There are only a few things people want from a smartphone--one of those things is that it bares absolutely no resemblance to a brick-sized cellphone of the 1980s. For Google Android users, finding an ultra-thin smartphone is no longer a problem, but rather, finding the best option among several ultra-thin smartphones is the challenge.
Android customers are having difficulty sizing up the latest round of smartphones because there's recently been a series of super-thin smartphones announcements, and all of the phones that have been announced will be released within months of each other. For any long-term Android customer (anyone that signs a two-year contract), the process of buying a phone has become extremely difficult.
We've gathered the three top contenders in the thinnest 4G-capable Android phones to make this process a little easier for anyone that's interested in making a long-term investment in their phone. Of all the phones available, the Motorola Droid Razr, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Huwawei P1S are considered to be the thinnest phones available to Android users.
The Motorola Droid Razr is currently the thinnest Android 4G smartphone on the market. The Droid Razr is .28 inches thick, and Motorola has been sure to use that toward marketing leverage ever since the phone hit shelves in November 2011.
The Droid Razr is currently being shipped with Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread), though Motorola has promised to start shipping the phone with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) sometime this year. Snapshots from the blog Droid Life have revealed photos of Ice Cream Sandwich running on the GSM Droid Razr, but official release dates have not been specified.
The Droid Razr has been lauded for the hardware crammed into its tiny frame: The phone has 16 gigabytes of internal memory, supports up to 32 gigabytes of removable MicroSD memory, has a dual core 1.2GHz processor and supports full 1080p video.
In comparison to other Android phones on the market, the Droid Razr is in an entirely different stratosphere because of its size and power. But, Samsung, one of Motorola's top competitors, is said to be gearing up for the release of a phone that will directly compete with the Motorola Droid Razr.
The Samsung Galaxy S3, the name presumed for the follow-up to the Samsung Galaxy S2, is reportedly .27-inches thick, which is considerably smaller than its predecessor. By comparison, the Galaxy S2 was .33-inches thick. The Galaxy product line from Samsung has been a favorite among Android users, and many suspect that the next generation will once again have a dramatic impact on the smartphone and tablet markets.
The Galaxy S3 is rumored to have a new quad-core processor, two gigabytes of RAM, AMOLED Plus HD display, 4G LTE connectivity and will ship will a slightly modified version of Google's Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
Samsung has not confirmed that the name Galaxy S3 will be the name used. They have also not specified the official announcement of the phone, though many suspect that it will occur at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain (Feb. 27-March 1) or at an independent press event.
Although very few details have surfaced about the next generation of Samsung smartphones, many presume that they'll be among favorites of smartphone users. For some perspective on the market, Samsung sold 36 million smartphone units in the fourth quarter of 2011. It is the largest year-over-year increase among top vendors according to market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC). IDC largely attributes Samsung's success to high-end Galaxy smartphones.
The final competitor in the race to build the thinnest phone on the market is Huawei, a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications brand that most American phone customers aren't familiar with.
Huwaei reportedly post first-half revenue growth of 11% year-to-year from 2010-2011. The Wall Street Journal says, Huawei has become a top global provider of telecom equipment largely because of low prices, and the quality and technology of its products also have increasingly approached the levels of its Western rivals' offerings. This assessment appears to hold true in the smartphone department.
Huwawei has apparently edged the Motorola Droid Razr in thinness by building a device called the Ascend P1S. The phone is rumored to be .263-inches thick, which is .17-inches less than the Droid Razr.
The Ascend P1S has a dual-core processor (clocked at 1.5 GHz) and SGX 540 graphics processing unit, which should be handle 1080p easily. The phone is expected to hit the U.S. sometime in the second quarter of this year.
Ultimately, the choice of an ultra-slim 4G Android smartphone is up to the user. While each person may enjoy specific aspects about certain phones, a few truths are well-established. Although we may not be able to direct you to the perfect phone, we can say what we do know about these ultra-thin smartphone competitors.
First, if you know a 4G-capable Android smartphone as soon as possible, you can't go wrong choosing the Motorola Droid Razr. The phone is ultra-fast, will eventually support the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwhich) and has set the benchmark of greatness for all other ultra-thin phones. The phone is fast, light and constructed of resilient material (Kevlar and Gorilla Glass), which make it hard to pass up on.
That said, if you're able to wait, watch for the Samsung Galaxy S3. The South Korean-based consumer electronics manufacturer earned praise the hard way--by consistently releasing innovative products that consumers enjoy.
Considering the company's ability to compete with Apple Inc. quarter after quarter, it's fair to suspect that the next generation of Galaxy products will be exceptional. The main problem: It's unclear whether any of the rumors about the phone are true at this point. If the phone is only marginally smaller and marginally more powerful, is it really worth the wait?
That brings us to Huawei.
The Huawei Ascend P1S appears to have hit all the right marks. It packs excellent hardware into a tiny frame, and judging by Huawei's long-term corporate strategy, it's fair to assume that the product will be affordable. But therein lies the problem: Huawei smartphones haven't hit U.S. shores at this point, meaning that many of the expectations are simply presumptions made based on the rapid growth of the company. If you're able to wait, looking into a Huawei product would be a good idea. Just don't hold your breath.