Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Android wave rolls onward...

Today's announcement of the new iPhone 4S appears to have been something of an anti-climax. The specs reveal  a sizeable improvement in speed and capacity over the iPhone 4. The processor is faster, though it isn't clear to me how much faster. Fast enough the iPhone 4S can now handle 1080p video capture over the iPhone 4's 720p. The camera is 8mp instead of 5mp. You get more storage. The graphics chip is faster.

The phone appears to come with both GSM and CDMA support, so one phone can be used on all US providers. That particular feature will be useless in New Zealand as there won't be any CDMA left here in less than a year when Telecom NZ shut down their CDMA network completely.

But the screen is still only 3.5", puny compared to the 4.3" and 4.5" displays more or less standard on the Android phones in the same class. To put it in perspective, the Samsung Galaxy S II android phone is arguably a better spec overall - larger screen, in particular, and it costs a fair bit less than an iPhone 4S and you don't have to use iTunes.....unless you want to....and then you can use apps like iSyncr or DoubleTwist.

There doesn't appear to be a compelling case for an Apple iPhone 4 owner to upgrade, though maybe an iPhone 3 owner from a couple of years back might see value in making the move.

This iPhone 4S feels like it was programmed in a couple of years ago to milk some more cash from the growing band of Apple faithful while at the same time offering an incremental improvement...and Apple controls the pace. I'm not sure Apple could see how successful Android was going to be when they made the decisions that defined the iPhone 4S. I wonder if they are re-evaluating their plans going forward in light of their market share being 'contained' by Android at 28% of new phones sold - compared to Android's 56% - while the rest of the smartphone competitors have wilted badly in the latest quarter.

As usual, we'll see. It's been an awesome ride and I've had a chance to own some truly amazing phones over the past couple of years. My current favourite is my LG Opitmus 3D. Yes, it still runs Froyo (Android v2.2) and it 'only' has 512MB of RAM (like the iPhone 4), but it is dual-core 1GHz and performs very well compared to anything else out there. But above all I love the 3D display and taking 3D pics and videos. The higher spec phones like the SGS II and the HTC Sensation (I have owned them both) seem....flat by comparison.

As for an iPhone 4S....It's looking like Android is already in the lead and its only going to get wider. New and better phones due out soon....and again soon after that.