Mobile devices

2013: The Year of The Smartphone

LTE-phoneSamsung and Apple stand toe to toe in a fight to dominate the mobile market. Apple revolutionized the cell phone industry when it released iPhone, a “smartphone” capable of far more than phone calls and text messages. Samsung has adopted some of Apple’s innovations and added a few of their own. Last year, Samsung surpassed Apple to become the leading smartphone provider in the U.S., according to Much of that success is due to Samsung’s Galaxy line, which just received its newest upgrade, the Galaxy S4.

While Samsung is riding a wave of momentum, Apple, Google and other innovative mobile players have big things in store for 2013. From durable hardware to integrated social media software, your smartphone choice is about to get tougher.

Big Screen, Eye Tracking Highlight Galaxy S4

The Galaxy S4 comes just ten months after Samsung introduced the SIII, so consumers would understand if the Korean manufacturer introduced only subtle changes. Instead of simply putting a new coat of paint on the new Galaxy, Samsung added size, power and a dazzling new feature. First, it’s bigger. A five-inch, 1080p screen connects users to the device. Under the hood, the S4 features a 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The hottest feature may be Samsung’s eye-tracking technology, which pauses videos automatically when users look away and resumes them when they look back. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available on 7 U.S. providers, according to — Verizon, At&t and T-Mobile cell phones just got a new flagship device.

samsung galaxy s3

The Facebook Phone

Since apps became a central part of smartphone technology, Facebook has had a significant place in the mobile market. Zuckerberg and company made its next step down the mobile path with Facebook Home, an integrated Facebook experience for Android devices. Facebook Home keeps messages, news updates and pictures available in any application. Users can respond to a message while they check their email, for example. While Facebook didn’t introduce its own phone, as some experts predicted, it did partner with HTC to create a Facebook Home-optimized device, the HTC First. Social media enthusiasts will appreciate the integration.

Google’s Next Play

Android and Nexus developers Google already has a significant stake in the mobile industry, but the search titan made its mobile intentions clear when it purchased Motorola in 2012. Google wants in on the slugfest between Samsung and Apple, and it could make its next move in less than a month, when the Google I/O conference invades San Francisco. Co-founder Larry Page described his ideal device as one with much longer battery life and much better durability, according to Google represents a significant threat to Samsung and Apple if it releases a high-end smartphone.

Apple Stays Patient

As competitors scramble to release and market cutting-edge smartphones, Apple appears content to follow its usual cycle. Expect an iPhone 5 upgrade (5S?) sometimes this summer. It probably won’t feature a new hardware design, but don’t expect the Cupertino-based company to struggle. reports that Apple plans to release a less-expensive iPhone this fall. If so, Apple would extend its reach even further to lower-income consumers.

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