Samsung, LG, HTC look to counter Apple juggernaut

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On the heels of Apple’s unveiling of its latest iPhone 5, which is set to hit consumers this week, a trio of rivals announced their own flagship products that should make for an exciting holiday shopping season. The new devices include a pair of quad-core mega-smartphones from Samsung and LG, with HTC announcing its first smartphone powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system.

Samsung reported this morning that a handful of domestic carriers will begin offering its quad-core powered Galaxy Note 2 mega-smartphone beginning in mid-November. The carrier’s include Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA and U.S. Cellular.

The device packs Samsung’s Exynos, 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB of internal RAM, 16 GB of internal memory, sports a 5.5-inch screen and runs Google’s latest Android 4.1 operating system. Samsung also noted that the Note 2 will include 3,100 mAh battery that is 24% larger than the first-generation Note device, which was announced just last year. Samsung noted earlier this year that it had sold 5 million Galaxy Note devices from its launch last October through the first quarter of this year.

The Galaxy Note 2 will also be compatible with each carrier’s respective high-speed data network: LTE for Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel and U.S. Cellular; HSPA+ for T-Mobile USA. Carrier pricing and specific launch dates will be forthcoming.

Not to be outdone by its larger rival, LG’s move into quad-core power will come via its Optimus G smartphone that will feature a slightly smaller – though still extra-large – 4.7-inch touchscreen. The Optimus G will run Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz S4 Snapdragon quad-core processor supported by 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory, and run Android 4.0 out of the box.

Quad-core chipsets offer more power because the separate cores can process different tasks at the same time. But they can take a big toll on a smartphone’s battery, as can LTE networks. The Optimus G has a 2,100mAh battery, which gives it slightly less battery power than LG’s flagship 3G phone, the 4X HD.

LG noted that the device will also include support for LTE networks, with plans to launch in South Korea next week, in Japan sometime in October, and to make its way to the United States in November. Specific carriers were not announced.

The unsubsidized price of the Optimus G is $894, but of course consumers will see much lower prices. The smartphone’s display is made by LG Display, the same manufacturer that is producing screens for Apples iPhone 5. Like the iPhone 5, the Optimus G uses in-cell touchscreen technology. LG showed off similar quad-core devices earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain.

HTC’s offering into the space will come in either 8X or 8S versions, both using Windows Phone 8 running across a 4.3-inch screen in the 8X version and 4-inches in the 8S. HTC also highlighted the devices advanced camera technologies, which includes a 2.1-megapixel “ultra-wide angle” front camera that allows for up to four people to be captured at once, and an 8-megapixel rear camera with “backside illumination” designed to improve low-light performance.

Both models run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon dual-core processor, 1.5 GHz in the 8X, 1 GHz in the 8S. The models will be available in early November through more than 150 carriers in more than 50 countries, which means that network support will be wide and varied. Domestically, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA are set to offer the device.

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Martha DeGrasse

Editor, Wireless Infrastructure
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Martha DeGrasse is an editor at RCR Wireless News, and is the creator of the RCR Mobile Minute. Martha has been with RCR Wireless News since 2011. Her current focus areas are wireless infrastructure and heterogeneous networks. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her at Twitter @mdegrasseRCR

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