The widely-rumoured Apple iPhone 5 is scheduled to make an appearance on 12 September, Nokia-Microsoft, too, is allegedly launching new smartphones and Samsung has already released a new Windows 8 phablet (phone that masquerades as a tablet). Going by Gartner’s latest mobile and smartphone sales figures, demand for the iPhone 4S has already slowed presumably because people are waiting for the new iPhone to launch.
If there is indeed a new Apple device (and in all probability, there will be), it should surface in Indian markets or on leading online e-commerce websites 30-50 days after the actual announcement. Predictably, it will also result in price mark downs for the older iPhones (like the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 etc).
Motorola Mobility is also set to host its own event in September to showcase some new smartphones and Amazon.com too has a media gathering planned in Los Angeles that is widely believed to unveil the company’s first smartphone offering, along with an updated version of its Kindle Fire tablet. The only notable vendor silent this year is BlackBerry maker Research in Motion which has delayed its new platform (BB10), expected to challenge the market leaders, until early 2013.
Even if you’re not obsessed to own the latest smartphone hardware and software in the market, it’s still recommended to wait out a few weeks, as prices on current lot of hardware will inevitably drop as newer devices become available. So, let the big vendors take the wraps off their new smartphones before you go and invest more than Rs 20,000 to own that value-for-money handset.
Apple and device upgrade logic
The arrival of the iPhone 5 should provide the greatest upgrade opportunity yet as the expected new design with a larger screen and likely other stylistic changes to the form factor will certainly make a strong case for iPhone 4 users to upgrade.
But if you bought the iPhone 3GS or are still carrying either the iPhone 3G or the original iPhone, then even the iPhone 4S makes an affordable and a very sensible upgrade. A new iPhone could drive down the iPhone 4S prices and hence it is best to wait until Apple unveils whatever it has to. Logically, Apple follows the 2-year customer cycle and that indicates its time we see a new hardware from them.
Clearly a premium smartphone, Apple knows very well that people wouldn’t be able to upgrade every time a new iPhone came out if they started launching two models a year (like other companies). That’s why the approach is adding software upgrades and few cosmetic hardware tweaks, just as they did between the iPhone 3G and 3GS and later the 4 and 4S.
The sixth-generation iPhone may be just 10 days away, but rival device-makers are making sure that Apple doesn't have the spotlight all to itself. Even as Samsung continues selling its Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note products in high numbers — despite losing a high-profile patent dispute with Apple last week, the company at an electronics show in Berlin announced a new Windows 8 phone called ATIV S. The new smartphone sports a high-end 4.8-inch display, Gorilla glass display and an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera, detailed an official Microsoft blog. The device will be available in October-November.
South Korean rival Samsung, which is also Apple’s primary smartphone competitor, shipped more than 50 million smartphones in Q2 2012, twice as many as Apple during the same period. It clearly has become a new favourite of the smartphone crowd.
Samsung also showed off an updated version of its Google Android-based Galaxy Note phablet. The latest version boasts of improved stylus functions (allows users to scribble notes, select areas on the screen etc), a 5.5-inch screen, quad-core processor and the latest version of the Android operating system. Company has not confirmed a launch date but it is said to be in markets by October. The original Galaxy Note was showcased at IFA 2011 and despite an odd-looking 5-inch display screen meant to define this phone-cum-tablet in the smartphone crowd, it was a hit in many markets.
Windows 8 and Nokia
According to Taiwan-based publication DigiTimes, which covers the electronics components industry, Nokia has a slate of Windows 8 devices up its sleeve, ready for its 5 September event (just one week ahead of Apple) at Nokia World 2012 in Helsinki. Nokia has also released a teaser video on YouTube announcing "Things are about to change on 5 September 2012."
The next version of Windows Phone from Nokia will use the same code kernel as Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8 – which has just been "released for manufacture" to computer makers and partner OEMs. Analysts and technology blogs have speculated that at least two new Lumia handsets are expected to be announced. The major plus for Microsoft's push into emerging markets with its phones later this year is that Nokia, unlike in the United States, has an almost unmatched reputation in the emerging countries (like India and China) for producing quality devices.
Others like HTC, Samsung, Acer, ZTE, and Huawei are also expected to make top-end products based on the new mobile operating system.
More hardware for the Android
Google’s Android OS, an open source platform, is widely accessible to all mobile manufacturers. As Android’s hardware ecosystem evolves, there are new devices coming out more or less every week (in the next 2 months), presenting consumers a very exciting slew of handsets.
For starters, Samsung's South Korean rival, LG, is set to roll out a device similar to the Galaxy Note, with a 5-inch screen and stylus later this year. LG has also officially announced the LG Optimus G that is said to have a quad core processor, 2GB RAM, 13 megapixel back camera & a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera, 2,100mAh battery along with a 4.7 inch display. The device will be shipped with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but will be upgraded to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Sony too is serious about clinching its place in the smartphone race. The company unveiled three new Android smartphones — Xperia T, Xperia V and Xperia J — which it hopes will turnaround massive losses and a degrading reputation. Xperia T is a 4.6-inch, dual-core processor smartphone that comes with Android 4.0.4 at the time of launch with a promised update to Jelly Bean. Xperia V will sport a 4.3-inch display and dual-core processor and the budget-friendly Xperia J is a 4-inch touchscreen smartphone. Sony’s emphasis on the display
The company has not announced any pricing or launch dates but the devices are expected to be in markets by Q4 2012.