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A Smartphone Comparison for the Holidays

Makers of smartphones are expecting a blockbuster holiday season. According to International Data Corporation, a leading provider of market intelligence, smartphones are likely to grow 39.5%, year-over-year, during the holiday quarter. And overall smartphone shipments are expected to almost double over the next four years.

The proliferation of all these devices has been staggering of late. Which smartphone is the best one for consumers? How will the changing marketplace affect leading industry participants like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) , Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) , and Samsung? What will their shifting fortunes mean for investors in these companies?

In order to get a better handle on the dynamic smartphone landscape, we asked Evan Niu, one of our leading tech analysts, to take a closer look at some of the top smartphones on the market right now. In this slideshow, Evan provides takeaways for both consumers and investors, as we all try to determine the best smartphones over the holidays and beyond.

A smartphone comparison for the holidays from The Motley Fool.

Read/Post Comments (26) | Recommend This Article (74)

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  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2012, at 8:55 PM, mrphil49 wrote:

    If you do your homework, there is no comparison of the two companies. Apple is dismantling Google's source of income. Apple is an American hero. It is the Microsoft of this generation and more. As a long time Foolish Premium Service member, I am very unhappy that you are climbing onto the Apple bashing road. It matters not if Google's OS is dominant. They make no money off it. Anyone under 35 lives in an Apple world. Anyone over 35 who owns an IOS device has disposible income. Google users do not. That means advertising income that Google is losing. A closed OS system wins every time with enterprise and with the K-12 school systems. Apple owns fingerprint touch screen technology! How much do you think that will sell on the next iPhone/iPad? TV is already an only internet issue for the under 35 group. Content is easy for Apple. Disney on their board and Steves money is the largest owner of Disney. Network, sports and movies are already theirs. Music streaming is definite. Pandora can only survive if Apple buys it just to resolve tha last content issues. Thats chump change for them, yet they don't need Pandora. Cars are starting to drive themselves on Apple. Why else would GM & Ford be installing IOS compatibility. For once, lets support an American company that actually makes something! Google is great, but who has the billions of dollars in their pocket! Any programmer will tell you that Googe is a nightmare to make money on as every manufacturer alters the OS. Apple, one OS, one program. Apple bashing is hurting millions of regular Americans retirement with lies.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2012, at 9:35 PM, Jurobi wrote:

    Personnaly a pox on both their houses. I refuse to have a smart phone.

    As far as apple, I have not owned an Apple product since they betrayed all of us who upgraded or bought the Apple II GS, just in time to be told they would not be supporting it, in favor of the inferior Mac, and the overly expensive Lisa. Nor will I ever buy another Apple product.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2012, at 10:29 PM, john795806 wrote:

    Here's a comment from someone with a different perspective: what people are buying overseas.

    Much as you may think that the whole world runs on Apple, it does not. Samsung and LG are simply out-hustling Apple the world over. China is making their own phones that are pretty cool, and they are not so ga-ga over Apple as before.

    Regrettably, Apple is on the verge of losing both the phone and tablet wars, just like they lost the PC/Apple war earlier. Apple has made a resurgence, but the fact that it was a blip is now showing. Apple maps was simply lame-brained. Their press conference on their Ipad mini was embarrassing--referring to other companies who had released 7" tabs as "utter failures"--an egotistical, gross overstatement. Though Apple is the best, Android is catching up. Those Samsung and Nexus phones and tabs are hot and are picking up sales. Apples isn't innovating fast enough on this playing field to truly distinguish itself. Apple will become like a lot of American companies: fantastic innovations which the rest of the world will copy and run with.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2012, at 10:54 PM, Foolme2x wrote:

    Apple/Jobs figured out in the early '90s how to win the hearts of tweenage girls from affluent families. The success of the iPod, iPhone & iPad is all based on focused targeting of that key demographic. One would be hard pressed to find an adult and/or male user of those products that wasn't "led" there by a 10-15 year old female.

    That which has made Apple the world's richest corporation now is becoming a major impediment to their future. Those 1990s tweens are now becoming soccer moms. They are still Apple devotees. But do you think for a moment that as their offspring move into the tweenage years they would be caught dead using a stodgy Apple product like their mothers? EEEEWWW!!!! NO WAY!!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2012, at 11:58 PM, Tosetitstraight wrote:

    I might be wrong, but I thought that Google had start branching out into telivision, thereby competing with AT&T,Verizon ,Sprint etc. This would be big bucks.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2012, at 10:03 AM, sheldonross wrote:

    mrphil49, It's posts like yours that bring a little laughter and mirth into the Holiday season. Keep up the hilarious zaniness.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2012, at 10:13 AM, mrphil49 wrote:

    Apple bought the GUI (OS for the uninformed) and developed it in house. Then they released it on the first Mac. Microsoft (Bill Gates) did what they do, they copied it with Windows 3.1. Apple sued and the case when to the Supreme Court. The Justices had no idea what an OS was as they were all way too old to understand how important the case was and why this was major theft! Apple lost that case. That is what gave us Microsoft domination. Microsoft has not had a decent OS since Windows XP and I have serious programming experience in 4 computer languages. Apple invented the PDA but a bean counter mentality got him fired so we got the Palm Pilot which is a third generation Apple Newton. Steve went into the desert and pulled Pixar out of his brain. The Apple story has been consistently one of a legal system that allows companies to steal intellectual property rampantly. The Government giveth patents and the Government taketh away as it sees fit. Now Apple is very strong. They are entrenched like no other Company. The number of Google/Samsung phones sold is meaningless compared to the business model Apple has created. Apple has a lock on the PC industry and on the education and enterprise market. They earn more money by huge amounts than Google. Samsung is ruthless and we have no idea if they are actually making any money on their cheap phones. We do have proof that they stole the technology from Apple. We do have proof that Apple customers dominate the web and web purchasing. You are a fool if you actually think that anyone under 35 would not choose the Apple ecosystem if they could afford it. Well they won't always be poor and Apple will be right there so that they can come "HOME" to the system they grew up with in school and at work. P.S. Will your credit cards be more secure in a Google device or in a fingerprint protected closed eco system Apple IOS device?

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2012, at 2:06 PM, tjBoston wrote:

    Actually, everything from rudimentary GUI technology to multi-touch & spatial manipulation of data has come from the MIT Media Lab, and been "stolen" by Apple and all their competitors alike. It is a great place to peak in on now & then to see what'll be "invented" by Apple et al in another few years!

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2012, at 3:30 PM, Matthewuwf wrote:


    I am under 35, and I am not poor. My Galaxy phone and Kindle HD tablet work perfectly for me. I wouldn't use an iphone if someone gave it to me. I did not know that google users (aprox 100% of the population if you factor in all serviced offered by google) has no disposable income. If that were the case I would be more concerned over the state of the economy.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2012, at 7:08 PM, mikecart1 wrote:


    Anyone that bashes either Apple or Google on their smartphones really has no idea of what they are talking about. Both company's smartphones have their advantages and disadvantages. Anyone ignoring the other because they prefer either an iPhone or Android comes off as heavily biased. I have yet to read ever real technical and long-term justifications as to why one is superior to another. I have an iPhone but you will never hear me brag about Apple. That is all.

    Merry Christmas!


  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2012, at 2:43 PM, deltagee wrote:

    Might want to update your chart with Apple's iphone 5 unlocked price.

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 1:34 PM, 48ozhalfgallons wrote:

    mrphil49: "Apple, one OS, one program. Apple bashing is hurting millions of regular Americans retirement with lies."

    OS 7.1;7.4;8.0;8.1;8.6;9.0;9.1;9.2;9.22;10;10.1;10.2;


    At around OS10.2 which had wiped out my newly unsupported 2 year old $4000 perfectly performing OS 9.22 tower, I bought an XP laptop for less than the stinking firewire Apple DVD reader and PCI card I just purchased to add to the tower to keep up with my Windows friends. Funny, the $600 XP laptop included a DVD writer AND 3 usb 2 ports! Had none of those on my Mac. SCSI, anyone? Never wanted nor needed any Apple product since then. XP still supported today.... yeah, after 13 years it's going bye-bye in 2014.... No problem, lots of mini tablets available for about the same price I paid for that Apple modem back in '99.

    So mrphil49, who's lying now?

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 1:47 PM, xetn wrote:

    I resisted a smartphone for a long time. But, since I frequently travel internationally, I opted for the unlocked Google Nexus 4 which can work with almost every system in the world. All I need is to purchase a local sim card and I am done. I no longer need to lug my laptop. I opted for the 16g version for $349.00

    I considered a tablet with a skype app, but there are a lot of issues with skype.

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 2:10 PM, CarrieMike wrote:

    I switched to iMAC in the spring after so many told me it was the only way to go. I am very disappointed. Apple products do not have graphics and it is difficult to get programs such as Publisher for a MAC. I need publishing templates and was told that Steve Jobs hated graphics and publishing products and would not allow Apple products to have them. And I had been told that anyone working with graphics and publishing (brochures, programs, etc.) should own a MAC only to find out that they are non-existant. Help! I would not switch again and had I not invested $2000 to do so, I'd go back to a PC.

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 2:20 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    Apple Reiterated at Outperform and 4 Reiterated Ratings Not to Miss

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 2:20 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:



    AAPL is on track for another fantastic quarter. iPhone sales of 68 million, iPad Mini sales of 25 million , iPad 3-4 sales 30 million, iPods are selling very well, itunes and APP store seeing increased sales BUY THIS STOCK NOW

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 3:13 PM, Panth wrote:

    This is a hoot, all this bashing! All products in this category have their limitations. This, however, is meant to be an investing site, not a technology site. This whole article is out of place here, I expect to hear the prognosis of these companies.

    I do not care if IOS is better than Android, I do care if Android's pricing point is going to eat into Apple sales, and therefore impact the price of Apple stock. Will MS phones start to catch on in the market, and if so, maybe that is a stock to consider. This is the smartphone equivalent of the old Ford vs. Chevy arguments.

    As this IS an investing site, I would rather see more articles on how this competition will effect the prices of the stocks in these companies.

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 5:53 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:



  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 5:56 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    AS SOON AS OBAMA STARTS TO DO HIS JOB, WHICH WILL NOT BE until after January, because he is manipulating the stock market for his own personal gain, once the deal is announced if it is done right AAPL will rally back 140 $$ a share , and FAST, you want to buy shares of AAPL NOW

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 6:27 PM, lismich wrote:

    No Blackberry in your comparison...event though there is still 79 millions of users in the market...Why discount RIM in the mind of yours clients - there shares have been a good bet for investors in the last months!

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2012, at 1:51 AM, dmagcorp55 wrote:

    hey, mrphil...

    Apple and MS "borrowed" their GUI from Xerox Parc, neither made it, neither stole it from the other. Don't know where you were when that happened, but it's kinda common knowledge...?

    IOS and Android are really quite interesting OS's, both have serious lateral extensions, Android / Google / Samsung are outselling Apple, and probably will continue to do so, repeating the "open hardware / multiple vendor" story from the MS/PC era 25 years ago...

    So it's not "if I do my homework", it's whether you could put your enthusiasm aside long enough to a) get the history right, and b) understand the international market dynamics... but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

    Both are cool platforms, and one still does need to consider what MS is going to do... I had better integration with my dear ol' BBerry than the Iphone I gave to my 12-year old or my Droid Razr, and can have all that back again with a MS smartphone, Surface, and some cool ultraportable... [my company's services we sell still run on Windows... like most of healthcare... they're not changing Anytime soon.....]

    I think AAPL will still be an ok buy, but the nonsense expressed above by dwilxxxx, our other fanboy here, is martian looney tunes forecasting....

    Merry Christmas!!

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2012, at 3:11 PM, 48ozhalfgallons wrote:

    Matthewuwf: the reason you are not poor is that you are not buying any Apple products.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2012, at 4:35 PM, networkteacher wrote:

    Somewhat surprised that Republic Wireless was not mentioned as an upstart. At $20/mo for unlimited use, its gaining enough traction to be disruptive at the least.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2012, at 2:18 AM, Bwill51 wrote:

    Ditto to your surprise. I have been a subscriber since August and find the price ($20/mth unlimited) and service right.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2012, at 12:32 PM, CHill8008 wrote:

    I likes Apple products, I like their reliability and integration and function. I don't like the price, but you get what you pay for. I bought a macbook pro a few years ago that is still as fast as the day I bought it, my brother, a pc fan, has gone through two laptops in that same time period, and one was a not-much-cheaper viao. Apple and Google are fundamentally different companies, Apple is a hardware supplier that has bespoke OS's, Google does software and services, and yes there is some overlap. I bought an Android phone a few years ago and hate it (FORCE CLOSE was not in my vocabulary as an iPhone user), but it is a popular device. I understand everyone is different and as these companies supply different products there is room in my portfolio for both, so they are both there. I am comforted in the fact that I make a little money off of Android users;-). I would appreciate more info on the companies themselves: eg, the effect of the litigation on the bottom line, how Google's higher sales translates into increased profits on a "free" OS, Why my call history and phone call are two different apps on my Android device, Why when I receive a text the browser closes, the effect of ms in the market, if Apple can take any more of the market in terms of per cent, etc. I think there may be some transfer of market share from bberry to ms given their already dominant presence in business, the op environment, and the ability to run Excel from a phone, etc. Fellow fools, be fans of the tech but investors in their stock. Merry Christmas.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2012, at 3:43 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    Let's face the facts! The average American wants to own an iPhone! Apple is trying to make that dream come true with a lower-priced iPhone...and that will happen soon! and they will start to take sales away from Samsung, who builds copycat cheap KOREAN phones. AAPL does build awesome products, so it usually boils down to a matter of price... many people can't afford Apple and we totally understand that, BUT AAPL DOES BUILD THE COOLEST PRODUCTS, and it is considered a status symbol among all teenagers and young adults. Everyone walking around town wants an iPhone, they don't want a droid; they don't want a Samsung!! They only get those two phones because they can't afford Aan IPHONE, but all kids want an apple IPHONE.

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