Samsung just unveiled the next.. next big thing: the Galaxy S4. And while some might argue it's more Galaxy S III 'Plus' than brand-new, standard-setting flagship, there's no denying Samsung is going to sell a ton of these things. Our question, though, is will Samsung be selling one to you?
If you're in the market for an Android smartphone right now, you've got plenty of options: HTC's One is on the way shortly, there's the Xperia Z / ZL, and of course, the Nexus 4.
Back in the day, when I was using a Nexus One, custom launchers were all the rage on Android - not using one was strange. And when I had a DROID BIONIC, I still found myself using my go-to option - ADW.ex - most of the time. Today, though, my primary device is a Galaxy Note II, and I haven't had the urge to use a custom launcher for a moment since using it.
Now that Andy Rubin himself has officially snubbed what were apparently rather strong rumors of Google opening its own retail stores in the US, there's a lot of humdrum floating around about whether or not a Google Store would actually make sense.
On the one hand, with its increasing arsenal of hardware products on the Play Store, Google definitely has a wide enough selection of toys to at least give a standalone brick and mortar location (or two) a shot.
Last week, a rumor from ReadWrite indicated HP was re-entering the consumer tablet market, with Android-powered hardware. HP's first stab at tablets, the TouchPad, was one of the most spectacular failures in the company's history. But given how well it runs Android, you have to wonder: how would a similar tablet that was actually built for Android fare in the market?
If HP is working on Android tablets - which seems pretty likely, given the death of WebOS and the company's distaste for Windows RT - I personally think it could be a seriously disruptive force.
In the last year, we've seen a lot of great Android phones - like the Galaxy S III, Note II, One X, RAZR M, or the upcoming Xperia Z. There's little doubt that with every major handset release, we're seeing Android phone manufacturers up their collective 'game.' But way back when (you know, a couple years ago), the fact that Android phones generally weren't always good was a big draw to a Nexus handset for me personally.
Cars have always been an interest of mine, and the current "infotainment center" paradigm many automakers are pushing onto customers really does suck in a lot of ways. Pay $1500 for a crappy nav system that's hard to use, complicated, and woefully outdated in a couple years' time.
Buying a smartphone is a lot like telling a joke - timing is everything. Purchasing a Galaxy S III a few months ago was probably fine and dandy, but today, everybody sort of knows we're closing in on the next round of product announcements for 2013.
When do I buy? Which announcement do I wait for? Do I buy as soon as my contract expires, or sit on my upgrade until something new comes along?
CES is done and over, and while Android announcements were a little sparse this particular year, we didn't come away empty-handed. Sony unveiled its new flagship phones, NVIDIA dropped a bomb on everyone with Shield, and Huawei even made it to the front pages with its massive 6.1" phablet. Who do you think ended up rising above the noise, though? What Android product are you going to be watching most closely now that it's official?
With CES just days away, we're about to head into a dense week of tech product news. New devices across the board - phones, tablets, accessories, TV's, speakers, cameras, and more. A large chunk of those product announcements will probably, at least in some roundabout way, be relevant to Android.
But it's the phones and tablets I think that we're all most excited for, and that will probably make the biggest bang during this year's show overall.
As we near the end of 2012, the rumor mill for 2013 is already churning away. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published a report on a Motorola 'X Phone' project being headed up by a former Googler, and I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm dying to see a Google-Moto mashup, especially if the premise is trying new and interesting things.