Quad-core Androids Coming February: HTC Edge, Samsung Galaxy S III

Are quad-core Androids such as the HTC Edge and Samsung Galaxy S III worth waiting for? Or is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus still the smartphone of choice?

Good news for those looking to upgrade your phone: Here come the quad-core Android superphones! A no show at CES (though the beefier chips did appear in several tablets), expect them to make a splash in February. Mobile World Conference in Barcelona is the most likely launch target.

What to expect?

HTC has long been rumored to be readying the Edge, which could be the first Android quad-core to make it to the US market. Leaks have indicated these specs:  1.5 GHz quad-core MSM 8906 processor, Tegra 3, 4.7-inch screen with 720p resolution, 8MP camera with LED flash and 2 MP on front, Beats Audio, and NFC. If this information is accurate is anybody’s guess, but the specs aren’t unreasonable in the slightest. I’d be quite surprised if the Edge does not ship with Ice Cream Sandwich. So far the only phone to do so is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus which started shipping late last year, after what amounted to one of the most confounding Android launches ever.

Also dont miss: Clint’s take on the Android fragmentation issue

Other candidates include the Samsung Galaxy S III (or is that S3?).  The S2 is now considered an Android classic. It’s large bright screen, spirited performance (some say it out-performs even the Nexus), and robust build quality have made it a favorite, even some eleven months after its initial launch. Since the S2 was announced last year at MWC it would make perfect sense for Samsung to use the event to introduce its highly anticipated successor. “Wait until they get a load of me!” If the S III ships with ICS, watch out; the Galaxy Nexus could quickly become old news, indeed.

Upgrade decisions.

Like some kind of giddy Price is Right contestant I passed on the showcase that was the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Oh, it was tantalizing alright. Nexus! Flagship! ICS! (Mr.) Roboto font! Speed!

But, you know what? After the honeymoon phase wore off, it turned out the package was overblown, with at least one serious flaw. Battery life is atrocious.

In my testing for Stark Insider (“a refined, but not perfect Android”) I found it quite depressing. How on earth can anyone make it through a day on this thing with a single charge? So I ruled it out as a possible upgrade for my trusty OG Droid. Others claim to go days on a single charge; and in the process, questioned my results, and defended their Nexus with the lust of an eight-year-old clutching a SpongeBob SquarePants doll. Who am I to say? It’s a great phone. But now that the new Motorola RAZR Maxx is almost here, I question if it’s the best. Sure, yes, I know: Nexus has ICS. But I steadfastly deny it’s a game changer. It’s much improved. I love the notification system. I love the organization of the menus, and the improved shortcuts. But, once the sheen wears off, it’s ultimately an evolved version of Android.

Then I thought the right thing to do would be to wait for CES. There, the thinking went, we’d see all sorts of lustworthy ICS handsets.

Uh, no.

Not to be.

By my count, there were NO exciting Androids launched. Yes, it’s good to see Sony come on board. But their handsets were nothing spectacular, though I do like the design aesthetics.

So I’m still stuck with my OG Moto Droid. And, amazingly, it still is pretty decent. It’s slow alright, and there are times I feel like chucking it across the Whole Foods parking lot, but approaching 26 months in age it’s a testament to the robustness of the Android platform. I routinely use Google Nav, while streaming Google Music, and checking email – and it blasted well works brilliantly!

Moto RAZR Maxx or HTC Edge or Samsung Galaxy S III?

I’m tempted by RAZR Maxx. Soon enough Motorola will zap it with ICS OTA. And then we can have our cake and eat it too: long battery life, latest Android OS, and best-in-class thin design.

Part of me, though, says wait for quad-core. After all, I’m going to need to live with this next Android for another 24 months. In which case the HTC Edge or Samsung Galaxy S III could be the perfect candidates.

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  • Bewara2009

    Any word on what carrier will the HTC Edge come to? 

  • LeFleur

    I agree with you completely. I thought the Nexus Galaxy was sooooooooooo awesome until I realized it was ICS I was in love with and not the phone with its ugly hardware specs. I really want to upgrade my old HTC Incredible (5/2010-current) which rarely leaves my hand but the current products out aren’t fabulously better. Yes, faster and higher megapixels but I’d rather keep looking around the corner for the next big thing. Fingers crossed for the Edge or Ville debut at MWC. Great article!

    • Joe Gramc

      Same boat, I’ve rooted my Incredible with Cyanogen 7 and have been dying for ICS. Not at all pleased that the hardware manufacturers are slow putting handsets with it out there.

  • Anonymous

    Quad-core at 1.5ghz?!?! that’s crazyyyyy!!

  • Anonymous

    Current using a SGSII and it’s awesome. Also just bought the Galaxy Nexus and though it’s also awesome, I find that all the specs of my TMOBILE SGSII besides the screen are superior to the Galaxy Nexus, so I’m returning the Galaxy Nexus and waiting for the SGSIII.
    I just really hope Samsung includes a much more powerful battery and that it’s a quadcore and lastly that it works flawlessly like the SGSII.

  • Daran1

    A 26 month old smartphone is way too old, especially for a tech writer.
    Give it to a family member that needs an upgrade and buy something, anything new.

  • Anonymous

    The smasung galaxy nexus isnt so great because of ICS its great because it is vanilla android, a developer phone. Thats why i bought the OG droid and thats why I bought the galaxy nexus. Skins blow and vanilla android, not ICS is what makes the nexus great.

  • office supplies

    It’s taking a really long time to come out with ice cream sandwich phones.

  • Fitz

    Bought the Galaxy Nexus and am absolutely loving it.  Upgraded from the OG Droid.  Battery life was not fantastic until I rooted and installed a custom ROM  (Revolution HD).  The ROM is all stock except for much more efficient.  Drastically improved battery life and I never have to worry about making it through a day of fairly heavy use (4G browsing, music streaming, gaming, calls, etc.)

  • Trob6969

    After i bought the og moto droid i decided to keep it until a phone came out with a 720p hd display, 1gb of ram, an sd slot and removable batt. It was hard to resist lowering my standards over the past few years to buy one of the more advanced phones that came out but i held out for what i really wanted. So i was excited to read about htc releasing the rezound, and bought it. Im VERY pleased with my purchase so now i have a new set of specs that my next phone must have before i upgrade again: 1080p display, quad-core (at least), 2gb ram, sd slot, and removable batt. I figure in 2 more years when it’s time to renew my contract, that phone should be on its way if not already out. To me it makes no sense to upgrade to another phone that’s only slightly better.

  • While I would certainly consider the Edge, the Zeta has me drooling, not because of the 2.5 GHz quad-core, but because the physical dimensions are nearly IDENTICAL to the cult favorite: The HTC Desire.