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Five Ways to Choose a Solid Android Smartphone

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OPINION-EDITORIAL

By Corey Washington –

With the ever-expanding sea of Android handsets manufacturers are pumping into the smartphone market, there still remains some confusion on what Android is, how these smartphones are different and most importantly, which one is right for you.

Based on Linux, the Android platform is an internet and multimedia powerhouse with Google applications tightly integrated into its operating system. While the Android operating system is the OS more than two dozen smartphones currently share in common, its user interface varies from phone to phone, and is a major deciding factor among smartphone buyers. From HTC’s Sense UI found on the HTC EVO to Samsung’s TouchWiz on the Samsung Galaxy S II to Motorola’s Motoblur on the Motorola Atrix 4G, there are several UI options that can shape our Android experience. (Reports surfaced last week that Motorola will drop the Motoblur brand name.)

Now at Android 2.3, also known by the moniker Gingerbread, Android is currently on it’s sixth iteration of its popular OS. There’s no doubt Google has come a long way since it’s introduction of Android with the iconic G1 made by HTC and running Android 1.0.

Android has garnered its share of love from the developer community for its open source platform. But because many smartphone consumers will never think, or care, to root their Android smartphone or tweak an app, here are some basic points that may help speed along your decision on which type of Android phone is right for you. Here are five things to take into consideration when choosing your Android phone today.

Processor: Welcome to the 1GHz and dual core processor age, bringing lightening-fast performance to many new Android smartphones. While 1GHz phones began to hit the market more than a year ago, manufacturers are still cranking out 1GHz phones like the HTC Thunderbolt. Dual core smartphones are increasing, but a lot of smartphone buyers may find adequate power by sticking with 1GHz.

3G or 4G: 4G is here, and it’s real -- and in some cases, real fast! There are 4G capable phones that download and upload faster than what you may experience on a desktop. The downside is 4G can hamper battery life and may carry an additional charge. Evaluate if 4G is right for you or if 3G is still suitable.

Data storage: Many Android handsets can go up to 32GB of external memory with a Micro SD card. But internal memory is still important. A phone with at least 1GB storage and 512MB of RAM should help those who want to run a lot of apps or multi-task at a high rate.

Battery life: There are some top-tier Android handsets loaded with power, but fall short on battery life. No one wants to have their phone die every 3 hours or live with their phone tied to a charger. Look for phones that have a healthy amount of battery life and stand up well in comparison tests.

Screen Size: Android handsets have grown to massive smartphone proportions, with phones such as the Samsung Infuse 4G rocking a 4.5 inch screen. Several new phones are sporting 4.3 inch screens. Thinking that’s too big for your hand? Some consumers might let up on the overall size of the phone because the screen size enhances the multimedia experience, making videos more enjoyable to watch and touch screen buttons easier to press with accuracy.

Choosing a great Android smartphone doesn’t end there. Depending on your preferences, criteria such as camera quality, screen resolution and HDMI output could make or break your final choice, but you have to start somewhere. With Android now commanding the lead market share of any mobile OS with 35%, according to Canalys, Android phones are aplenty and the time for you to decide which Android phone is right for you may come sooner rather than later.

Corey Washington is a contributing writer covering technology for Black Voice News. He can be reached at corey@blackvoicenews.com.

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+4 # Guest 2011-06-15 10:34
Good basic round up here. People forget the ui changes Android. Not all UIs are for everyone so don't let a bad ui give you a bad impression of Android.
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+4 # Guest 2011-06-15 10:21
I recently put a lot of work into finding out what I should aim for when I get a android phone, as the market is so fragmented, with some phones selling with older OS's than 2.2 which is the absolute minimum OS I would use, but 2.3 should be the aim, and I agree minimum 512 Ram and 1 to 2 Gig ROM . You provide a good summery for anyone wanting to make an informed decision
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