Smartphone Preview: iPhone 5, Google Nexus Prime, and Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango"

There’s been some big news hitting the smartphone market recently, including HP's blockbuster announcement earlier this week that it was dumping WebOS hardware like the HP TouchPad, Palm Pre, and Palm Veer. Google gobbled up Motorola Mobility, arguably as a defense against the mobile patent consortium formed by Microsoft, Apple, Sony-Ericsson and others. And a recent smartphone market share report by Comscore verifies what many in the industry have been saying about RIM, which increasingly looks like it is fast becoming a much less important company in the smartphone space than it used to be.

There's even more big news on the way, with a number of significant new smartphones hitting the market over the next few months. Here's a quick rundown of what we have to expect in the weeks to come.

 

Apple iPhone 5
If I could get a dollar for every rumor that has been ever been written about the iPhone, I'd be a wealthy man - like Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons-style wealthy. The latest iPhone to draw this much gossip and speculation is the iPhone 5, which should (according to a preponderance of rumors) be available sometime in early October. The new features in this device are wholly open to speculation and guesstimation at this point, but based on the level of Internet chatter we can probably bet that the iPhone 5 will offer 4G support, a faster dual-core processor, a larger display (possibly an AMOLED), more storage, iOS5, and undoubtedly some other features I haven't listed here. Regardless of what features the iPhone 5 ends up with, it should make the smartphone battle for the next half of the year an interesting one.

 

Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" Devices
The sudden departure of HP WebOS-based phones from the market -- namely the Pre and the Veer -- and the ongoing market share declines of RIM's Blackberry could finally give Windows Phone 7 a place on the smartphone market share podium. Granted, Windows Phone 7 would still have a long way to go before even coming within visual range of Android and iOS, but recent market events have clearly gone Microsoft's way. The Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" promises to be a solid update, and the latest crop of Windows Phone 7 devices expected this fall should put Microsoft in an even better position to make market share gains in the space being vacated by HP/WebOS and the collapse of RIM. (Read Paul Thurrott's take on "Mango" as well.)

 

Google Nexus Prime
Google is also prepping the next iteration of its own Google-branded phone for launch in October, a phone which has been tentatively dubbed the "Nexus Prime" and or the “Nexus 4G",” depending on which sources you believe. According to the Boy Genius Report, this new phone will boast a "...4G LTE radio, 1GB of RAM, 1080p HD video capture and playback, a 1-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 5-megapixel rear camera." It's also been reported that the Nexus Prime could be the first phone to sport Android 4.0, which is being developed under the codename "Ice Cream Sandwich."

Google ice cream sandwich
“Ice Cream Sandwich” is the codename for Android 4.0, the latest smartphone OS from Google

Samsung Galaxy S II
I blogged a big about the impending U.S. arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S II last week, a product launch that shouldn't be discounted, even against such formidable new releases as the iPhone 5 and Google Nexus Prime. The Galaxy S II has a raft of impressive features, and its U.S. variant should have an equally impressive list of specs list. The U.S. edition of the Galaxy S II will likely be known under a variety of different names depending on which carrier you choose, put all versions will finally give U.S. smartphone aficionados access to the device that Vlad Savov over at Engadget said is the "...best Android smartphone yet, but more importantly, it might well be the best smartphone, period."

 

This latest crop of smartphones will undoubtedly push the mobile market forward even farther than it is today, and should help ensure that consumers have even more attractive choices for their smartphone dollars this holiday season.

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