Android has matured a lot as a platform since it arrived a few years ago. It has been gaining market share steadily and now holds a dominant position in the US. Thousands of new Android devices are getting activated each day; with this kind of growth, it was inevitable that Android would become the number one smartphone OS.
Here's a list of the top ten Android powered smartphones for 2011 which have been released or are about to hit the market.
1. Samsung Galaxy S II
The original Samsung Galaxy S was a smash hit and it catapulted Samsung into pole position as an Android smartphone manufacturer. The follow up, the Samsung Galaxy S II is unbeatable. It is packing a dual core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A-9 processor with 1 GB of RAM. The Super AMOLED Plus display is 4.3 inches at a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and it looks amazing. It comes in 16 GB or 32 GB varieties and with the option to add another 32 GB via a microSD card no phone offers more storage. The camera is 8 MP and it offers 1080p video recording. It runs on Android 2.3 with the TouchWiz 4.0 overlay. It is thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4 and right now there is no better Android smartphone available.
2. Motorola Atrix 4G
The Motorola Atrix represents an attempt to innovate in the smartphone market. This device can dock with a laptop or media station peripheral and double up as your hub for both. Unfortunately the optional extras are expensive and it remains to be seen whether this kind of functionality is really in demand. Even setting that aside this is an awesomely powerful phone. You've got a dual core 1 GHz Tegra 2 processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 4 inch touch screen display with a resolution of 950 x 540 pixels and a 5 MP camera with 720p video capture. There is 16 GB of internal memory and you can add another 32 GB with a microSD card. It runs on Android 2.2 with the MotoBLUR overlay.
3. HTC Thunderbolt
The HTC Thunderbolt was the first big release from HTC on Verizon's 4G LTE network. Launched after a massive advertising campaign the Thunderbolt is a formidable smartphone. It features a second generation 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 768 MB of RAM, a 4.3 inch capactive touch screen display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and an 8 MP camera capable of 720p video recording. It has 8 GB internal memory, expandable to 32 GB with a microSD card and it runs on Android 2.2 with the Sense UI overlay. It is fast, attractive and powerful.
4. LG Optimus 3D
Here is another entry trying to innovate in the smartphone market and the unique selling point here is the ability to display and record 3D footage. It works without special glasses but the 3D effect is mild and requires you to view the display head on. It has a dual core 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, a 4.3 inch touch screen display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and a 5 MP camera which can record 1080p footage and 3D. It has 8 GB of internal memory which is expandable to 32 GB with a microSD card and it runs on Android 2.2 with LG's 3D UI.
5. Google Nexus S
The follow up to the Nexus One, the Nexus S was developed by Samsung. In terms of hardware it can't compete with the other entries on this list but because it features the vanilla Android OS it will receive upgrades to the platform before other phones. Currently it runs on Android 2.3. It has a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor with 512 MB of RAM. Internal storage is 16 GB but you can't expand that. The display is a 4 inch Super AMOLED touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. It has a 5 MP camera but it lacks support for HD video recording. It is a great Android smartphone but other releases are quickly surpassing it and the vanilla Android OS is the only real attraction.
6. Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
The specs of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play are not going to blow you away but this is the long awaited PlayStation phone and so for gamers it is a great choice. The phone slides open to reveal a proper PlayStation gamepad. It sports a 1 GHz processor with 512 MB of RAM. The display is a 4 inch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. The internal memory is just 400 MB but it ships with an 8 GB microSD card and you could switch that for a 32 GB card. It also had a 5 MP camera but with no HD recording. On the plus side it runs Android 2.3.
7. Kyocera Echo
Here's another unusual entry on the list with a unique selling point. The Kyocera Echo is a dual screen Android smartphone. The specs are unimpressive with a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 512 MB of RAM and 1 GB of internal memory (expandable to 32 GB via a microSD card). It also has a 5 MP camera with 720p video recording capability. The real attraction here, though, is obviously the dual screens. Both are 3.5 inch capacitive touch screens with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. With the screens combined you're looking at a 4.7 inch display which is a definite draw.
8. Samsung Epic 4G
It can't match the awesome Galaxy S II but what might attract you to the Samsung Epic 4G is the presence of a slide out QWERTY keyboard. It has a 1 GHz processor with 512 MB RAM. Internal memory is just 512 MB, but it is expandable to 32 GB with a microSD card. There's a 5 MP camera and it does support 720p video recording. It also sports a stunning 4 inch Super AMOLED touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. The keyboard is solidly built and comfortable to use, but inevitably it adds bulk to the phone.
9. HTC Inspire 4G
This is another solid release from HTC. The Inspire 4G is packing a 1 GHz processor backed by 768 MB of RAM. It has a 4.3 inch S-LCD touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. Internal memory is 4 GB and you have the usual expansion option up to 32 GB with a microSD card (it ships with an 8 GB card). It has an 8 MP camera and can record 720p video. It runs on Android 2.2. Probably the main attraction of the Inspire is the fact it is available for a fair bit less than most of the other Android smartphones on this list.
10. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc
This slim and stylish entry from Sony Ericsson is one of the most attractive Android smartphones out there. It has a 1 GHz processor with 512 MB RAM. It only has 320 MB of internal storage but it ships with an 8 GB microSD card and you could switch that for a 32 GB version if you need more. It has a really nice 8 MP camera and can record 720p video footage. The 4.2 inch touch screen has a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc is slimmer than the iPhone 4 and if looks are a key factor for you then you might consider it.
- HTC, https://www.htc.com
- Samsung, https://www.samsung.com
- Motorola, https://www.motorola.com
- LG, https://www.lg.com
- Google, https://www.google.com/phone/detail/nexus-s
- Sony Ericsson, https://www.sonyericsson.com
- Kyocera, https://www.kyocera-wireless.com
- All images remain the copyright of the respective manufacturers.