Sure, you want a new phone right now, but carriers and manufacturers have promised some truly spectacular, knock-your-socks-off phones coming to U.S. shelves between now and June. With 4G right around the corner and mobile hardware and software getting better and better, you should take a look at what’s coming down the pike in the next couple of months before you buy.
The first three weeks of the year have seen more than a dozen announcements from top U.S. carriers, and we’re sure to see more at the Mobile World Congress trade show in mid-February. Whether you’re with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless, there’s something exciting on the horizon.
It wasn’t easy keeping it to just 10, but we’ve come up with this list of the most exciting phones that you’ll be able to buy in the coming months. To check out pictures of these handsets,
10. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc (AT&T?)
Sony Ericsson’s big comeback could come from this Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" phone with a razor-sharp screen, spectacular camera, and the ability to be manipulated by your TV’s remote control. While the company told us it wants to sell this phone here in the U.S, we’ve put it in last place on this list because Sony Ericsson has a lousy track record of getting its phones picked up by U.S. carriers. If it does appear, the Xperia Arc will most likely show up on AT&T.
Also notable: Sony Ericsson is expected to debut a "PlayStation phone" next month, though we don’t know whether that’s ever coming to the U.S. We should know more when MWC commences on Feb. 13.
9. HTC 7 Pro (Sprint)
Windows Phone 7 will debut on Sprint very, very soon with this big, sliding-QWERTY-keyboard model. Like many other Windows Phone 7 devices, the 7 Pro has a 1GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera. The form factor is the selling point here, with a tilting screen that makes it look like a little laptop.
8. LG Revolution (Verizon Wireless)
Verizon debuted four new LTE, Android-based phones at CES this year. The LG Revolution’s key features include 1080p HD video capture and the ability to organize your Android apps into folders, preventing your app tray from getting much too long.
7. Samsung Galaxy S 4G (T-Mobile)
T-Mobile’s Editors’ Choice-winning Samsung Vibrant is getting a faster cousin on February 13 with the introduction of the Galaxy S 4G, which T-Mobile pre-announced on January 20. We don’t know much about the new generation Galaxy S, although we’re hoping T-Mobile’s phone is the same as the dual-core Galaxy S lineup that Samsung is promising.
6. Samsung Infuse 4G (AT&T)
Super-thin, with a super-huge, Super AMOLED Plus screen, the Samsung Infuse will give you a truly cinematic Android experience. The 4.5-inch display carries the same 800-by-480 resolution as most other smart phones, but Samsung says Super AMOLED Plus will improve its colors. The Infuse will be one of the first phones to run on AT&T’s fast HSPA+ network.
5. HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon Wireless)
HTC is beloved for giving a bit more style and finish to its Android phones than some other manufacturers, and the 4G HTC Thunderbolt comes with the company’s award-winning Sense UI overlay. It also has an 8-megapixel camera and an HD video recorder, which may make this an excellent 4G phone for YouTube devotees.
4. T-Mobile Sidekick 4G
The T-Mobile Sidekick is a cult device with an intensely faithful following. After Sidekick-maker Danger was bought by Microsoft, fans thought they’d never see a new model. T-Mobile recently said the Sidekick is coming back as a 4G HSPA+ Android phone, but didn’t give many details. This image seems to hint that it will eschew a swiveling screen for a slider design.
3. Motorola Droid Bionic (Verizon Wireless)
The dual-core, NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor in the Motorola Droid Bionic means this 4G LTE phone will be up to twice as fast as other top smartphones. I’ve seen the Tegra difference when playing games, and it means sharper backgrounds, better shadows, and more enemies to fight. The Droid Bionic may very well be Verizon’s power leader when it launches.
2. Motorola Atrix (AT&T)
The most interesting phone I saw at CES and the one I’m personally waiting most anxiously for, the Motorola Atrix is an Android phone that turns into a Linux-powered, desktop or laptop PC when it’s popped into the appropriate dock. Could this replace a tablet, a netbook, or a home media center? I really want to find out.
1. Apple iPhone 5
Sorry folks, we couldn’t ignore the next-gen Jesus phone. Nobody knows anything reliable about the upcoming iPhone, although noisy blog speculation is already in full force. We don’t know if it will be called iPhone 5, iPhone 4G, or something else. But we’re pretty sure it’s coming in June or July—iPhones always do. Surely Apple will have plenty of surprises for us, and it’s likely that a new iPhone will come with industry-leading features. The real question is, with a Verizon iPhone 4 coming in early February—can you wait that long?