01 May The New Phones On The Block Challenging Samsung, Apple and HTC
The Smartphone market has always been dominated by a few select players; Apple, Samsung, Sony, HTC. But in recent months, there are some new contenders emerging into the tech-landscape with devices that have these premium phones in their sights.
The OnePlus One, OPPO N1 and Amazon Phone are devices that you probably haven’t heard too much about just yet. However, their emergence has caused a wave through the tech-world. These devices all sport the same specs as the big guns like the iPhone 5s, Galaxy 5S, the Xperia Z2 and the HTC One M8 but without the exorbitant price tag.
While a lower cost isn’t enough to separate most users from their beloved iPhones and Galaxies, some of the new features are impressive enough to tempt even the most loyal fans.
The One is the debut phone from the four month old company, OnePlus. Despite the apparent youth of the start-up and the speed at which it’s developed and released its flagship phone, many authorities in the tech world (The International Business Times and TechRadar to name a couple) are praising the device.
The One boasts a set of impressive specs with a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, Adreno 330 GPU and a 5.5 inch display. It runs a heavily modified version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat called CyanogenMod 11S. These specs easily put the OnePlus One in the same league as the Galaxy S5 and the Xperia Z2 and above the likes of the HTC One M8 which only boasts 2GB of RAM and a 2.3GHz 801 Chip.
But the OnePlus One really shines when it comes to its cameras. The rear camera is 13 megapixels with six physical lenses for ultimate precision and clarity. The front facing camera is 5 megapixels, which might not sound that impressive but it is when compared with the 1.2 megapixels of the iPhone 5s and the 2 megapixels of the Galaxy 5S front facing cameras. The other significant feature of the front facing camera is the extra-wide 80 degree viewing angle – this will allow you to fit morein your photos without needing to stretch your arm out as far as possible.
But the selling point you can’t really go past is the price- it’s really hard to beat. The 16GB model is around $300 USD and the next one up, the 64GB, is just $50 USD more expensive. This is a pretty good deal when you consider there is more than $200 USD between an iPhone 16GB and iPhone of 64GB.
OPPO is a Chinese electronics manufacturer. Although they’ve been around since 2004, their first admirable attempt at creating a phone came only last year when they released the Find 5. The brand new N1 is their second attempt and it has been exceptionally well received thus far.
Surprisingly, it was actually OPPO that produced the first 13 megapixel smartphone camera and not Samsung with the S4. Samsung has since released the Galaxy 5S which sports a 16 megapixel rear camera – overtaking OPPO in the megapixel race. However, OPPO have included a number of new innovations on the N1 that rival anything on the new Galaxy.
The N1 phone has a physically rotating camera. Instead of sporting two cameras (a front and rear as seems to be the smartphone standard) the N1 has one 13 megapixel camera that rotates 206 degrees so it can transform into either a front or rear camera.This rotating camera will securely lock at any position on the axis so you can take great photos from any angle. Like the OnePlus, the N1 camera also uses six lenses for optimal clarity with minimal distortion. It also has a dual flash, a standard flash for rear shots and a softer version for front facing shots which are normally taken within a closer range.
Another exciting innovation included in the N1 is the O-Touch panel. This phone comes equipped with a 12 square centimetre rear touch panel that lets you use your phone with only one hand. The O-Touch panel allows you to scroll and tap on buttons and icons from the back of your phone- your fingers need never to block the display again.
In terms of the specifications, the N1 isn’t quite in the same class as the OnePlus One, the Galaxy S5 or the Xperia Z2. It has a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of internal memory – while these aren’t super impressive it does boast a 5.9 inch display in full HD. The Oppo N1 runs the 4.2 Jelly Bean version of Google’s Android operating system.
The N1 is currently retailing for around $600 USD
This phone isn’t available for purchase yet, in fact we don’t even know what it’s going to be calledbut we do know Amazon will be launching their own smartphone at the end of 2014.
Unfortunately, concrete information about this device is minimal at present. But there are a couple of things that we do know and they are very exciting.
Along with its front facing camera and 13 megapixel rear camera, the Amazon phone has an extra four cameras in each of the four corners of the display. According to sources, these extra cameras will facilitate a glasses free 3D user experience. Each of the front cameras, along with sensors, will track the movement of a user’s face so that the imagery on the screen can move respectively and create a three dimensional interface. This means that on the Amazon phone you can expect to see 3D lock screens, wallpapers, app icons and 3D compatibility with several apps – particularly shopping apps which could allow you to view 3D product images.
In terms of the specs, the Amazon phone won’t quite make it to the standard of the Sony Z2 or the Samsung Galaxy 5S. According to various sources, the display will measure at 4.7 inches will a 720p resolution that doesn’t quite qualify as full High Definition. It will also reportedly have a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor of unspecified power, 2 GB of RAM and will run a heavily modified version of the Android operating system.
Although we have no price points for this device as of yet, there are rumours suggesting that this phone will be at the lower end of the price range.
With the introduction of these new devices to the market, comes a number of exciting innovations to smartphone technology. These lower priced, high spec phones could see new comers such as Amazon, OnePlus and OPPO challenge the concept of what makes a premium device. This means, that sometime soon we can have all of the fancy features of an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy without the expensive price tag.