The Definitive Android Smartphone Guide

The basic lowdown on Droids, Cliqs, Xperias, Moments and Heroes - broken down by price, carrier, processing speed and other features.


Android Autumn is in full swing

Although phones featuring Google's open-source Android operating system have been out for more than a year, it's only been in recent months that the platform has really caught on. In fact, this fall alone has seen the debut of several new high-profile Android devices from such esteemed manufacturers as HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Samsung. However, all these big smartphone releases are bound to leave casual observers confused — after all, if so many devices featuring Android are being released at once, how can we differentiate between them? In this slideshow, we'll give you the basic lowdown of each smartphone and break them down by price, carrier, processing speed and other features.

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The lowdown: This device is intended to be the crown jewel of the fall Android market and so far it's lived up to the hype. As the first Android-based device available on the Verizon network, the Droid uses an ARM Cortex A8 processor, which is the same processor used in the iPhone 3GS. However, while the iPhone's processor runs at 600MHz, the Droid's runs slightly slower at 550MHz. The device also features a full QWERTY keyboard, a 5 megapixel camera, a 3.7-inch display screen and a wide video graphics array of 480 x 854 pixels, which blows the current Android smartphone screen resolutions out of the water.


The lowdown: HTC had hoped to garner buzz by jumping on the Android bandwagon early by releasing its G1 device last fall and its myTouch 3G device late this summer. And while HTC's early entries did get it some publicity, they have now been overshadowed by other Android-based phones. The myTouch 3G, available on T-Mobile, gives you standard features for most Android phones: a 3.2-inch display screen, 192MB of RAM, a Flash Disk Drive of 512MB and an HVGA display of 480x320 pixels.


The lowdown: Samsung has been placing a lot more emphasis on developing Android-based smartphones this year, after initially falling behind rival device manufacturer HTC. The Moment's key feature is its homemade processor, which at 800MHz is the fastest processor of any Android phone on the market today. The Moment also features a standard 3.2-inch display with a 320x480-pixel resolution and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Samsung first began showing off its Android phone models during the CommunicAsia show in Singapore this summer when it debuted its Samsung Galaxy model.


The lowdown: As the first Android-based phone available on Sprint's 3G EV-DO Rev. A network, the Hero was the third part of HTC's early strike of Android phones. Although the Hero isn't significantly different from the myTouch 3G for T-Mobile, it does feature more RAM (288MB) than the myTouch and is also operable on both GSM and CDMA networks. The Hero also features a trackball with an enter button for users who prefer another option to pure touchscreen phones.


The lowdown: The key feature of the Cliq is the MOTOBLUR overlay that Motorola designed for the Android operating system. Essentially, MOTOBLUR is a social networking aggregator that lets users integrate friends' status updates and uploaded pictures from Twitter, Facebook and MySpace onto their homescreens. Motorola is banking that it can derive more value from its devices if it can add more value through its own software rather than simply relying on other developers. In addition to its MOTOBLUR features, the device has a slideout keyboard, a 3.1-inch display screen with a 320x480-pixel resolution and a 5.0 megapixel camera.


The lowdown: On paper, this device has the best specs of any Android device released to date. From its 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor to its four-inch display screen with 480x854-pixel resolution to its 8.1 megapixel camera, this device is Sony Ericsson's great hope for 2010. The phone, which isn't due to be released until the first quarter of 2010, doesn't yet have a carrier in the United States, but it will likely be available on either AT&T or T-Mobile since it is a GSM-based device.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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