Don’t look at your calendars now, but we’re halfway through 2013 already. That means we’re officially in the year’s second half or third quarter. Q3 is notoriously slow for most technology top dogs, but then as the holiday season closes in, everyone gets out its big guns.
You might wonder by now, if you’re into Android as much as we are, what could the big kahunas of the industry have up their sleeves going forward to make us forget about the great achievements of H1 2013. The truth is you can’t even begin to imagine!
The Android army got more than a few worthy recruits from January to July, including Samsung’s Galaxy S4, the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and LG Optimus G Pro. But that can’t compare with the troops set to be deployed in the near future. Several sizzling hot gadgets will duke it out for the rank of general and, because we want you to be prepared for war, we’ve rounded up some of the usual suspects:
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
With roughly two months to go until the Note 3 will see daylight, there’s only one certainty about it – it’s going to be big. Literally, but also figuratively. Unlike the Note 2 though, it will have much stronger competition in the “phablet” arena (see below), so Samsung needs to bring its A game to make it the kind of box-office hit its predecessor has been and the GS4 is right now.
Based on existing rumors, that’s likely to happen, although there are reasons for concern tied up mostly to the design department. Sammy doesn’t even want to consider ditching plastic, which might cost the Koreans dearly.
HTC One Max
If Samsung fails, HTC can pick up the pieces and get back in the spotlight. The company’s One has already given the GS4 a run for its money in many ways, but it’s the One Max that will show once and for all if the Taiwanese are to stay in the elite.
Also known as the T6, this thing is far from confirmed, but chances are it’ll become official at around the same time as the Note 3 and should score big points exactly where we’re expecting the Note to fail – design, robustness, build quality.
And with a snazzy Snapdragon 800 processor, plus an ultra-crisp 6-inch Full HD screen, it could be just what most Android aficionados need.
Riding Nexus 4’s success wave and following up on that hit has proven a little tricky for LG, but, if you ask me, the Optimus G Pro is the most underrated Android gem of 2013’s first half. What’s next? An Optimus G2, only it won’t be called that way and instead be shortened to just G2.
Not really important, what is important is LG is rumored to be experimenting with several design innovations, including the placing of all physical buttons on the device’s back. That would allow the front part to be almost entirely screen, which I know will instantly make some of you drool.
The big question is if LG is ready to compete with Samsung or HTC in the marketing area as well.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra and Honami
Unlike the competition, Sony still has two flagship devices to launch in 2013, one that’s been formally introduced already and another that should become official in a matter of days. The duo intends to cover both the “phablet” and “regularly sized phone” niches, but Sony’s big problem remains its shady reputation in the West.
Well, not so much reputation as ties with the carrier community. The Xperia Z is not available on any of America’s biggest networks, so what Sony needs to do first is make sure the Z Ultra and/or Honami will be easy to score for the everyday user.
Second-generation Nexus 7
Android tablets in general don’t have a great reputation and are mostly viewed as cheap and clunky alternatives to Apple’s iPads. That’s save for the Nexus 7, of course, a slate that’s cheap but doesn’t look it.
And the Nexus 7-2, which rumor has it will also start at an incredibly low price, should look even better. Heck, the specs we’re hearing are worthy of a high-end slate, so if Google can pull all that off and still keep the pricing bar low, the sky is the limit for this thing’s sales numbers.
Nexus 5 and Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie
A phone and a piece of software may appear to have nothing in common, but the N5 and Android 5 will most likely come together or not at all this year. There are conflicting reports about both in the media, with not even a shred of evidence pointing at N5’s existence and very little confirming KLP’s, so you shouldn’t be too disappointed if they’ll be delayed until 2014.
If they are coming in 2013, we only know Android 5.0 will look to limit fragmentation in the ecosystem by working even on outdated devices, while the Nexus 5 is unlikely to be manufactured by LG. Or is it?
The Motorola Moto X is to be introduced next week, along with a bunch of mysterious Ultra devices. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 should get a follow-up sometime in the fall, though the rumor mill is very quiet about that.
Asus probably has a few slate aces up its sleeve, Acer likewise, plus there’s HTC’s One Mini and a number of Windows/Android hybrids from Samsung. And don’t even get me started on the once upon a time “small” Chinese OEMs (Oppo, Huawei, ZTE, etc.) that are looking bolder and bolder by the day.
In a nutshell, expect the unexpected from Android, the mobile OS that keeps on growing and growing in both quality and quantity. After all, they don’t say it’s an Android world for nothing.