‘Tis the season for cookies, pretty lights, and an onslaught of new Android devices in all shapes and sizes. I hope you saved up your upgrades, because the number of new devices being released this season (especially on Verizon) is quite staggering. There are several flagship phones and tablets coming out in the near future, and the decision of which one to get for yourself or put under the tree for a loved one might be harder than ever. Whether you want the latest and greatest (and most expensive) device, or you would like to keep it simpler and cheaper, there’s something out there for everyone this December.
The following guide will mostly be focusing on Verizon devices, as the company seems to have the exclusive on the newest Android devices for now. We’re going to take a look at devices that are recently released or are coming out before the end of the holiday season, and go over pros, cons, and for who would most benefit from such a gift. So if you’re looking to surprise someone with some awesome technology under the tree, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s start.
For the cutting-edge gadget geek: Samsung Galaxy Nexus
After rampant speculation for months, Verizon has finally come out with an official release date for this device: December 9th. This Friday is the day you will finally be able to get your hands on the latest and supposedly greatest Android device around. The reviews are in, and this is the device lots of Android fans have been waiting for. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is a major step forward for the Android platform, and the hardware on the Galaxy Nexus is sleek and the 4G speeds are blazing — the battery life is also much better than comparable 4G Android phones. Combine that with the largest screen so far on an Android phone — 4.7 inches — and you pretty much can’t do any better than the Galaxy Nexus right now.
If you’re looking for a gift for a fan of the Android platform or to buy someone their first smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus is a great (albeit, expensive) bet. The price clocks in at a stiff $300 on-contract, but that’s the price you have to pay for cutting-edge technology. I can assure you that the Galaxy Nexus is going to be worth the money.
For the always-emailing professional: Motorola Droid 4
Some people use their phones to write so many emails that the on-screen keyboard on a traditional smartphone just isn’t going to cut it. Luckily, Motorola has the Droid line of phones, which have slide-out keyboards to make typing a little bit easier. The Motorola Droid 4 is no different, packing an even bigger, better keyboard than previous iterations while also throwing in a larger (4″) qHD screen and a 4G LTE radio.
The Droid 4 is out on December 9th on Verizon as well, and should prove a worthy follow-up to the best selling Droid 1, 2, and 3 that came before. The Droid 4 looks to take some design cues from the Droid RAZR, sporting some sharp lines and a kevlar back. If you are always typing or buying a gift for someone else who is a mobile typeaholic, the Droid 4 would be a great choice. The Droid 4 will be available on December 9th for $299 on-contract.
For the anti-Apple tablet fan: Droid XYBOARD
There’s no doubt in my mind that the iPad 2 is the best tablet available today. There’s just no matching the iPad’s effortless user interface and huge app selection. However, some people just don’t like Apple, don’t agree with its business practices, or find iOS too limiting. If you’re one of those people, or you’re buying a gift for one, the Droid XYBOARD is Verizon’s newest Android tablet.
Running Android 3.2 Honeycomb at launch with an upgrade to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich planned for the near future, the XYBOARD is the current top-of-the-line Android tablet. These tablets run on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, have 1.2 GHz dual-core processors, 1 GB of RAM, 5 MP rear cameras, and 1.3 MP front cameras.
The Android tablet app selection isn’t totally flushed out at this point, but it will only get better over time. If you’re buying a tablet for an Android fan and want the newest and best, take a look at the XYBOARD. It will be out later this month (no specific date has been announced at this point), and starts at $429 for the 8.2″ version and $529 for the 10″ version.
For the budget-minded: Samsung Illusion
Not everyone has $299 to plunk down on a top-of-the-line Android device. Luckily, Verizon still has you covered if you’re looking for a capable device that’s a little easier on the wallet. The Samsung Illusion has decent specs (Android 2.3, 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, and a 3 MP camera), is a nice looking device made by Samsung, a reputable company, but the price is much less than everything else on this list: only $79 with a two-year contract.
If you are thinking about your first smartphone but don’t want to spend a ton of money, the Illusion will be a more than capable device for you. The screen might not be as big as the others and the processor might be a little bit slower, but you’ll hardly notice most of this in day-to-day use. If you don’t need to brag about your phone, the Illusion is a great choice.
Over all, there are a ton of great devices coming out or that have just been released on Verizon this month, and anyone shopping for a new phone for themselves or someone else will surely find something that fits their needs. Whether you want the latest and greatest or just a capable, everyday smartphone, Android’s flexibility ensures that there will definitely be something for you.