Phone News ala Frood Part 2 of 3: Before the Storm

In my previous post on phones I set up the circumstances and got into a couple phones that I’ve looked at but wont touch.  This post will get into the leaks and rumors that have me itching to replace my DROID.

Starting with the phone I’m anticipating least, the HTC Incredible 4G is almost here, set to release on April 26.  It sounds like it will come up short of any phone in the HTC One line up with a small 4″ screen with 275 ppi density, 1.2Ghz dual-core processor, and 8GB storage.  This can’t be a phone intended to compete at the top of Verizon’s lists, but the recent leak showed it’s price listing as such.  It would kind of be a joke, especially since the Nexus has been dropping in price all over the place; a phone released last November which has struggled in reviews as a phone solution but still sells well at the top of Verizon’s lists and beats the pants off of the supposed “Incredible” specifications.  It also looks like the same bulky phone as it’s predecessor.  I’m curious what the real device ends up being even though I’m not particularly interested in it as a product. (Update 4/26/2012: Release date May 10th?)

The second to last phone on my list is Samsung’s Galaxy S3 that is already selling like hotcakes and it’s only in pre-order status completely lacking a formal release date, list of specifications, or original photos; and here I thought I was itchy for a new phone.  Rumored to be sporting a 1.4 quad-core processor, 4.7 inch display with 295 ppi density, and 12MP camera.  It’s also supposed to get 17% more battery mAh than the Nexus had, which had notorious power and wireless issues; I’m curious how Samsung can execute their own integration of Ice Cream Sandwich.  The leaked photos have been all over the place as far as specific aesthetics go, but flat and sleek glossy black seems to be a consistent theme.  I was kind of hoping to see a genuine curved, phone shaped screen from Samsung; the Nexus just had a curved glass overlay so it must be on some developer’s mind.  Anyway, with so little actually known about this device it’s hard to put up higher on my list.  There is a lot of hype, too much by comparison to the competition it has with the other phones.  Far from being head and shoulders above the rest; the One X and the Motorola Droid RAZR HD both seem to look the S3 square in the eye.  I don’t like paying extra to join a fad, so hopefully it lives up to it’s own wake. (Update 4/25/2012: New rumor that the Galaxy S3 doesn’t hit stores until June. Update 4/27/2012: Exclusive to Vzw? That’s promising.)

I anticipate my primary bar for comparison to be the Motorola RAZR HD.  With my wife’s recent update from a DROID to a DROID 4 my household has become familiar with Motorola craftsmanship which looks and feels like a brick, but takes punishment and keeps working.  My wife hard her DROID up until about a month ago when the screen started going on the blink, her two-year was up anyway and she loves the physical qwerty keyboard so the upgrade was a no-brainer.  My DROID is still chugging along like the reliable dinosaur it is; it’s been dropped, glued, wet, lost, tossed around carelessly, tapped on as I play drums with stuff in my pockets.  Obviously the word for this phone is: Reliable.  Even though I would describe Motorola to be the least interesting looking brand out of the three major Android manufacturers my experience has made me more than a little biased toward Moto even if that means getting something more brick-like.  Luckily I’m aiming to adapt to the way innovation it taking the industry which means I’m gonig away from the physical keyboard allowing for a lighter phone and/or larger battery.  With Moto’s last move with the RAZR MAXX and it’s stupid-awesome battery they still manage to keep it within 0.6 oz of the RAZR, the thinnest and lightest Android phone at VZW (which has been dropped to $99 recently, btw).  Battery life is one of those considerations that makes the phone a phone.  Now with the next step up Moto is taking the RAZR HD will beef up my primary concern about the device: the screen size.  Rumored to be getting a 4.6 inch display with 720p which would stick the pixel density up to 319 ppi bumping just past the Nexus to second place under the iPhone 4S, which has 326ppi.  I think this is actually pretty far fetched, it doesn’t sound like Motorola but if they put out a screen larger than 4.3 inches I’ll be happy.

Last phone on the list that I most anticipate coming to Verizon is Samsung’s Galaxy Note; the 5.3 inch monstrosity that managed to make the stylus cool again.  Rumored to be redubbed the Galaxy Journal for Verizon and/or Sprint and already set up for T-Mobile with Ice Cream Sandwich I look forward to seeing how uncomfortable that phone is in my pocket.  The Galaxy Note has been out for a good while, since last fall I think, and it’s been maintaining good reviews and perplexing people with it’s size ever sense.  Battery-life is so-so, which makes me curious how it holds up on Verizon’s network which is known to drain your battery faster than the others; I’ll be watching for that closely when or if it releases.  It sounds like the S-Pen/stylus makes it pretty convenient for jotting down notes, drawing, and probably other stuff I haven’t seen.  It’s supposed to be useful, and I’m curious how that’s possible.  I just want the screen.  That beautiful massive screen with a respectable 285 ppi that will let me read articles and play games with ease.  If this comes out for Verizon in the next month I will likely be owning a Note and, potentially, a spare or upgraded battery.

My next full report will in a few weeks after phones and/or news come out and I have one on hand.

Update 4/25/2012: This is the second rumor I’ve come across which describes the DROID RAZR HD with a 4.3 inch screen… 720p (which is 1280×720 resolution) has been a pretty constant rumor all along, since that justifies the “HD” label, a 4.3 inch screen puts the pixel density at 342 ppi.  Doing more research on phones already out there 342 ppi isn’t an out of the norm pixel density.  But pixel resolution and ICS are splitting hairs as far as I’m concerned which leaves a 13MP camera to justify the usual $100 difference between predecessor and successor.  It needs a bigger screen for me to justify leapfrogging the MAXX.

I’ve set May 28th as the longest I’m willing to hold off on making a choice.  Verizon Wireless usually has pretty good sales memorial day weekend so even if the good stuff still only has rumor puffs I can at least grab something tangible at a discount.

Update 4/26/2012: It’s smelling as though a lot of the gravy coming to Verizon will be happening beyond the time I’m willing to wait.  Hopefully rumors start turning into announcements when Sammy finally unclogs the rumor mill next Thurs.

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