Be techie – choose the right handset

2013-01-13 10:01

It’s the year of the smartphone, so it’s time to finally bid farewell to your old-fashioned cellphone.

Cellphone industry experts predict that this year, for the first time, smartphones will ­outsell ordinary cellphones.

It is predicted that more than 10 million cellphones will be sold in South Africa this year – more than six million of them smart devices.

And despite being criticised for lagging behind with innovation, BlackBerry will probably still

lead the South African pack this year.

Research company Canalys has established that in the last two years, six out of the top 10 ­smartphones sold in South Africa have been the BlackBerry make.

That’s in stark contrast to the handset’s performance elsewhere in the world.

Its Canadian maker, Research In Motion, is contending with plummeting share prices worldwide and the newly-released BlackBerry 10 may be the company’s last roll of the dice.

A common lament among ­BlackBerry users and those who dislike the brand, is the dearth of apps available on the phones.

But the unlimited internet that’s ­standard with every BlackBerry continues to keep its sales high in South Africa.

Cellphone operators are now ­unveiling attractive, cheaper data plans which may see some ­BlackBerry fans moving to ­different smartphone brands.

The Samsung S3, universally ­acknowledged as the phone to use if you’re a committed techie, gives way to the Samsung S4, which is generating massive hype ahead of its first-quarter release.

The apps available on the community supported, Google-linked Android operating system are ­fascinating, and users praise the Samsung device for being slick and feature-rich.

Those who are just dipping their toes into the smartphone water may favour the older Samsung S2 as a way to enter the market.

Then, of course, there is the iPhone. Service providers like Cell C are offering good deals for the brand new iPhone 5 that make it an affordable buy.

Also expect newer iPhones ­(either a 5S or 6) to surface in the latter part of this year, with all kinds of bells and whistles to keep users interested.

Nokia will keep puttering along with their more than adequate ­Lumia, which offers Windows and will most certainly draw some ­conservative users who migrate to smartphones for the first time.

The disappointment of the year is that the competitively priced and already cult-like phone – the Nexus 4 (the Google-LG ­collaboration) – will not be coming to South Africa any time soon. ­

Instead, LG is going all out with its LG Optimus G, a reasonable phone that hasn’t exactly wowed the techies.

Google South Africa will only say “watch this space” when asked about the critically-acclaimed and much-coveted Nexus.

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