What’s going on in the Mobile World in September 2013

Right now, students are going back to school, summer is winding up and people need new devices. Many people want to start the new season with a slick new phone or tablet, but the fact of the matter is that few of these are worth your money. Right now, the only device out there I can unequivocally sponsor is the new Nexus 7, all of Apple’s offerings are close to a year old, HTC and Samsung’s top devices are four months old, and Sony, Motorola and LG all have new devices out there, but they are not for everyone.

The new Motorola Moto X is certainly a very interesting phone. The Verizon only DROID MAXX is quite a nice device, but their insistence on selling it for $299 (on contract) gives me pause. Sony is releasing a new Xperia Z1, and LG is releasing their G2 (the original G was the basis for the Nexus 4). However, we have rumors of the Nexus 5 (or possibly multiple Nexus devices) coming out shortly (possibly by the end of October). A new Galaxy Note III will be out shortly as well, for the giant-handed among us. This logjam makes it impossible to feel comfortable suggesting any device purchases, maybe except the 16 GB Nexus 4 (now on sale for $250 without contract).

The Apple world is even worse right now. Apple’s next big event is coming up next Tuesday (September 10th) and will most likely showcase their iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C. We have yet to hear details on new iPads (either Mini or Full sized) and thus, I would stay away from these devices. The new iPhone 5S sounds like it will be mostly iterative. The processor won’t be the leaps forward Apple has released in the past, but it will be more than enough to handle the load (Apple is most likely increasing the RAM in the new iPhone, which is a great way to increase capability). There is some talk about a fingerprint scanner in the home button, which could add a great deal of security and capability for users. The iPhone 5C is going to be a budget iPhone. This is a smart move by Apple, because it will allow them to compete in the US with all the Android manufacturers. As well, it will provide an incentive to bargain shoppers to move to Apple’s lightning cables, and allow them to sell more accessories. Obviously, purchasing any iDevice before this event would be unwise, as a short wait will far better inform your decision making (as well as may drive prices down in the meantime).

When it comes to “other devices,” there is not much to be said. Microsoft has just bought out Nokia, which just released their Lumia 1020. This phone is overpriced at $299 on a contract, and while crippled by the Windows OS, only really has a 42MP camera to offer users. This camera does some cool tricks to ensure you get a good picture, but is it worth the terrible ecosystem and lack of major developer support (hint: no). If you are committed to the Windows Mobile experience, wait a few months and see what comes out of the recent merger (it might be worth it to you). The Firefox OS has been hinted at for a while, but the only site I’ve found that offers the device has pushed back shipping until at least October. BlackBerry has yet to release their new devices, so if you’re thinking BlackBerry, you had better wait.

Now, more than ever, the mobile world is in a state of flux. We are awaiting next gen devices in all of the Apple verticals, and new Nexus devices in smartphone and 10″ tablets. Without firm details on these devices, it would be unwise to buy. Neither the Galaxy S4 nor the HTC One are bad devices, but when Samsung has already released an updated version of the GS4, and they are both a few months old, getting locked into a new contract is not a wise decision.

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About Ryan Kamauff

Ryan Kamauff is a senior analyst with Crucial Point LLC. He produces technology focused content for CTOvision.com and reports on analytical megatrends at the new analysis focused Analyst One.