Hot for this quarter: The best smartphones

What caught our eyes in the US

With spring now in full bloom, device manufacturers are starting to roll out some of their marquee smartphones in an effort to generate some buzz before Apple inevitably drops its newest iPhone this (northern) summer.

The spring of 2012 will likely be remembered for the advent of Nokia's first-ever Windows Phone offering and the rise of Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich") as the de facto version of Android for new handsets. In this article we'll guide you through the four hottest new smartphone releases so far this spring by providing vital information on the devices' operating systems, processors, connectivity and other key features.

RELATED: Sprint adds to LTE smartphone lineup with Galaxy Nexus 

MORE ON ANDROID: Android 'Ice Cream Sandwich' adoption still stuck in the low single digits

Smartphone: HTC One X 

Carrier: AT&T 

Operating system: Android 4.0 

Basic specs: 4.7-inch display screen; 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor; 8MP camera; LTE and HSPA+ connectivity 

Price: $199.99 with a two-year service agreement

Why you might buy it: The One X is AT&T's first-ever Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone and also the first one to integrate the Beats sound system produced by Dr. Dre Audio. What's more, a new study from PC World has shown that AT&T currently has the fastest LTE network in the United States, so if you want a to experience the fastest data speeds that mobile broadband has to offer, the One X is as good a phone as any to use.


Smartphone: Nokia Lumia 900

Carrier: AT&T

Operating system: Windows Phone 7.5 ("Mango")

Basic specs: 4.3-inch display screen; 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor; 8MP camera; HSPA+ and LTE connectivity

Price: $99.99 with a two-year service agreement

Why you might buy it: Well, it's pretty cheap, for one. For another it's received strong reviews for its sleek design and its much-improved Windows Mobile user interface. And finally, it's the shape of things to come for the Windows platform as a whole, so you can expect a lot more integration between your Windows phone and your PC once Windows 8 rolls out sometime this year.


Smartphone: HTC Evo 4G LTE

Carrier: Sprint

Operating system: Android 4.0

Basic specs: 4.7-inch display screen; dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor; 8MP camera; EV-DO Rev. A and LTE connectivity

Price: $199.99

Why you might buy it: It's Sprint's debut LTE device! What's more, it's also Sprint's first device that implements HD Voice technology that the company says will make for clearer voice calls that dramatically lessen background noise once it goes online later this year. And like its WiMax-enabled predecessor, the Evo 4G, the device features a kickstand so you can stand it up vertically. Who doesn't love a kickstand? And one more thing: Sprint is the only carrier in the country that still offers unlimited data plans for its smartphones, so you'll never be in danger of getting slapped with an overage fee if you pick up an Evo.


Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Carrier: Sprint

Operating system: Android 4.0

Basic specs: 4.65-inch display screen; 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor; 5MP camera; EV-DO Rev. A and LTE connectivity

Price: $199.99

Why you might buy it: This is a device for users who really, really love having Google services with them wherever they go. Among other things, the phone comes preloaded with the Google Wallet mobile payment platform, the Google+ hangouts video chat application, the Google Voice calling application, the Google Play store for apps and entertainment, and the NFC-enabled Android Beam feature that lets users quickly share data with one another simply by tapping their devices together. And like the newest Evo, the Galaxy Nexus can take advantage of Sprint's unlimited LTE data plans.

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Brad Reed

Network World

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