Over the past few years, Apple has dominated the smartphone industry with its polished, touchscreen marvel. Since its launch in 2007, the iPhone has driven competitors to new heights of innovation. Although lagging for some time, true iPhone challengers are now emerging onto the market, chomping readily at the advantages previously held by the pocketable giant. Here are a few enticing mobile models attractive enough to seduce even the most faithful iPhone lovers. We’ll look at just those elements in which the device competes with its rival and restrict our conversation to the highest model of each device.
Palm Pre Plus
The Palm Pre’s CES 2010 unveiling set the iPhone killers up another rung. Its lively operating system, webOS, uses a unique card user interface. Palm webOS was a breath of fresh air when contrasted with the unchanging iPhone homescreen. Palm Pre allows the user to navigate the smartphone like a PC desktop, replacing the idea of windows with a card metaphor. More impressively, multi-tasking allows applications to run in the background, something iPhone users have been impatiently waiting for. Multi-tasking also integrates nicely with the live card interface, creating visually appealing and functional navigation. Another ace up the Palm Pre’s sleeve? Palm Pre also has a mobile hotspot feature, useful for connecting up to 4 friends or devices.
The Palm Pre Plus is as fast as the iPhone, and its subtle curves fit nicely in your hand. It may not have app might, but its messaging, browsing and sharing functions are well worth the consideration.
Google Nexus One
It’s no surprise Google presents itself as a challenger to Apple’s iPhone 3GS. As far as innovation and creativity, Google has proven itself rival. The Nexus One touched down January 2010 and brought with it a 1gig Snapdragon processor, 3.7″ screen and a 5pmx camera. The iPhone’s 600mhz comes in just behind the Nexus One when it comes to browsing speeds and loading times.
Similarly, the Google Phone trumps the iPhone 3GS in screen resolution – 480×800 – and its on screen keyboard is roomier. Texting is made simpler not only because of the screen real-estate, but also because of the Nexus One’s speech-to-text feature. Far more customizable them the iPhone’s static UI, widgets as well as live wallpaper and folders allow a Nexus One user immediate access to all his information. App jumping is not required.
Although the native functions on the Android phone are plentiful, the Android Marketplace is the largest competitor to Apple’s App Store. Despite iPhone’s almost 200 000 apps, Android’s 50 000 apps are growing strong. Google Maps Navigation with turn-by-turn is one free application that is leaps and bounds more useful than iPhone’s Google Maps. With turn-by-turn navigation in satellite view or streetview, it likely stands as the best navigation device out there. And oh yea, it has impeccable call quality – if you care about that sort of thing.
There are few that stand beyond Google’s Nexus One, and as the marketplace progresses, it’ll become increasingly difficult to determine whether the iPhone 3GS stands on, above or below, par.
The best iPhone contender so far is undoubtedly HTC’s HD2. Supercharged with its Snapdragon processor, HD2 with Sense UI handles navigation and graphics with fluidity and style. Presented March 2010, the HD2’s 4.3″ multi-touch capacitive screen looms over iPhone’s 3.5″, and does an outstanding job at showing itself off.
It’s as stylish as the iPhone while possessing quite a bit more durability. HD2 runs HTC’s beautiful Sense UI on Windows Mobile 6.5 Pro. Instead of just rows upon rows of icons, the interface incorporates widgets and notifications, tied together with gorgeous animations and dynamic transitions. Resolution is at 480×800 WVGA against iPhone’s 320×480. It even has a great anti-smudging feature, ironically something you could perhaps only really appreciate after having used an iPhone.
A 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flashlight helps you build your photo album, or simply download whole Facebook albums and tie them to your contacts. The HD2 differs from the iPhone in that it is not application-oriented, or rather less so. Sense UI itself integrates Facebook, Twitter, calendar, SMS/MMS, mail and more. You don’t have to jump from application to application to get your information or to perform those task that have become second nature on most new-fangled radiophones. The homescreen, even the lock-screen, get you connected at a glance.
HTC is perfectly suited in rivaling the iPhone’s sleek appeal. Again, you might find yourself asking whether or not you need access to 10 Facebook apps or 20 twitter apps when your device feels so complete and well-rounded on its own.
The iPhone killers are undeniably getting killier, for lack of an actual word. Eyes are beginning to wander and the loyal are starting to realize there are some exciting phones out there ready to be multi-touched. Apple still stands on a mountain of amazing apps – a fact that can’t be readily dismissed – but its possible we’ll soon see the day where even that claim will not be enough to sway someone’s opinion. It’s not that the iPhone 3GS isn’t fun and great, it’s just that the Palm Pre Plus, Google Nexus One and HTC’s HD2 are fun…in a different way.