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The current crop of iPhone killers failed to kill the Apple iPhone.
Many of the iPhone’s competitors are really great phones with incredible screens, amazing cameras, powerful processors and advanced user interfaces. On most specs, the iPhone has been bested by several competitors. But still the iPhone reigns supreme in the market.
Apple made more money on iPhones alone in Q4 than Microsoft did on every product it sells.
What will it take to stop the mighty iPhone?
Don’t look now, but the competition is getting ready to hit Apple’s super-villain iPhone with something akin to the X Men or the Avengers -- a group of mutant super-phones with unprecedented powers and capabilities that vastly exceed anything that has ever been put into any phone ever.
Here is the breathtakingly new crop of extreme super-phones designed to blow the iPhone away:
Phone: Nokia 808 PureView
Extreme feature: 41-megapixel camera!
Wait, a 41-megapixel camera phone? Come on! That’s almost twice as many megapixels as the highly coveted (and uber expensive) Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera used by professional photographers and even blockbuster Hollywood movie makers.
The Symbian-based Nokia 808 PureView is a super phone with a camera in a league of its own. But it’s not what you think.
In normal mode, all those megapixels aren’t used as they would be with a normal camera. Instead, Nokia uses them for an oversampling technology they called PureView. Combined with the built-in f2.4 Carl Zeiss lens, the PureView takes amazing pictures.
PureView works by combing light from seven pixels into one pixel on the image, for a nearly “noiseless” image of breathtaking quality.
Or, you can turn off oversampling and just take gigantic pictures -- or instead of using a camera with a large zoom lens, you can just zoom in on the pixels. It also takes 1080p video, which is pretty crazy for a phone.
For people who like to take great pictures -- and who doesn’t? -- the Nokia 808 PureView blows away the iPhone with five times the pixels and some really advanced optics and technology. Expect to pay about $600 for the phone unlocked when it ships in May.
Nokia 808 Pureview
Phone: Samsung Galaxy Beam
Extreme feature: built-in projector!
The Samsung Galaxy Beam represents the Holy Grail mobile device for mobile professionals who present.
The Galaxy Beam functions as a full-featured Android camera phone. But when you need to make your pitch, just pull out the phone and cast your PowerPoint on any nearby surface. The phone will project a reasonably bright 50-inch wide screen with 15 lumens of output.
And it’s not just for business. The phone could double as a big-screen TV for starving students, or any number of uses whenever groups want to view pictures, video, TV or movies.
And for people who present, the Samsung Galaxy Beam is way better than an iPhone.
The Galaxy Beam will be the first ever mainstream projector phone available in the United States. Expect it to ship this summer.
Samsung Galaxy Beam
Phone: ASUS Padfone
Extreme feature: It’s a phone, tablet and laptop in one!
Smartphone electronics are more powerful than even tablets or laptops were just a few years ago.
The ASUS Padfone is an Android smart phone that plugs into a tablet with a screen the same size as an iPad (10.1 inches). When you do so, the phone now becomes the engine for the multi-touch tablet.
The Padfone takes advantage of the brand new Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, which can re-size itself on the fly. You can also use an optional stylus, aping the functionality of very expensive Windows Tablet PCs.
If that’s not crazy enough, the tablet clips onto a full-size keyboard doc, resulting in what looks like a full featured laptop. Again, it’s all powered by the phone.
Many gadget-happy mobile users have a phone, a tablet and a laptop. Although no pricing has been announced, the ASUS Padfone with all the trimmings will certainly be way, way cheaper than buying an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.
The Padfone should be available by summer.
Phone: Lumigon T2
Extreme feature: Functions as a universal remote with in-air gestures
The Danish company Lumigon plans to ship an Android phone called the T2. In addition to looking like a sleek Euro-designed piece of stainless-steel eye candy, the T2 doubles as a universal remote control.
You program it by pointing it at each existing remote control, pressing a button on the remote, then telling the phone which button you pressed. Once programmed, your phone controls your TV and other remotely controllable home appliances just like their dedicated remotes did.
The phone also uses in-the-air gestures like a Wii remote. For example, you can turn the volume up by raising the phone, or go to the next track on an album by moving the phone to the right.
The T2 will ship later this year in Nordic countries, then spread outward from there, arriving in the United States at some unknown date in the future.
These three extreme super-phones are not just a little better. They’re WAY ahead of the iPhone in specific applications that really matter to people. And they’re just part of the overwhelming assault the iPhone is facing this year from powerful competition.
For example, LG is preparing to ship a no-glasses 3D smart phone called the LG Optimus 3D Max.
LG also announced what it claims is the fastest smartphone in history: The LG Optimus 4X HD. The quad-core phone is as powerful as a PC, according to the company.
If you like the idea of a smartphone PC, you’ll love the upcoming Ubuntu for Android. The software will turn Android phones into a dual-boot phone and PC.
The way it works is that the installation puts Ubuntu Linux and Android side-by-side on the phone. The phone continues to function normally. But when you plug it into a PC monitor, keyboard and mouse -- or a TV -- Linux and Android both run off the same kernel, and the phone becomes a PC.
Your apps, files and content all function on the big screen, and with keyboard and mouse, but in a Linux environment rather than Android.
The smartphone space is about to launch into crazy new territory with these extreme super-phones.
The iPhone is a mainstream, mass-market phone. And the extreme super-phones are niche products for people with specific needs or obsessions. But together, the new generation of extreme super-phones will be very hard for the iPhone to compete with all by itself.
And whether the iPhone wins or loses, it’s clear that users are the big winners -- especially power-hungry users who want unprecedented capabilities in the pocket device they carry everywhere.