Within just ten hours of each other, two new smartphones were announced aimed at knocking the iPhone 4S off its perch. Samsung and Google unveiled the Galaxy Nexus deals, the latest in its highly successful and popular Galaxy series which is the first handset to run Android 4.0, and Motorola launched its new Droid Razr deals. 2011 has been the year of Android, largely thanks in part to high quality devices like the Samsung Galaxy SII and the Sony Xperia range. Android now accounts for 40% in market share, with many smartphone users suggested their specs and style are much better than Apple devices and Windows phones.
In terms of specification and looks, the Nexus appears to win. The Nexus is huge with a 4.65 inch 1280 x 720 pixel resolution screen compared with the Droid’s 4.3 inch qHD 960 x 540 pixel resolution touch screen. The Nexus’ Super AMOLED curved screen is designed to make images and video look crystal clear and its shape is aimed at making it ergonomically easier to hold and use whether texting, typing or making a call. In terms of looks, the major selling point of the Razr, unsurprisingly, is its size. At 130.7 mm by 68.9 mm by 7.1 mm it is incredibly small and incredibly super skinny, undoubtedly one of the smallest smartphones on the market.
Underneath the bonnet, in terms of operating systems there will be more excitement surround the Galaxy Nexus thanks to its status as the first handset to run Android 4.0. The Droid Razr runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread. Although the new Android OS, named Ice Cream Sandwich, will be rolled out on different devices, the nexus is the first one to run it without any other software, and illustrates a growing partnership between Google and Samsung. With new features like Face Recognition and an option to set and monitor data usage it should feel faster and with a smoother service. In terms of power, both possess a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB of Ram. The Razr has 16GB of internal storage, the Nexus is available with both 16GB and 32GB. The Razr also offers 4GLTE, where applicable with its carrier.
Where some fans might be disappointed with the Nexus is in terms of its camera. While like other smartphones at the top end of the market, the Razr has an 8 megapixel camera that supports 1080b video. While the Nexus supports the same HD video quality, its camera is only 5 megapixels, even lagging behind the iPhone 4S which upgraded from the previous generation to an 8 megapixel. The front of the smartphone has a 1.3 megapixel camera. As the handset is such a centrepiece of the Android 4.0 launch it seems strange that it would carry a camera so much weaker than its rivals.
Android has had a phenomenal year. Even the success of the iPhone 4S will not dampen that as the increased popularity of the Apple product appears to be taking business from Research in Motion’s Blackberry rather than from Android devices. That two such potential industry leaders should come on the market so close after the launch of Apple’s new smartphone illustrates the desire for Android manufacturers to keep developing new ideas and designs to keep consumers happy suggests their success could run into 2012. Whether those with the Galaxy SII will upgrade straight away, or will simply wait for an Android 4.0 update on their own device remains to be seen. The immense popularity of the SII could be the only thing to dampen the Galaxy Nexus’ welcome; expectation is very high. Motorola has continued its focus on creating an innovative and eye-catching style that is in line with its other devices. It is also an powerful smartphone more than capable of holding its own in the market. For tech nerds, the Nexus will edge it slightly, although its camera does let it down.