14 Androids Outmuscling Apple's iPhone

Android outmuscling Apple's iPhone story updated with two new phones

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Without a new Apple ( AAPL) iPhone yet this year, Google ( GOOG) has enjoyed a strong run with its Android phones.

Not only is the new iPhone late, it will arrive this fall (presumably), a little light under the hood compared to some of the growing list of beefy dual-core, LTE 4G Androids out already or soon to arrive.

In fact, by the time the new iPhones make it to market, there will be at least 14 Android muscle phones available at Verizon ( VZ), AT&T ( T), Deutsche Telekom's ( DT) T-Mobile and Sprint ( S).

However, the weakling status of the iPhone has not hurt its popularity nor has it been a drag on the stock, which hit a new all-time high of $413.23 on Monday.

The new iPhone 5 is expected to be slightly redesigned with a dual-core processor and a better camera. There is also the possibility that Apple will introduce a more stripped down version of the iPhone 4 that it can sell cheaply as either a free phone or an export to growth markets like China.

One feature the new iPhone won't have is the 4G LTE technology. That upgrade, as first reported here, won't come until next year, when Apple delivers a souped-up 4G LTE iPhone.

Meanwhile, rivals like Motorola ( MMI), Samsung and HTC are turning out super-charged, ultrathin Androids with bigger, more vivid screens, better cameras, fast dual-core processors and super speedy 4G LTE connections.

The technical advances of Android phones aren't exactly making Apple look cool this summer.

"The processor and display quality improvement in the Android camp is proceeding at such a clip that Apple will be under a lot of pressure to deliver a substantial jump in iPhone specs next autumn," said independent analyst Tero Kuittinen. "It's not clear how Apple can battle the rapid Android evolution unless it picks up the pace of its iPhone launches."

Here's the daunting list of Android phones that are dwarfing the iPhone.

Motorola Bionic (Verizon)

The Bionic launched earlier this month at Verizon for $299 plus a two-year contract. Our review found the Bionic to be more of a Droid X upgrade than a smashing new model to carry Motorola to greatness.

That said, the dual-core processor combined with Verizon's 4G LTE network made for the fastest phone we've ever tested.

The Bionic is not the same phone introduced in Las Vegas in January. That model was more like the AT&T Atrix and powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 processor. Somewhere along the way Motorola killed the original and went with a more Droid X type design.

And while 4G LTE phones have been big electricity hogs as with the HTC Thunderbolt, Motorola made this less of an issue by putting a much bigger battery in the Bionic.

The Bionic might not be the phone Motorola originally had in mind, but it is one of the Android elite available now.

HTC Vigor (Verizon)

HTC Vigor is a follow up to the Thunderbolt and the Incredible line at Verizon. The Vigor, which will probably be renamed by the time it is launched, has some powerful features.

The Vigor is expected to have a 4.3-inch screen, a quick 1.5-gigahertz dual-core processor and work with Verizon's 4G LTE network. Sounds like it uses a lot of juice, so hopefully HTC has boosted the battery size for the Vigor.

The previous HTC was the Thunderbolt, a breakthrough phone, one of the first to use Verizon's speedy 4G LTE network. But the ridiculously short battery life made it more like a corded phone since it spent so much time on the charger.

The Vigor is expected to arrive at Verizon next month.

Samsung Galaxy S 2 (AT&T)

Samsung unveiled its second generation of Galaxy phones last month and one of the premier models was the not-so-inventively named Galaxy S 2 for AT&T.

Apple detests this phone so much it filed a complaint and a request for an injunction against Samsung for blatant imitation of its own thin, rectangular design and touchscreen technology. Samsung has countered with its own lawsuit against Apple.

The newest Galaxy phone has a dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch screen, an 8-megapixel camera and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video calls. And at 8.5 millimeters thick, it is the thinnest smartphone ever.

AT&T is expected to launch sales of the Galaxy S 2 in the coming weeks.

Motorola Photon (Sprint)

Moving outside of its Droid franchise at Verizon, Motorola unveiled the Photon, its latest Android superphone, for Sprint last month. The Photon has a 4.3-inch screen, an 8-megapixel camera and it is powered by Nvidia's ( NVDA) dual-core Tegra 2 processor.

The Photon runs on the Gingerbread version of Android and uses Sprint's 4G WiMax flavor of fast wireless. The Photon is similar to the Motorola Atrix at AT&T, and like the Atrix, it can be docked to a PC for larger-screen computing.

The Photon is expected to launch this month at Sprint, but no price has been announced.

Samsung Nexus Prime

Google will launch a new flagship phone sometime this year. In keeping with its Nexus tradition, this phone is called Nexus Prime, made by Samsung and powered by the newest version of Android -- 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, according to blog BGR.

The Nexus Prime has some impressive features, if reports are correct. The phone's dual-core processors will each run at speeds of at least 1.2-gigahertz. The front of the phone is all screen, with no physical buttons. And though the camera is only 5-megapixel, it is expected to have better resolution and low-light capabilities. The Nexus Prime is also expected to be 4G LTE-compatible.

Google continues the Nexus push as a way of offering a pure Android standard bearer for the industry. Though it has softened on its attempt to bypass the carriers that insist on limiting features or loading the phones with their own programs, Google will no doubt add technology like near-field communication to expand its mobile payment front and other location-based services.

LG Optimus (AT&T)

The LG Optimus is one of the sleeker members of the new Android class. Even though it has a 4-inch screen, the phone is nearly a third of an inch thick, and at 3.8 ounces, it is a full ounce lighter than the iPhone.

The LG Optimus runs on Android 2.2 or Froyo and is powered by a 1-gigahertz OMAP processor from Texas Instruments ( TXN), one of the key wins for TI in the most recent round of Androids.

The LG Optimus is expected to debut in Europe this month and arrive in the U.S. later this year. AT&T and possibly T-Mobile will likely get the phone since it is configured for the HSDPA network.

Samsung Droid Charge, (Verizon)

After a little delay, No. 2 phone maker Samsung finally gets into Verizon's Droid franchise and continues the robotic theme for another year.

The Droid Charge runs on Android 2.2, or Froyo, has a 4.3-inch LED screen and is powered by a 1-gigahertz Samsung Cortex A8 processor. According to analysts, Samsung has built the phone to consume about half as much battery power than its 4G LTE predecessor, the HTC Thunderbolt.

Another area where it exceeds the Thunderbolt is on price. Verizon has a $300 price tag on the Charge, with a two-year contract compared to the $250 price for the Thunderbolt.

Samsung Function, (Verizon)

Samsung is pushing hard to get on the 4G LTE bandwagon where Verizon has a speedy lead over the rest of the telco field. The Function is a member of the Samsung Galaxy family and a follow up to the 3G Fascinate, which debuted last year at Verizon.

The Function is a truly muscular phone. It runs on Android Gingerbread, it is powered by a dual-core 1.2-gigahertz processor, with 1-gigabyte of memory and another 32-gigabytes of built-in storage. And the 8-megapixel camera shoots 1080p HD video

The Function is due later this year, and depending on the timing, may be one of the more formidable opponents to the iPhone.

Samsung Nexus S (Sprint)

This is Google's second run at making a phone to its specifications, only this time, Samsung is doing the manufacturing and Sprint ( S) is selling it. Two years ago, HTC made the Nexus One and Google sold it online. But the retailing experiment failed, or at least was far less revolutionary than Google hoped.

The Nexus S runs on Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and works on Sprint's WiMax 4G service. The Nexus S includes some of Google's favorite projects, including NFC, which may one day allow phones to make purchases with a swipe at a sales counter.

The Nexus phones are big among Android fans who see them as more purely Android than other versions in the market. The Nexus S runs on Gingerbread, and this is an advantage now, but it will soon be eclipsed by Android 3.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich (see above).

HTC Sensation (T-Mobile)

T-Mobile's HTC Sensation is a big step up from the HTC Thunderbolt. And that's no small feat. The Sensation has one of the first dual-core 1.2-gigahertz Qualcomm ( QCOM) Snapdragon processors, which holds big promise for Qualcomm.

The Sensation has a 4.3-inch display, a 8-megapixel camera and it runs on Android's Gingerbread operating system. The phone has an aluminum unibody structure, a trend Apple started with its laptops.

The Sensation runs on the HSDPA network that AT&T and T-Mobile call 4G. The phone went on sale last month at T-Mobile for $200 with a two-year contract.

LG Revolution, (Verizon)

LG's focus on feature phones made it a weak player in the smartphone game, but the Korean electronics giant now wants to make up for lost ground in the super-phone category.

The LG Revolution is the heaviest of the Androids, weighing 6 ounces. But it carries the weight well in a sleek half-inch-thick form with a large 4.3-inch display screen.

The phone runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 1-gigahertz processor and has a whopping 16 gigabytes of storage. It has two cameras, one front-facing for video chats and the rear a less-than-robust 5-megapixel shooter.

The Revolution is a 4G LTE phone that Verizon started selling last month.

Samsung Infuse, (AT&T)

Samsung seems to be trying extra hard to be the iPhone replacement for AT&T ( T). By appearances, the Samsung Infuse looks very much like a large version of the iPhone 4, at least from the front.

Samsung had reasonable success with Android phones in its Galaxy series; with the Infuse, it hopes to take that one more step higher. The phone has a massive 4.5-inch super-AMOLED-plus screen that is designed to provide better resolution and easier daylight viewing.

The Infuse runs on a speedy 1.2-gigahertz Hummingbird single-core processor. Its front-facing camera is a mere 1.3-megapixels, but the rear camera captures 8-megapixels. The Infuse runs on the HSDPA-Plus wireless technology, which AT&T started calling 4G.

The Infuse, sort of like the 5-inch Dell ( DELL) Streak, attempts to push the limits of super-phone sizes in an effort to skirt the fringes of the larger tablet market.

AT&T started selling the Infuse this spring.

HTC Thunderbolt, (Verizon)

We got our hands on the HTC Thunderbolt when it arrived in March. Its speed is astonishing, but its battery life is terrible.

The Thunderbolt has the best name of the new crop of 4G devices that Verizon has introduced so far. The Thunderbolt looks very much like HTC's popular EVO at Sprint, with the same convex back and kickstand.

The Thunderbolt runs on Qualcomm's 1-gigahertz Snapdragon processor, has a 4.3-inch screen and a front-facing camera as well as an 8-megapixel rear camera. All those specs, by the way, are identical to its 4G WiMax brother, the EVO at Sprint.

The difference with the Thunderbolt is that it runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network. The Thunderbolt arrived in March quarter and was hailed as the first Verizon 4G LTE phone.

Motorola Atrix, (AT&T)

If there was one phone that caught the most attention at CES in January, it was the Motorola Atrix for AT&T.

The Atrix uses a dual-core Nvidia processor and features 1-gigabyte of RAM, about the memory you'd find in netbooks and small laptops. And curiously, that's how Motorola is pitching this device -- as a pocket computer.

During the Motorola demonstration, the Atrix was docked in an empty laptop shell, which, powered by a keyboard and big screen, made the Atrix the core of a notebook computer. The Atrix is designed to serve as both your super-phone and your PC, using a docking system,.

With processing power and desktop conversion kit, the Atrix may help push Motorola devices further into the workplace, bumping up against Research In Motion ( RIMM) and Hewlett-Packard's ( HPQ) Palm business.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

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