While there is little doubt that Apple’s Sept. 12 press conference will host the long-awaited unveiling of the iPhone 5 (just look at the invitation), rumors of the iPad mini are still swirling around the industry. In the meantime, several other big mobile players announced products over the last couple of weeks. From controversy, and faked features, to hardly noticed and on "fire," there’s a review of what’s already out there before the onslaught of the “i” discussion overshadows them.
One of Apple’s top rivals, Samsung, was first up on Wednesday, Aug. 29 with the premiere of several new products - notably, the GALAXY Note II smartphone. This announcement came in the midst of an unfavorable patent ruling against the company. The new device has features that make it an attractive BYOD candidate, including a relatively large HD display (5.5 inches), 4G LTE capabilities and the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. With storage options ranging from 16 to 64 GB on the device and an expandable micro SD memory slot, enterprise users also have plenty of room to store their documents.
Samsung also introduced several PC offerings, including the Series 7 and Series 5 All-in-One (AIO) and Slate PC lines. Main features of the AIO PCs are the 10-point multi-touch display which allows for easy navigation, and a hand gesture recognition feature that can be used for presentations by enabling users to navigate from up to three feet away. Meanwhile, the Slate PCs weigh under two pounds, letting enterprise users carry them wherever they go, integrate with Samsung’s S Pen for handwriting to text conversion, and have an attachable keyboard dock with a mechanical hinge to fit with the display as one device.
Nokia entered the game a week after Samsung with their Windows 8 Lumia 820 and 920 smartphones. The main enterprise application of these devices is Microsoft Office Mobile. Users will have the suite of Microsoft Office programs on the devices and can sync their email, calendars and contacts backed by Microsoft security. For storage, users have access to 7 GB of free storage with the SkyDrive cloud that works with all Office Mobile applications.
A knock on Nokia, however, is the perception that the company is still behind its contemporaries in the smartphone race following the release. Investors were underwhelmed, which resulted in the company’s shares dropping considerably by the end of the release day. Soon after, Nokia was discovered to have faked the video capabilities of the Lumia 920.
Motorola added to the array of new devices on Sept. 5 by releasing three new products in its RAZR line: the RAZR M, the RAZR HD and the Droid RAZR HD Maxx.
Although the RAZR brand isn’t typically mentioned alongside high-profile enterprise devices, the new phones have some features that could stack up. These include access to Verizon’s 4G LTE network and up to 32 hours of battery life, depending on the device. In addition, all of the new devices are upgradable to the Jelly Bean OS. With these features, some employees may be inclined to use one of Motorola’s devices for work if their companies have BYOD policies.
A day after Motorola, Amazon got in on the action with three new releases. Most notable among them was the Kindle Fire HD. With affordable pricing - the most expensive version of the Kindle Fire HD, an 8.9 inch 4G model, costs $299 - the device gives tablet users something to think about when making their next purchase.
Other features like Skype capabilities, storage options and continued support of Microsoft Exchange may offer competition to the iPad in the enterprise.