Friday, December 16, 2011

Top Phones of 2011 on AT&T

Looking back on the year of 2011 we saw a lot of changes: the launch of LTE on two major U.S. wireless carriers, the expanded deployment of other 4G networks like HSPA+ and WiMax, the spread of a newly introduced operating system (Windows Phone 7) and the death of another (WebOS). We've also seen the introduction of more smartphones than any other year previously and it's been hard to keep up with! To be honest, there were a few that tickled our fancy a little more than others. These phones stand out from the rest of their peers, and whether they've faded into the past or are still current, they deserve to be mentioned and recognized. These... are the Top Phones of 2011 on AT&T.

Android Phones
HTC Inspire 4G - The HTC Inspire 4G stood out from the rest when it was released because it was one of the first 4G phones released on AT&T's network. It ran on HSPA+, had a beautiful 4.3" screen, a quick processor (at the time) and a great 8 MP camera capable of recording 720p video. It was glitch-free (until you updated it to Android 2.3 from Android 2.2). It was my main phone of choice for about six months, in fact, which for me is an eternity. Even though it may be a little over-priced these days for what it has to offer (the price hasn't gone down at all since it was launched for $99 in February) it was worth every penny and was unmatched in quality at the time it was launched and for that... we must tip our hats.

Motorola Atrix 4G (with all the upgrades on it) - This phone changed what we thought was possible with smartphones. When it first released, it was a bit of a sore spot for me, though. Here, we thought we had the best phone in the world. Unfortunately it turned out to be a six-month nightmare for some people. After a series of updates (four to be exact) it finally received the corrective software needed to make it all it was meant to be... and then dropped off the face of the earth to be replaced by a souped-up, bigger, faster version: the Motorola Atrix 2. While it was here it taught us a few things though: smartphones can double as computers, smartphones can be powerful and compact at the same time, and if you can't get it right the first time.... try, try, and try... and then try again.

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket - The big brother to the original Samsung Galaxy S II makes the list for sure. If you can remember... I was looking forward to the release of the Samsung Galaxy S II for a very long time and then about a month later the Skyrocket was announced and sweetened the deal even more. The Skyrocket, with it's very large processor, quality front-facing camera, slim profile, and large, vibrant 4.5" screen is a hard phone to top and with a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and support for LTE, it's also hard to beat in a race. Add-in the highly customizable user experience (including the availability of both a black and a white version) and you get a very good quality phone!

HTC Vivid - The cheapest LTE phone on AT&T's network did, by no means, cut corners. It also didn't get a jump on that New Year's resolution to lose weight. It's fat, heavy, and rocks the metal battery cover hard, but what's inside is worth it's weight in shiny, black (or white) plastic. The processor is a 1.2 GHz dual core processor powering an LTE antenna and supported by 1 GHz of Ram. A 4.3" display shows those quickly-loaded videos on the qHD display and if you're video chatting you've got a front-facing camera to make it possible easier. The 8 MP camera with 1080p HD video support is nothing short of amazing either. Thank you HTC... for making me remember to wear a belt whenever I have you in my pocket... and for making my internet speeds so much faster. You're wonderful.

Windows Phone 7... Phones...
Samsung Focus S - Even though we only saw the release of three new Windows Phones in 2011, one of them in particular stood out more than the others... the Samsung Focus S. It has the best quality display (Super AMOLED Plus) the slimmest profile, the lightest build and the best camera. It also packs a 1.4 GHz Snapdragon processor and a very good camera with 8 MP still shots and 720p HD video. A 1.3 MP front-facing camera is thrown in for good measure and as always there's a dedicated camera button for quick, easy shots. Oh, and it's 4G HSPA+.

And Apple...
iPhone 4S - The iPhone 4S disappointed a lot of people. Why? Because it wasn't the iPhone 5. They could have named it the iPhone 5 and it would have made more people happy, but they didn't. Why? Because you're going to buy it anyway... and you did. The iPhone 4S catches Apple up (somewhat) with modern day technology. You can now buy an iPhone with a dual-core processor, 4G HSPA+ support, and an 8 MP camera with 1080p HD video capture. Nothing REALLY ground-breaking here until you meet Siri. Siri changes the way virtual assistants interact with people. No more programming yourself to talk like a robot. Siri listens to you the way you talk... even when it's dirty. Nothing else has even come close to matching Siri and all she can do and this is the biggest innovation Apple has brought to the smartphone table this year.

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