With the Samsung Galaxy S4 finally getting into the hands of some consumers, we must once again return to that persistent question that smartphone and gadget lovers never stop asking: what's next?
With word that Apple won't be releasing any new hardware until the fall and the HTC One and Galaxy S4 just released, the answer seems to be "not much" -- at least not for the next few months.
However, dancing on the far edges of the horizon in this summer's blockbuster smartphone void is a magical unicorn of a device whose legend grows stronger and more far-fetched with each passing day -- and with each hyperbolic comment loosed from Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt's lips. I am speaking, of course, of the mythical Motorola "X Phone."
We're coming up on two years since Google bought Motorola Mobility, and the much-anticipated fruits of this acquisition will be "phenomenal" to hear Schmidt tell it.
Combine that kind of hype with the summer smartphone dearth and a general hunger for new mobile devices and we have the ideal breeding grounds for technological unicorns, the ridiculous consummation of a marriage of circumstances enabled by a full bar of rumor cocktails.
If we're to believe all the rumors -- and Schmidt's hype -- Google's first big Moto phone will (deep breath):
Predict the applications and commands you want to use and launch them for you;
always be in "listening" mode to be ready for your voice commands;
come with an optional wood exterior;
run Android 5.0.1;
come ready to connect to other fantasy devices, like Glass and a smartwatch;
have a touch-enabled button on the rear casing to launch commands;
not be a Nexus- or Droid-branded phone;
have an "unlockable" bootloader and SIM; and
have eight cores;
be heavily subsidized and offered at a relatively low price for a flagship device.
Seriously? Are we talking about a real-world phone here or Voltron?
"Combine your X Phone with your Google Glass, smartwatch, and Dragon rocket and join Elon Musk for brunch on Mars."
It's hard to imagine all these things coming together into a relatively cheap phone by the end of summer. Rumors this far out from the target date tend to move quite a bit and we could be seeing some deliberate leaks to test the waters, but really, who knows.
With Google I/O coming up, we soon should have some more information to gauge these rumors, but the question still remains: Is it worth waiting to buy a new phone in case it comes true?
It kind of depends where you are in your contract and your eagerness to upgrade. If you're looking to get into a new Android superphone right now, I say don't wait. The HTC One and the GS4 are as good as it's likely to get for some time. There's no guarantee the X Phone unicorn will ever gallop, particularly in the form described above.
But if, like me, you've still got more than six months left on your contract, I think it's worth waiting to see if unicorns really can fly.