Rumours have become the stock-in trade of smartphone news, circling round and round in an almost constant state of leaks, confirmations and eventual unveilings. Leading up to a major handset launch there can be months of hearsay and speculation about a prospective device with some commentators going into almost unbelievable levels of detail.
Ahead of the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S III in May there were almost daily rumours emerging about how the final device may look and perform. These rumours can generate a huge amount of excitement amongst consumers, all of which can be a bonus to manufacturers.
But it is not just the most high-profile devices which are talked about before release, with details of many other devices often prompting speculation about the companies producing them them and the industry as a whole.
The latest Dialaphone poll has asked our readers which handsets that are currently flying around the rumour mill are the most exciting, gauging which releases could generate the most interest should they eventually come to fruition.
The option which gathered the most votes was Samsung’s Galaxy S III Mini, a device launched but a few hours ago. Consumer interest could well be satisfied with the unveiling and the scaled-down Galaxy S III was clearly something that appealed to the public in the build up to launch.
Living up to its name, the Galaxy S III Mini is a trimmed-down version of its larger cousin, featuring a more compact form factor and slightly lower specs which position it in mid-range territory.Featuring a 4-inch display and 1GHz, dual-core processor the S III Mini takes the essence of the original Galaxy S III and incorporates it into a device positioned towards a different target audience, and as such, could prove to be very popular.
The Galaxy S III has been one of the biggest handset launches of this year, with sales of the device expected to exceed 30 million units by the end of 2012. Samsung’s flagship was hugely anticipated and has clearly captured the imagination of the smartphone buying-public, giving the Korean comapny another success story and helping it to become the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones. The promise of a similar handset at a much more affordable price is something that could draw in a huge number of consumers who are like the look of the S III but are not willing to commit to an expensive contract or fork-out a large amount of cash in one go.
Second in the poll was the most mythical of the devices listed, with only the most vague suggestions and speculation having emerged about a possible Microsoft phone. What we do know is that the upcoming release of the Windows Phone 8 OS has generated a lot of interest, with many commentators giving the platform a degree of attention that it didn’t have before.
The idea of the software giant producing its own smartphone may seem far-fetched, but few people saw the Surface tablet coming either. As a part of the massive overhaul of Windows as a whole, Microsoft has teamed-up with several manufacturers such as Samsung and HP to produce tablets that will run Windows 8 RT, a version of the software specifically configured for tablets which use ARM processor infrastructure. The Redmond-based company then surprised many by announcing that it will launch its own proprietary tablet device, the Surface, in direct competition to the other firms.
Could Microsoft do the same thing with a smartphone? With major hardware unveilings from HTC and Nokia having already happened it is not impossible that Microsoft could make the same move and introduce a Surface phone, creating even more competition in a market which has several handsets already lined-up for launch.
Another Windows Phone handset that has hit the rumour mill recently, the Lumia 510 is said to be of a much lower spec than the recently announced Lumia 920 and 820. Running the older Windows Phone 7 platform, a cut-price Lumia handset could be a good way of Nokia capitalising on the massive success that its feature phones have had in less developed territories.
Apple and its iOS operating system have not seen the same sales figures in emerging markets that they have been able to boast in the first world, possibly due to the fact that iOS is designed around expensive, high-spec handsets that are simply out of reach to many people in poorer countries.
An affordable but modern Windows Phone device could prove to be popular in such territories, and if the device does emerge it will be an interesting move that proves that the older version of Microsoft’s mobile platform has life in it yet.
Bringing up the rear in the voting were two BlackBerry handsets RIM is rumoured to be bringing out alongside its upcoming BB10 operating system. Pencilled in for a January launch, what we have seen of the new OS looks impressive and could help the Canadian manufacturer to claw back some of the market share it has lost of late.
Specs have emerged for the BlackBerry Aristo, showing it to be a high-spec handset with some impressive features including a quad-core, 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor and 2GB of RAM. Details of the BlackBerry London (which has long been rumoured to be the launch device for the new OS) have been scant but BlackBerry focused website CrackBerry recently posted images that purported to be from a teardown of an early version of the device. From this it was ascertained that the London will feature a dual-core processor and a variety of new camera features.
Overall, Samsung’s Galaxy S III Mini gathered considerably more votes than anything else, proving that consumer interest in that particular device along with anything else that the Korean manufacturer does is at a high. The smartphone rumour mill is very effective at building hype ahead of a handset launch and the results of our poll prove that it is very capable of sparking consumers interest long before a handset becomes available or is even confirmed as being in existence.