After weeks and weeks of waiting, consumers were finally treated to the releases of the two biggest smartphone launches of the year in the form of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Even though they are now on shelves, available to buy, their stories have not ended. Indeed, the match up between the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 will wage on far into 2013 and beyond.
While 2013 will likely be chock full of smartphone releases, we’ve already seen two of this year’s powerhouses arrive. In April, after a bit of a delay, HTC finally released the HTC One onto AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in the United States and to carriers around the world. The device takes over for the HTC One X and the HTC One X+ and does so with confidence.
The device sports a fantastic, full-metal design that rivals that of the iPhone 5 in terms of quality and also features some high powered specs, chief among them a 4.7-inch full HD display, quad-core processor, Ultrapixel camera, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the new Sense 5. It’s a package that should be enticing to consumers. Of course, it’s not the only option available.
Around the same time, Samsung released its Samsung Galaxy S4 which has replaced the popular Samsung Galaxy S3 as the company’s flagship smartphone model. Like the HTC One, it also has a bunch to offer consumers.
Features include a 5-inch 1080p display, quad-core processor, 13MP camera, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and a host of smart features from Samsung including one that allows owners to manipulate content on the display without physically touching the display.
Needless to say, these are two devices worthy of attention from consumers and they are two devices that are on a competitive collision course for the months to come. Many consumers are likely weighing the two, soaking in all of the information. And while much of that information arrived with the devices themselves, we’re now also learning a great deal more about these two flagships and their battle for Android smartphone supremacy in the United States.
Here now, we take a look at what we believe are the five most important new things to know about the match up between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and its rival, the HTC One.
Verizon Galaxy S4, HTC One Remain Unreleased
Despite being the nation’s largest 4G LTE provider and one of the most popular destinations for consumers, Verizon has yet to release either the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One. And while the tale of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is clear cut, the saga of the Verizon HTC One is as confusing as it ever has been.
In March, Verizon confirmed the Samsung Galaxy S4 for arrival. And while its competitors starting lobbing release date information several weeks later, Big Red remained mum, even with rumors pointing to a May 30th release.
Sadly, that date turned out to be the real deal as Verizon confirmed it as the Galaxy S4’s in-store and likely online release date. That date means that Verizon will get the device just about a month after the other four big carriers in the United States. Currently, the device is up for pre-order through Verizon, Best Buy, RadioShack and premium retailers. Staples will also have the device on hand when it arrives.
As for the HTC One, well, the situation isn’t clear at all. There have been rumors swirling around since before the HTC One launch about a possible HTC One release on Verizon. As the weeks have gone on, the situation has unfortunately unraveled into something extremely confusing.
Neither HTC nor Verizon is saying much but rumors suggest that Verizon will carry some type of HTC One device in the future. It’s unclear whether it will be the same exact device as the other carriers, only several months later, or whether Verizon will opt for something else to replace the Droid DNA, perhaps, a supercharged HTC One.
At any rate, the most recent rumors suggest a release date that’s several weeks away at best so consumers should know that they could be waiting awhile for answers to these mysteries.
16GB is the New 8GB, 32GB the New 25GB
As we have pointed out several times, both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One have come under fire for their storage space issues. While it’s nothing new, Galaxy S4 and HTC One owners are a bit peeved by the fact that their devices don’t come with the amount of advertised storage space. Manufacturers and carriers warn consumers about storage being taken up in the fine print but with the limitations that both of these devices have, along with the increasing size of files, the problem has never been more in focus.
The problem with the HTC One is that on some carriers, Sprint and T-Mobile, it’s only available in 32GB form. And with about 7GB of that storage space eaten up before it’s even powered up, and with the lack of a microSD card slot, users are only limited to about 25GB of storage space to go with the cloud. For people shooting photos and video and those that can’t shift to AT&T’s 64GB HTC One, that’s an issue.
It’s even a bigger problem with the Samsung Galaxy S4 as the device only comes in 16GB at most carriers, AT&T being the only carrier that’s offering a 32GB model, at least for now. The device comes with about 45% of that storage space eaten up at the start which means it’s essentially an 8GB device. Fortunately, the device has a microSD card slot. But as we’ve learned the microSD card for the Galaxy S4 is worthless as much of the data that consumers would want to move to the microSD card can’t be moved at all.
This won’t be a deal breaker for some people but for others, it’s something that could potentially drive them to other phones that don’t have these limitations.
Prices Have Already Dropped
One fantastic thing that prospective HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 buyers should know is that prices for both devices have already dropped, just a few days after their release on their respective carriers.
Retailers like Amazon, Sam’s Club and Walmart are currently offering discounts on select models of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One which means that those not looking to pay the $199.99 and above price tags on these device’s have alternatives.
We fully expect the prices to drop even further as the months go on, particularly around the time that Apple announces a brand new iPhone 5S, and we also believe the Verizon Galaxy S4 will be discounted almost immediately after it arrives.
Galaxy S4 Mini & HTC One Mini & More Are On the Way
Those who aren’t interested in the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, whether it’s due to needs, price or something else entirely, have some alternatives on the way.
Both HTC and Samsung are thought to be coming out with smaller versions of their flagship smartphones. In the case of the Galaxy S4, it’s the Galaxy S4 Mini that is rumored for arrival in July with a 4.3-inch display, speedy processor, 8MP camera and a design that looks like the Galaxy S4’s. Samsung is also thought to be debuting a device called the Samsung Galaxy S4 Activ which will serve as a rugged version of the device.
The Galaxy S4 Activ is thought to be resistant to dust and water, just like the design of the Galaxy S4 competitor, the Sony Xperia Z. It’s also thought to be coming in July.
As for the HTC One, HTC is rumored to be coming out with a device called the HTC M4 or HTC One Mini that will take the HTC One’s full metal design and shrink it in size.
Rumored specs include a 4.3-inch 720p display, dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, 1700 mAh battery and the same Ultrapixel camera found on the HTC One. A release date is unknown but HTC is thought to be trying to get it out this summer.
Android 4.3/Android 4.2 on the Horizon
As for current owners of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, there are good things on the horizon in terms of software updates. For the HTC One, it’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean which has been pegged for release sometime in the weeks ahead. We imagine that HTC is hard at work trying to get the software out and we’ve heard that it was planning to get it out one to two months after its release.
HTC still hasn’t confirmed anything but we fully expect the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update to arrive in the relative near future, at least for the unbranded version of the phone.
Samsung Galaxy S4 owners already have Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board though they may be staring in the face of another Jelly Bean update as well.
Rumors suggest that Google may be introducing Android 4.3 Jelly Bean at Google I/O and not Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. The software has shown up in server logs already so it’s possible that it will be the next update for Galaxy S4 owners.
Google in the past has released the software shortly after its announcement and Samsung has worked quickly to get its devices up to speed. So if all goes well, Galaxy S4 owners could be looking at a new major version of Android in just a couple of months time.