Apple’s next flagship phone, the iPhone 5, is rumored to arrive in September -- and the Galaxy S2 for Samsung, Droid Bionic for Motorola and Sensation 4G for HTC are also expected to play major roles as the smartphone wars heat up this fall. That competition will serve to benefit the consumer, however, as smartphones are now getting increasingly better specifications.

The latest entry is Sony Ercisson’s first dual core smartphone, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Duo. It's the company’s flagship device for the remainder of this year.

Sony Ericcson recently posted a second-quarter loss in July as the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan weighed more on its earnings. The company had already warned that disruptions to its supply chain forced it to delay the broader launch of its Xperia Neo phone until early in the third quarter.

With that loss weighing heavily on Sony Ericsson, the Xperia Duo's release becomes more critical. It runs on Google’s Android operating system. "Our shift to Android-based smartphones continues, with smartphone sales accounting for more than 70% of our total sales during the quarter," Sony Ericsson Chief Executive Bert Nordberg told shareholders.

Not many Sony Ericsson handsets are currently available among major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. However, that will soon change, as a few of its smartphones are heading their way to AT&T and Verizon stores. These offerings include the Xperia Play, Xperia Arc, Xperia X10, Vivaz and Xperia neo. But none of them are embedded with dual core processors.

The largest of them all is Xperia Arc, which features a 4.2-inch display, 512 MB RAM, 8-megapixel camera, 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and Li-Po 1500 mAh battery. But the beefy specifications of Xperia Duo make the smartphone one of the more powerful handsets the company is planning to offer.

Two Android phones announced by Sony Ericcson at the end of the first quarter include the Xperia Play, with gaming functions from Sony's PlayStation console; the very thin Xperia Arc high-end phone; and the Xperia Neo, which is a smaller mid-range phone reminiscent of the Arc.

Here's a comparison between Samsung Galaxy S2, Motorola Droid Bionic and most speculated features of iPhone 5, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Duo.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Duo has a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 pixels (qHD) LED-backlit LCD capacitive touchscreen compared to Samsung Galaxy S2’s 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen. Motorola Droid Bionic will come with 4.3-inch or 4.5-inch 540 x 960 pixels (qHD) TFT capacitive touchscreen display. In case of iPhone 5, most of the rumor points toward 3.5-inch or 3.7-inch 960x640 at 312 ppi display screen. In fact, according to analyst 4-inch display is considered to be the best.

Input features:
Sony Ericsson Xperia Duo is expected to come with scratch-resistant surface, accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate, multi-touch input method, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine proximity sensor for auto turn-off and Timescape UI.

Common features found in Galaxy S2 and Droid Bionic includes multi-touch input method, accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate, touch-sensitive controls, and proximity sensor for auto turn-off. Samsung Galaxy S2 also has Gorilla Glass display support, TouchWiz UI v4.0 and Gyroscope sensor. The features like biometric fingerprint reader, MOTOBLUR UI with Live Widgets and Gorilla Glass display similar to Motorola Atrix cannot be ruled out in Motorola Droid Bionic.

With iPhone 5 expected to closely resemble iPhone 4 expect scratch-resistant oleophobic surface, multi-touch input method, accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate, three-axis gyro sensor proximity sensor for auto turn-off

Sony Ericsson Xperia Duo is expected to come with 1.5 GB RAM making it the largest capacity RAM found in a smartphone making it a feature phone for great multi-tasking experience. The Samsung smartphone has 1 GB RAM while Droid Bionic is expected to come with 1 GB RAM while iPhone 5 RAM will be revealed only after a tear down but most probably it will not exceed any of the above mentioned phones.

The smartphone from Sony yet again comes with another surprise as it is expected to come with 12-megapixel 4000x3000 pixels camera compared to 8-megapixel 3264x2448 pixels camera found in Samsung Galaxy S2, Droid Bionic and iPhone 5.

And the features include are autofocus, LED flash, touch focus, image stabilization, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, however Galaxy S2 and iPhone 5 will have dual-LED flash support.

With installation of the APK posted by Android fans and developers in forums like XDA, Samsung Galaxy S2 will be able to support Skype video chat app.

Operating system:
Samsung, Motorola and Sony smartphones has Android OS v2.3 (Gingerbread) support while iPhone 5 is expected to come with Apple’s latest iOS 5 operating system.

Another surprise include the 1.4 GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8260 processor going to be featured in Sony’s smartphone. Samsung Galaxy S2 has dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Mali-400MP GPU Exynos chipset processor. Motorola Droid Bionic will have a dual-core 1GHz processor but it may feature Tegra 2 or TI OMAP4 processor. The iPhone 5 is expected to come with iPad 2's processor.

When it comes to battery Sony Ericsson Xperia Duo comes with a whooping Li-Po 2500 mAh dwarfing Galaxy S2’s Li-Ion 1650 mAh and Motorola Droid Bionic’s Li-Po 1930 mAh battery. The iPhone 5 may feature battery capacity more than that of iPhone 4.

Other features:
The other features of Sony Ericsson Xperia Duo include SMS threaded view, MMS, Email, Push email, IM, HTML browser, stereo FM radio with RDS, digital compass, HDMI port, active noise cancellation with dedicated mic, MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player, MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV player, TrackID music recognition, NeoReader barcode scanner, Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Facebook and Twitter integration, document viewer, Adobe Flash 10.2, voice memo-dial-commands and predictive text input.

Sony’s dual core smartphone is expected to make its first appearance in September, the month when iPhone 5 is expected to make its appearance as well.

Meanwhile, the latest news on Samsung Galaxy S2 points that Sprint Wireless could become the first carrier to launch its version, according to the latest FCC document posted on the Internet. Sprint’s Galaxy S2 will be a WiMax-based phone, while Droid-life Verizon Wireless has confirmed (and retracted afterward) via Twitter that the carrier’s upcoming phone will include 4G/LTE.

The latest news on Motorola Droid Bionic suggests that the smartphone, according to a report from Droid-life, can be expected in early September, as opposed to earlier rumors of an August launch. Other sources have mentioned that the phone will feature the same 4.3-inch screen, as opposed to the rumored 4.5-inch screen.

Finally, the latest Apple iPhone 5 rumblings show that a schematic for designing cases for the next iPhone has leaked similar to what happened before the iPad 2 arrived, giving consumers an idea of its shape and profile. The case leak points towards a thinner iPhone with curved edges and larger display screen stretched right to the edge of the device.

Reports also suggest that the Home button will go larger and may support gesture-based controls. Early this year, a Chinese publication had reported that the iPhone 5 will sport an improved antenna, 4-inch screen and NFC e-wallet support.

And the release date of the iPhone 5, according to Apple Insider, is expected to be between Sept. 6 to 15 with an initial shipment of 4 million units. With iPhone sales staff being hired between Aug. 16 and Oct. 29, it requires at least a month or more in training about the product.