Latest in Smartphones: Third Quarter 2010
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The Motorola Backflip is a mid-range smartphone offered by AT&T that stands out for its unusual "reverse flip" design and extra touch pad behind the display for scrolling. This Android-powered smartphone is designed around the MOTOBLUR experience and packs some fairly decent specs, including a 3.1-inch capacitive touch screen, 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, auto-focus and geo-tagging support, accelerometer, and a 528MHz processor. It's currently shipping with Android 1.6 but the device is scheduled to get an update to version 2.1 later this year.
|Carrier: AT&T||Talk Time: 6 hours|
|Price: $80 with two-year contract||Standby Time: 13.1 days|
|Manufacturer: Motorola||Weight: 4.7 ounces|
|Platform: Android 1.6||Wireless: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR|
|Network: GSM, HSPA 7.2||Storage: 256MB on-board (172MB usable), 32GB supported via microSD|
Palm Pre Plus
A minor update to the original Pre that debuted last year, the Palm Pre Plus brings double the available memory and internal storage, as well as an improved slide-out keyboard. The device has received mostly positive reviews far and wide, and at the time of launch it was considered the first serious challenger to Apple's iPhone. Much of the hype revolved not around the device itself, but on its platform. Palm's webOS is intuitive and really shines when it comes to multi-tasking. Unfortunately, it hasn't received the wide support that Palm intended and its App Catalog has suffered as a result, unfulfilling the phone's entire potential.
Nevertheless, with the HP acquisition and their intention to continue development of webOS we can only imagine that it will continue to be improved upon. Spec-wise the Palm Pre Plus carries a 3.1-inch (320 x 480) display, 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and geo-tagging support, a 600MHz processor and 16GB of storage. With an elegant design that fits perfectly in your hand, the Palm Pre Plus is a great alternative if you are looking for a smartphone to balance work and play.
|Carrier: Verizon, AT&T||Talk Time: 5.5 hours|
|Price: $150 after rebate with two-year contract||Standby Time: 14.6 days|
|Manufacturer: Palm||Weight: 4.9 ounces|
|Platform: webOS||Wireless: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR|
|Network: CDMA, EV-DO Rev. A on Verizon; GSM, HSPA 7.2 on AT&T||Storage: 16GB built-in (15GB available)|
Google Nexus One
Google's Nexus One was announced to great fanfare back in January. Built to order by HTC, it was the first (and still the only) Android phone sold directly by Google to consumers, touted at that time as the phone that would revolutionize the handset retailing process. That didn't quite came to be, but in big part that was due to poor execution and carriers' reluctance to support a device they couldn't sell through their own retail channels. The device itself is quite powerful, very similar in specs to the feature-packed Droid Incredible, with a high-resolution 3.7-inch touch OLED display and 1GHz processor, along a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera and outstanding battery life.
Although newer Android smartphones have been released since January, last week the Nexus One became the first to be upgraded with version 2.2 of Google's mobile platform (codenamed "Froyo") and Flash 10.1 support.
|Carrier: AT&T, T-Mobile||Talk Time: Up to 7 hours on 3G (10 on 2G)|
|Price: $530 unlocked; $180 with two-year contract||Standby Time: 10.4 days|
|Manufacturer: HTC||Weight: 4.6 ounces|
|Platform: Android 2.1||Wireless: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR|
|Network: GSM, HSPA 7.2||Storage: 4GB microSD card included, up to 32GB supported|
HTC Droid Eris
This little brother to the Droid Incredible and close cousin to the Hero is one of the cheapest Android phones you can buy, but it still packs enough punch to make it a worthy alternative. The Droid Eris features a 3.2-inch capacitive-touch display, 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus and video capture, 528MHz processor, and HTC's vaunted Sense UI. Compared to the HTC Hero released on Sprint, the Eris features a proximity sensor and a slightly thinner body. The phone was officially updated to Android 2.1 back in May, but a future upgrade to 2.2 looks uncertain.
|Carrier: Verizon||Talk Time: 5 hours|
|Price: $80 with two-year contract||Standby Time: 17.5 days|
|Manufacturer: HTC||Weight: 4.4 ounces|
|Platform: Android 2.1||Wireless: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR|
|Network: CDMA, EV-DO Rev. A||Storage: 8GB microSD card included, up to 32GB supported|
Apple iPhone 3GS
Despite being launched nearly a year ago, the iPhone 3GS remains as relevant today as many other smartphones in the market -- especially at its new $99 price point. With the introduction of iOS 4, Apple's previous-gen smartphone received a welcomed breath of life through multitasking support, better application management and enterprise support, and a multitude of smaller enhancements like threaded emails or tap-to-focus for videos.
This stylish device is no slouch when it comes to hardware, either. Compared to the iPhone 4 you'll be missing out on FaceTime video calling, HD video recording and a higher resolution camera, 802.11n, the three axis-gyroscope for gaming, and will have to make with the more standard 420 x 320 resolution screen.
|Carrier: AT&T||Talk Time: 5 hours|
|Price: $99 with two-year contract||Standby Time: 12.5 days|
|Manufacturer: Apple||Weight: 4.8 ounces|
|Platform: iOS 4||Wireless: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR|
|Network: GSM, HSPA 7.2||Storage: 8GB on-board|