Google’s Android operating system has grown rapidly in popularity. Although its app store still lacks the sheer volume of apps that you’ll find available on iOS, there is still a wide variety available. Improvements to the user interface have made Android more popular with users, as well.
But the hardware may well be Android’s biggest advantage. If you want iOS, you have to buy an iPhone. Android, on the other hand, offers a wide variety of different devices. Let’s take a look at the best Android phones currently on the market.
Motorola Atrix 4G
You may have noticed commercials for this phone recently not because of the phone’s name, but rather because of one particular thing the phone can do – dock with a laptop stand to essentially become a small Android computer.
The laptop dock is pricy, however, and the Atrix 4G as a phone. Fortunately, the Atrix 4G has plenty of features to offer on its own. It is one of the first phones to hit the market with an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, so performance is spectacular. It has HDMI-out, as well, so you can potentially stream content from the phone to an HDTV or computer monitor.
The Atrix 4G is only available from AT&T and currently runs $199.99 with contract.
HTC Thunderbolt 4G
It’s been a while (as in, a few months) since HTC released a new flagship phone, but the HTC Thunderbolt 4G certainly fits that description. Hot off the line (it launched March 17th) the Thunderbolt is loaded with features. It offers a 4.3’ touch-screen display, a 8 megapixel rear camera, and a 1 GHz processor.
Verizon is playing up this phone’s wireless speed and is claiming download speeds of between 5 and 12 Mbps. If history is an indication, reality won’t quite live up to those claims, but the Thunderbolt should prove to be the quickest Android phone currently offered by the carrier.
The HTC Thunderbolt 4G is only available from Verzion and currently runs $249.99 with contract.
HTC Evo Shift 4G
Sprint’s flagship phone, the HTC Evo Shift 4G is just a few months old. It offers a fairly standard array of hardware that includes a 1 GHz processor, a 5 megapixel rear camera and 3.6′ touchscreen. The Evo Shift is one of only three smartphones on the Sprint network to offer 4G. If you want the latest Android phone, and you’re on Sprint, this is your best choice by far.
The Evo Shift 4G is also one of the few touchscreen smartphones to offer a nice physical keyboard, which some users prefer. If you’re fine using a touchscreen you might prefer the standard Evo Shift 4G. It’s similar, but trades in the physical keyboard for a larger 4.3 inch display and a 1 GHz processor. If you’re comfortable with touch keyboards, the larger Evo 4G would be the better pick.
The Evo Shift 4G runs $149.99 with a contract from Sprint; the Evo Shift 4G is $199.99 with contract.
HTC Desire HD
Although an older phone by the fast-moving standards of the smartphone world, the HTC Desire HD is still a solid piece of Android hardware. Like most modern cellphones it offers a 1GHz processor along with a 5 megapixel rear camera.
Perhaps the Desire’s best feature, however, is the price. You can find it for about $70. If you’re not a smartphone geek you may want to consider saving some money and going with the HTC Desire HD rather than a slightly new and substantially more expensive phone.
The HTC Desire HD is available from U.S. Cellular for $69.99.
Samsung Galaxy S 4G
The Galaxy S 4G is Samsung’s current flagship phone. Most of the hardware is identical to the phones we’ve already covered (1 GHz processor, 5MP camera, etc) but the Galaxy S 4G does have one big selling point – the display.
The Galaxy S 4G features a 4-inch AMOLED touchscreen that is absolutely gorgeous. Although the resolution of 800×480 is the same as most phones, the AMOLED technology is easier to use in direct sunlight and can render dark images more accurately than a normal LED-backlit display.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is available on T-Mobile for $149.99 with contract.
Unreleased Android Phones To Watch
Motorola Droid Bionic
This 4G phone will be powered by a Tegra 2 processor. The 4.3′ display will offer a higher-than average display resolution of 540×960. Given the quality of Motorola’s previous Droid phones this could be an amazing piece of hardware. Expect it to be released this summer.
Samsung Galaxy S2
An update to the Galaxy S, this phone will retain the amazing AMOLED display but also pack a dual-core Tegra 2 processor. The release date is still a mystery, but those impressed by the Galaxy S may want to hold off for a few months.
The smartphone market moves quick, and it isn’t going to slow down any time soon. This can make it hard to jump in. Obviously, you don’t want to buy something that’s going to be outdated tomorrow.
My advice is to simply buy whatever Android phone above is available on your carrier and try not to worry about future proofing. There is always going to be something new around the corner. These are the best Android phones available today, but I guarantee you that if you wait to buy a Droid Bionic or Galaxy S2, there will be rumors of even better and quicker phones on the horizon by then.