The smartphone market has matured dramatically since the last time (spring 2010) I was in the market for a new phone. Earlier this year Android surged into the lead for smartphone OS nationally and globally, ahead of IOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone and Symbian. The increased volume gives us a wider range of choices on the Android platform, including niche devices with improved social networking or multimedia features.
I will be upgrading from my current HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon Wireless, which has exhibited remarkable reliability and burrowed into a comfortable spot in my front pocket. The Droid Incredible, which arguably helped launch the most recent Android wave along with the Motorola Droid, , has been showing its age lately. Looking at my wife and stepdaughter’s new HTC Thunderbolt, I marvel at the rapid response and 4G LTE speeds, and envy their shiny 4.3 inch super AMOLED displays.
The two current Android smartphones which I’m evaluating are the recently-announced Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Droid Razr. It’s ironic that the Samsung Galaxy device is named “Nexus” since last year I was originally planning to purchase the Google Nexus One, which eventually only saw limited release. (Too much Nexus – have been working with lots of Cisco Nexus switches this year too)
The Motorola Droid Razr is currently available, and lists for $299 at Verizon. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be available first from Verizon Wireless, but pricing and availability has not yet been announced.
The devices match up very closely to each other, with Samsung Galaxy Nexus distinguished as the first smartphone installed with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and the Droid Razr coming in lighter and thinner though with a smaller screen. Having handled the Razr, I can attest that it’s very comfortable in your hand, however for me the tie-breaker will likely be Ice Cream Sandwich.
Here’s a chart comparing the primary features:
|Samsung Galaxy Nexus||Motorola Droid Razr|
|Screen||4.65″ HD(1280 x 720) Super AMOLED||4.3” Super AMOLED|
|CPU||1.2 GHz dual core processor||1.2GHz dual core processor|
|Memory||1GB RAM||1GB RAM|
|Storage||16GB or 32GB||16 GB microSD card pre-installed|
|Camera(s)||5 MP (rear facing camera), 1.3MP Front||8 MP (rear facing camera), 1.3MP Front with 720p HD|
|Android OS||Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)||Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread)|
|Dimensions||135.5 X 67.94 X 9.47 mm (LTE)||130.7 x 68.9 x 7.1 mm|
|Interfaces||Micro USB, 2 Mics, HDMI via Micro-USB adapter||Micro USB, HDMI® Micro, 3.5mm|
|Battery||1850mAh||1780 mAh Li Ion|
|Data||CDMA800, CDMA1900, LTE B13 700, WiFi, Bluetooth||
CDMA800, CDMA1900, LTE B13 700, WiFi, Bluetooth
My first response to Cisco’s announcement today is measured skepticism. Cisco certainly plays a central role in most modern data centers, dominating arguably the most critical infrastructure component, the network. By consolidating network, compute, storage and virtualization systems, Cisco is essentially offering a “cloud in a box.” Aside from the obvious marketing angle of leverage the current excitement around the cloud, though, it seems that Cisco is realizing they need more to drive sales of the new Nexus enterprise switch platform. However, while VMware and Microsoft are natural partners for virtualization, I’m wary of Cisco’s initial venture into the compute space. After all, a handful of companies with names like IBM, Dell and HP already have substantial experience in delivering enterprise server solutions, and I noticed none of them were listed as partners in the Cisco announcement. This is certainly a stark illustration of the new balance of power in the infrastructure world, where hypervisors and VM’s are taking precedence over bare-metal servers. Very interesting…