While Samsung’s biggest competitor is certainly Apple, in the Android world HTC and Samsung seem to be the most evenly matched each year. While Samsung takes most of the popularity and profit with each new flagship, HTC still manages to release a great flagship device each and every year. So, what do the current rumours say about each company’s new and upcoming devices?
The HTC M7 ‘Superphone’
While we understand why HTC went with the ‘HTC One’ marketing scheme in 2012 as a way to compete with the ‘Samsung Galaxy’ branding, we feel it confused more people than it brought in to the fold. It’s still unlikely that the, at this point rumored and possible working-title of ‘M7’ will turn out to be wrong, but it’s as good as any moniker that HTC has come out with recently.
So far the M7 is rumor to have a quad-core 1.7GHz processor, a 13 megapixel (MP) camera, 2300 mAh battery and a 4.7 inch display with 468 pixels per inch (ppi).
Quad-core 1.7GHz processor: We very much don’t doubt this at all, except for, perhaps, that it could go the way that Android phones always seem to and get a power bump before release. We certainly don’t expect to see anything more than a quad-core from either Samsung or HTC in the earlier stages of 2013, but we’ve been surprised before. At the very least it’s doubtful that any smartphone could really need more than four cores in the current market.
13MP camera: 13MP seems to be a theme with rumors this year. Between 2011 and 2012 we didn’t really see a jump in the MP ratings of flagship devices; instead we saw it stay at 8MP while manufacturers focused on improving image sensors, lens systems and overall software. We still feel that this would be the best choice, as a 13MP photo would take up huge amounts of hard drive space and probably not improve shot quality too much. Although it is true that a camera with 13MP support may provide superior digital zoom.
2300 mAh battery: This is a fairly powerful battery. It’s likely that most of this extra power will be to support the new high-res display, but it’s a fair indicator that the M7 will also ship with full 4G LTE support.
4.7 inch, 468 ppi display: It’s beginning to look like this will be the year of the Android 1080p display, or thereabouts. Despite Androids finally equalling or surpassing Apple’s Retina Display in terms of pixel density, the resolution train has kept on rolling. We find no problem with this. Many a person is likely to think this improvement foolish, as Apple did its job well selling the idea that there’s no point increasing resolution beyond ‘Retina’, but people have said similar things about TVs and computer screens for decades, yet next year’s model is always noticeably clearer. As for size, we like 4.7 and 4.8 inch displays. Anything larger and you’re edging very close to ‘phablet’ territory. It’s true that we like a good phablet, but that’s a very niche market. A flagship phone would do well to stay around last year’s sizes. That being said, each new generation with its larger screen has been more popular than the last, so who knows how the public will react?
The Samsung Galaxy S IV
Rumors for the Galaxy S4 abound. The Samsung Galaxy S3 was a huge international success and we can certainly understand why. It’s fast, smooth, pretty and has a range of cool services and functions that are found only on the S3 and S3 4G.
It’s no surprise that Galaxy S4 rumors are circulating more than that of the HTC ‘M7’, we’ll do our best to sift through the dross.
So far the Galaxy S4 is rumored to be shipping with a Galaxy Note-style S-Pen, a 4.99 inch 1080p display, 13MP camera, quad-core or 8-core processor and an absolutely huge variety of predictions on release dates that we won’t even bother go in to.
S-Pen: We’re not sure if Samsung will include this or not, as it might eliminate a lot of the demand for their Galaxy Note series. Currently the only real S-Pen/stylus handset on the market that’s really shipping is the Note II (and still the Note, to some extent) so Samsung may not want to cut in to its own sales when there’s no real competition. Still, we think that an S-Pen on a Galaxy S device would be absolutely awesome. We understand that a stylus can sound silly to some, but once you’ve used it you’ll understand. It really does just add more functionality to a device.
Quad-core/8core processor: We’ve heard a variety of specs for the supposed quad-core of the S4, but 1.8GHz seems to be the more common and very believable. We whole-heartedly doubt that Samsung will be including an 8-core beast. An 8-core processor is not only wholly unnecessary at this point, but would be a massive power drain on the battery, especially on top of 4G LTE (which we just assume the GS4 will have) and a massive 1080p display. Not only that, but there’s bound to be heating issues with such a powerful CPU that, judging by the hot dual-core of the GS2 and warm quad-core of the GS3, Samsung is unlikely to have figured out just yet.
4.99 inch 1080p display: The 4.99 inch rumor is everywhere right now and we really hope it turns out to be false. The cut-off for a ‘phablet’ appears to have been unofficially set at 5 inches, so if Samsung wanted to make the largest smartphone possible then 4.99 inches would be it. However, the GS3 already received a lot of bad reviews from average consumers because it was simply too big for comfort, so we hope Samsung hasn’t gone even bigger this time. We love the 4.8 inch display of the GS3, but 4.99 would be pushing it, even for us. As for the 1080p resolution, we don’t doubt it. Like we said, 1080p seems to be this year’s Android theme.
HTC M7 vs Galaxy S4
Remember very carefully that these are all 100% rumors, we think that HTC is going to have its work cut out for it this year. Samsung is still riding on the success of the GS3 in 2012, while HTC’s One X and One XL didn’t do quite as well. Still, HTC did see some promising profits last year, compared to previous ones, so it’s all together possible that it will play and even better hand this time around.
Of course we expect both phones to turn out to be fantastic Android 4.2 devices with 4G support and crystal-clear displays, but as for the specifics we’ll wait off a bit before we make any firm opinions.