This week saw the approval of the incredible $12.5 billion deal whereby Google took control of Motorola Mobility, leaving little question as to where the next big thing in the world of Android for 2012 will originate.
Google continues to lead the US market in turns of overall Smartphone OS market share with its various versions of Android, while Motorola has long been celebrated as a key industry player in the manufacturing market – pioneering new technologies and form factors across the board.
Motorola may have had a rather difficult time in keeping up with the likes of Samsung and Apple over the course of recent months, but analysts are in unanimous agreement that if any company could give the brand the facelift and boost in prowess needed to take it to the top, Google it well and truly is.
As such, it seems more than a likelihood that the fabled iPhone 5 will be given quite the run for its money by a pure Google Android Smartphone at some point in 2012, offering the very best of both brands in one killer device.
What’s more, there is every possibility that the Xoom tablet could be resurrected in one form or another, serving up yet another massive attempt at dethroning the upcoming iPad 3.
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John Cozen, a Web and mobile applications designer in San Diego, hasn’t been throttled yet either, but he’s been so disturbed by a warning that he’s “almost scared to use the phone,” he said. Complaining to ATT got him nowhere, and now he’s looking to switch to another carrier.
“I don’t think two to three gigabytes is an exorbitant amount,” he said. “Really, I’m just looking at pictures and text once in a while.”
ATT spokesman Mark Siegel said that as of last summer, the top 5 percent of data users were using 2 gigabytes of data per month. But he also said the company doesn’t actually throttle all of the top 5 percent “unlimited” data users. Last month, the figure was only 0.5 percent, or about 200,000 people, he said.
That’s because ATT only throttles users in areas where the wireless network is congested that month, Siegel said.
Siegel also pointed out that aside from moving to a tiered plan, “unlimited” plan users on the cusp of being throttled can use one of ATT’s 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, where usage is unmetered.
The unlimited plan worked fine for ATT a few years ago, when the iPhone was new. The company had ample capacity on its network, and wanted to lure customers with the peace of mind offered by unlimited plans. Now, a majority of ATT subscribers on contract-based plans have smartphones, and the proportion is growing every month. That’s putting a big load on ATT’s network.
The limited data plans force subscribers to keep an eye on their usage, so they don’t overwhelm ATT’s network. Verizon Wireless has adopted similar plans. But the two companies differ in how they manage their remaining “unlimited” subscribers.
Verizon doesn’t slow down the “5 percent” unless the cell tower their phone is connected to is congested at that moment, and it slows them down by the minimum amount necessary. By contrast, once ATT has decided to throttle your phone, it will be slow for the rest of the billing cycle, even if it’s 3 a.m. and there are no other cellphones competing for the capacity of that particular cell tower.
Apple will see a quarter-on-quarter decline in iPhone sales in Q1 2012, analyst firm Gartner has forecast.
After a bumper Q4 2011, in which it sold 35.5 million smartphones to end users – a 121.4 percent increase year-on-year – Apple
is likely to have a strong Q1 2012, but is unlikely to hit the same heights.
Apple took a 7.4 percent share of the mobile phone market in Q4 2011, though its share for the whole of 2011 was 5 percent.
Key rival Samsung, however, had a share of 19.4 percent in Q4 2011, compared to 17.7 percent for the year.
It was Nokia that ended the year on top of the mobile phone market, though, with a 23.4 percent share in Q4 2011, having shifted
112 million units.
Over the whole year, Nokia sold 422 million handsets, giving it a leading market share of 23.8 percent for the year. Samsung
sold 314 million handsets over the year, compared to Apple’s 89 million, according to Gartner’s figures.
When the smartphone market is separated out from the overall mobile phone market, though, Apple’s contribution looks a lot
There were 149 million global smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 47.3 percent increase from the fourth quarter
of 2010. Total smartphone sales in 2011 reached 472 million units and accounted for 31 percent of all mobile devices sales,
up 58 percent from 2010, Gartner said.
Apple also became the world’s top smartphone vendor in Q4 2011, with a market share of 23.8 percent and the top smartphone
vendor for 2011 as a whole, with a 19 percent market share.
“Western Europe and North America led most of the smartphone growth for Apple during the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Roberta
Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner.
“In Western Europe the spike in iPhone sales in the fourth quarter saved the overall smartphone market after two consecutive
quarters of slow sales.”