How Android handset manufacturers will respond to the iPhone 5s

How Android handset manufacturers will respond to the iPhone 5s

Summary: What Apple has added to the new iPhone is a good predictor of what Android handset makers will be focusing on over the next year or so.


Details of Apple's new flagship handset, the iPhone 5s, are out, and while there remains a whole lot of questions about the handset – many that only a teardown and time will answer – one thing that I've been pondering today is how Android handset manufacturers will respond to the new iPhone.

The key to answering this question is to look at two things:

  • What are the new features the iPhone 5s – and to a lesser extend, the 5c – bring to the table?
  • What did Apple focus on during the launch even and in ads for the new handsets?

Taking both these points into consideration, I predict that this is what the future (next 12 months) holds for Android handsets.

  • Fingerprint readers galore! Love them or hate them, you're going to be seeing fingerprint readers popping up on Android handsets following the inclusion of the technology on the iPhone 5s.
    The first Android handset to feature a fingerprint reader was the Motorola Atrix 4G, which was later dropped because of a lack on interest. Now you can be sure that there is going to be considerable interest in fingerprint readers, and handset makers will be rushing to the drawing boards to add them to devices.
  • 64-bit processors – Mobile has started making the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit, and while the iPhone 5s is just the beginning of that move, it is a significant one.
    Apple talked a lot about the move being "forward thinking" and the hardware being "desktop-class," and while this might come across a hype or puff, those words hang in the air for a long time.
    But this poses a problem for Android handset makers. The 64-bit chips aren't ready, and neither is Android. It is likely that Android 5.0 will be the first version to fully utilize the new ARMv8 architecture.
    For now, this gives Apple a clear lead over the competition, and the gap is unlikely to the closed until 2014 at the earliest.
  • Colors – The iPhone 5c now comes in a rainbow of colors, and gold has been added to the traditional black and white (sorry, space grey and silver/white) for the iPhone 5s.
    While Nokia's Lumia handsets have been coming in a range of colors for some time now, but outside of a few higher-end devices, Android devices have been quite conservative.
  • More focus on the camera – The iPhone is not only a smartphone, but it is also a popular camera, topping the list on social media sites such as Flickr. Since the iPhone 5s now features a much-improved camera, we can expect to see Android OEMs putting a lot more focus on this feature.
    Samsung has already been putting a fair amount of effort into the cameras on its devices, but most other manufacturers are shipping devices that have mediocre imaging hardware, and offer little more than the bare minimum when it comes to the software. Putting a better camera, and hooking that up to more intelligent software will undoubtedly become a priority now that Apple has raised the bar.

Topics: iPhone, Android, Apple, Smartphones

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  • apple folk have extremely odd sense of timelines

    Android and Windows phones have fingerprint scanners. Yet apple is the one who invented it and if they come out on future Android and Windows phones, they are copying apple.

    Android and Windows phones come with a variety of colors. Yet apple is the one who invented multiple colors and when the next line of Android and WP8 phones come out in multiple colors, it will be because they copied apple.

    Android and Windows phones come with fantastic cameras. Yet apple is the one who invented the smartphone camera and when the next line of Android and WP8 phones come out with great cameras, it will be because they copied apple.

    AKH, here is your big clue: apple is the one reacting to Android and WP8. apple is the me-too copier. This has been going on for years now. Feature X comes out on a non apple product, apple reacts to it, copies it, and is credited with inventing it. When Feature X.1 comes out later on that non apple product, they are accused of copying apple.

    As for 64 bit CPUs, not even apple can tell us how this is a good thing. Note that there isn't a single "here is the user benefit to having a 64 bit CPU" on apple's site. They throw out fancy words like "you are now using a desktop on your phone" (wait, isn't that a BAD thing? Huh) but nowhere do they actually tell you how this is good. In fact, this is a bad thing for apple users because 64 bit CPUs actually slow things down if programs are simply recompiled for 64 bit due to increased storage space and increased RAM requirements.

    Also have to point out that apple is NOT the first to have a 64 bit CPU on a mobile device. Nope, Windows powered tablets have had 64 bit CPUs for a long time now except these tablets actually run programs that are optimized for 64 bit and they come with the RAM required to run 64 bit programs. So once again, apple is the me-too copier but once again, apple does a poor job of it.
    • This , +1520

      I agree , i'm tired of so much BS...
      Apple has not been in the front for a long time but some still try to make that impression..
      • brrunopt

        Your opinions are the real BS!
        • Childish

          Why would you make such a childish comment in response to another's comment? You prove yourself to be an idiot, hater...
          • 1bmwdrvr1

            WOW! Hate much hater!
          • Todd the Troll


            Nobody but you is suggesting that Apple have claimed to have invented the finger print scanner. They are simply bringing them from obscurity into a mainstream device.

            Nobody but you is suggesting that Apple have claimed to invented colour. Though we will see Android builders getting as close to the same colour range and case designs as they dare.

            Nobody but you is suggesting that Apple invented the smartphone camera. Though they did just create the first camera of any kind with a variable colour temperature flash. That’s probably an invention. However iPhone cameras are widely recognised photographic tools. Most Android phone camera’s are photographically garbage. Some of Nokia, now Microsoft’s phone camera’s are pretty good (though Nokia fakes the samples to make them look better). The trouble is that the camera is the only think on those phones that is any good. Microsoft is finished in mobile. The market knocked 3x what they paid for Nokia off Microsoft’s market cap. Microsoft will be writing down it’s existing stock of tablets once a quarter over the next year,

            Apple aren’t unable to tell us by a 64 bit CPU is a good thing. They assume that those who are interested already know. Instead they have simply told us that their new 64 bit processor is twice as fast as the previous model, and uses less power. I would think that most people would recognise that as good.

            And nobody but you is suggesting that Apple have the first 64 bit processor in a mobile [as in portable] device. My Sun V880 is mobile i.e. portable. It’s got wheels and handles and 8 x64 bit processors. But Apple has the first 64 bit processor in a mobile [as in mobile phone].

            The version of iOS on the iPhone 5s is fully 64 bit. Have Microsoft managed to convert Internet Explorer on Windows 8 to 64 bit yet?
            Henry 3 Dogg
      • iPhone Fans Fooled By Fake New iPhone 5S

        With the right mentality you will accept any "innovation" - the new iPhone even has food tastes on the screen:
    • Totally agree wth ToddB

      on this one.
      Android and Windows OEM's will go:
      "Oh, new iphone"
      And then carry on with their existing plans.
      • Re: And then carry on with their existing plans.

        Which are essentially "copy the iPhone".
        • Yeah

          When I see a Galaxy Note 3, I think 'iPhone wannabe'.

          When I see the HTC One, I think 'iPhone wannabe'.

          When I think the Lumia, I think 'iPhone wannabe'.

          Or not.
          Michael Alan Goff
    • ...

      That's what I wanted to write.

      If Apple invented colors yesterday , how come Lumia launched them continuously for the last 2 years?

      If Apple created a new focus on Cameras yesterday how come Honami and Lumia 1020?

      Of course new 64 bit processors will arrive shortly, because Android phones are getting close to the 4 GB RAM limit where they actually need them and get a benefit.

      I'll give Apple the finger print scanner. If it actually works flawlessly that's a first.
      • People forget that Apple was first with colors in the 1990s

        Apple is no stranger to producing products in multiple colors. Apple had products with multiple colors in the 1990s, with the first iMacs. And multiple colors were (and still are) available in the iPod line.

        If anything, it is Nokia that is following in Apple’s footsteps by producing products in multiple colors many years later!
        Harvey Lubin
        • Ah but those don't count

          You see, that was colored computers, not colored smartphones.

          You apple people have been VERY clear that taking something that was common on the PC and applying it to a smartphone is a COMPLETELY new thing.

          Or doesn't that "count" anymore?
          • Um, you forgot iPods

            *rolls eyes*
          • Re: You see, that was colored computers, not colored smartphones.

            I see you have no problems to compare a netbook with a mobile phone.

            Why the double standard now?
          • I think

            he was pointing out the double standard that some people have.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • you meant

            People other than himself?
          • Well, yes

            I see TB3 as a parody.

            If you look at him like that, it all makes sense.
            Michael Alan Goff
        • colors

          Buddy, I believe, we are talking about smartphone. Else, we can go one saying that the credit should be given to the first artist who used colors, or the person t\who invented colors or dye. Sorry, do you know those.
      • RAM is *NOT* the reason

        The "4GB" RAM limit is a limit in the BIOS that was addressed in every 32-bit operating system except Windows. Microsoft decided not to fix the issue in Windows XP because they wanted people to jump to Vista, then 7.

        The Linux Kernel has supported PAE since 2.3 and the very first version of Android used the Linux 2.6 Kernel. Android has essentially always supported up to 64GB of RAM (using PAE).

        64-bit processor allows for better interoperability with OSX based software. Specifically, Apple can use many of the same libraries and code between the two OS's which prevents duplication of code.

        Does it directly effect the customers? Only in the way that apps may be developed a bit quicker because there's less code duplication.