Ask anyone on the New Zealand streets what the biggest smartphone companies are and you will get two immediate answers, Apple and Samsung. The iPhone and Galaxy series have long been the dominant flagship models both in NZ and internationally but there are many other smartphone companies around the world all vying for international dominance with a myriad of high end flagship models to choose from. Today we are going to have a look at some of these other companies and their flagship models and see whether they can challenge the popularity of Apple and Samsung.
Huawei – P9
Chinese company Huawei is the 3rd biggest cell phone manufacturer in the world due in large part to their dominance of the Chinese market, but they slowly becoming a well known brand in other markets including New Zealand. They are currently running advertising extremely aggressively at the moment including signing Lionel Messi as a global brand ambassador and casting Scarlet Johansson and Henry Cavil in recent commercials.
Huawei’s current flagship is the just released P9 which runs on a 64-bit octa-core CPU and a Mali-T880 MP4 GPU, and comes in either 3Gb Ram and 32Gb Storage or 4GB RAM and 64GB Storage. The P9’s big selling points are it dual rear cameras one of which is a monochrome sensor which Huawei claims will capture 270% more light than a 6s and 70% more light than the S7 and its fingerprint sensor which uses 3D ridge depth detail resulting in fast and accurate identification.
Google – Nexus 6P
When it comes to smartphones Google is best know for the android operating system but they are also responsible for the design and parts of the development of the Nexus line of phones, the rest of the development and the manufacture
The current Nexus Flagship is the 6P released at the end of 2015, it is powered by a 64 bit octa-core CPU, Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB of RAM. The device come in three storage sizes 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. While the Nexus 6P doesn’t have any particularly unique or revolutionary features it has been receiving high praise for having all round excellent features such as a 3450 mAh battery, 12.3 MP Rear and 8MP Front cameras, 1440p resolution screen, 2160p Video Capture and Android 6.0
Nokia – Lumia 950
Nokia is a familiar name in the phone world for their legendarily indestructible brick phones but significantly less so for their more recent efforts. The brand name was acquired by Microsoft to produce phones running the Windows OS but have failed to dent the popularity of Android or iPhone OS and now Microsoft have sold the low end model side of the business to Foxconn and although they say they will support the existing high end models they have made no announcements for any new flagships indicating they made stop produce mobile phones altogether and just focus on the Windows 10 OS
The flagship windows phone is the Lumia 950 released in October last year, it comes with a hexa-core processor Snapdragon 808 Processor and 3GB of RAM. The Lumia boasts an impressive 20MP Rear camera with triple LED flash as well as a respectable 5MP Front camera. The Lumia also supports the Windows 10 Continuum feature allowing users to connect a keyboard, mouse and external display to use their phone like a PC
LG – G5
LG is a south Korean multinational conglomerate involved in the electronics, chemical and telecommunications industries. Their produce mobile phones as well as tablets and smart watches under the LG electronics company.
The LG G5 runs on the quad core snapdragon 820 Processor and comes with 4GB of ram and 32GB of storage with expansion available via micro SD card. The G5’s big feature is what makes it the most unique of all the flagship models looked at here, its modular design. The G5 is designed to allow the connection of various modules adding and expanding the functionality of the phone as well having an easily removable and replaceable battery (Unusual for a high end device). Unfortunately the modules are currently few with just 6 different modules (all from LG) available, whether third part developer choose to develop these modules (or friends as LG calls them) will likely be the deciding factor on whether this modular design feature sticks around or is dropped.
HTC – HTC Ten
HTC are a Taiwanese company, once considered just behind apple and Samsung they have struggled in recent years to be truly competitive internationally. HTC is quite well known for their innovations including their partnership with Beats, Front Facing Speakers and their new VR headset the Vive
The just released HTC Ten is the current HTC Flagship. It runs on the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, Adreno 530 GPU and comes with 4GB of RAM. It comes in 32BG and 64GB internal storage options and expandable memory using Micro SD. The Ten mostly retains and tweaks many of the features from the previous HTC Flagships such as their trademarked “boom sound” which now involves the use of a speaker on the top of the phone and a subwoofer on the bottom rather than two front facing speakers as well as input from Dolby to vastly improve the sound quality and power when using headphones, the all metal singular unit body design present since the M7. The Ten also comes with a 12MP Ultra pixel Rear Camera, 5mp Front Camera and 3000 mAh battery.
After looking at these different flagships it seems that several have the potential to challenge the Galaxy and iPhone models for top flagship particularly the HTC Ten, Nexus 6P and the Huawei P9, it will be particularly interesting to see whether Huawei’s major marketing campaigns extend much to New Zealand and how much effect it will have on their share of the market. The Nokia 950 seems doomed to fade into obscurity due to a lack of interest from Microsoft and it seems likely that the entire Lumia range will be shelved as they look to move away from Smartphone hardware and whether the LG G5’s modularity resonates with consumers in any meaningful way will only become clear with time.