4G Smartphone Spec Smackdown: How Do the Next-Gen Smartphones Compare?

If there was any doubt that 2011 would be the year of 4G smartphones, this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) trashed that doubt with demos of some very hot 4G devices.

Topping the list of those phones were such products as the HTC Thunderbolt, the LG Revolution, the Motorola Atrix 4G, and the Samsung Vibrant.

What those devices have in common are: an Android OS, meaning that more than 200,000 apps are available through Android Market, the app store run by Google; Bluetooth - at least v 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n); USB 2.0; storage of 32 GB; a 3.6-inch touchscreen with 480 X 800 pixels, or better; and a camera with a minimum resolution of 5 megapixels. With the exception of the EVO Shift -- which costs $199 with a two-year contract -- no prices have been set yet for this crop of 4G Android handsets.

If the essence of some recent reports are true, Android is a very popular platform for mobile developers and users. Some reports indicate that sales of Android-powered smartphones are going through the roof. Taking the findings of the reports as a whole, it's hard not to believe that Android might have the technical and marketing goods to dominate the mobile space.

One report, Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond, from VisionMobile states that "Android stands out as the top platform according to developer experience, with close to 60 percent of developers having recently developed on Android."

VisionMobile's research was based on a set of benchmarks and a survey of more than 400 developers globally, segmented into the eight major mobile platforms: iOS (iPhone), Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Windows Phone, Flash Lite, and mobile web.

A few weeks ago, researcher Canalys predicted that Android will continue to grow at more than twice the rate of its major smartphone competitors in 2011, despite market concerns over platform fragmentation and the arrival of the iPhone 4 on Verizon in the US.

According to Canalys' Q3 2010 estimates, the Google-backed platform claims a 25 percent share of the worldwide smartphone market, with more than 20 million shipments of Android-based units worldwide.

Phone Market Status OS Carrier Connectivity Storage Screen  Camera
HTC Inspire 4G Expected release date: Q1 2011 Android 2.2 AT&T Bluetooth v 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n); USB 2.0
Maximum card: 32 GB 4.3-inch touchscreen; 480 X 800 pixels 8 megapixels resolution
HTC EVO Shift 4G Available now Android 2.2 Sprint Bluetooth v 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n); USB 2.0
Maximum card: 32 GB 3.6-inch touchscreen; 480 X 800 pixels 5 megapixels resolution
HTC Thunderbolt Expected release date: Q1 2011 Android 2.2 Verizon Bluetooth v 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n); USB 2.0
Maximum card: 32 GB 4.3-inch touchscreen; 480 X 800 pixels 8 megapixels resolution
LG Revolution Expected release date: Q1 2011 Android 2.2 Verizon Bluetooth v 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n); USB 2.0
Maximum card: 32 GB 4.3-inch touchscreen; 480 X 800 pixels 8 megapixels resolution
Motorola Atrix 4G Expected release date: Q1 2011 Android 2.2 AT&T Bluetooth v 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n); USB 2.0
Maximum card: 32 GB 4.0-inch touchscreen; 540 X 960 pixels 5 megapixels resolution
Motorola Droid Bionic Expected release date: Q2 2011 Android 2.2 Verizon Bluetooth v 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n); USB 2.0
Maximum card: 32 GB 4.3-inch touchscreen; 540 X 960 pixels 8 megapixels resolution
Samsung Vibrant 4G Plus Expected release date: Q1 2011 Android 2.2 T-Mobile Bluetooth v 3.0; Wi-Fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n); USB 2.0
Maximum card: 32 GB 4.0-inch touchscreen; 480 x 800 pixels 5 megapixels resolution

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