It's not completely klutz-proof — it lacks the ruggedness of those old yellow-and-black, construction-grade Nextel phones — but the Sony Xperia ZR Waterproof Phone ($TBA) will be ready for your next pool party. It's IP55 and IP58 compliant, letting you keep it submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water — roughly five feet — for up to 30 minutes, allowing you to capture shots and 1080p videos with its 13 megapixel fast capture camera that an iPhone can only dream about. Other features include a Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5 GHz processor, 4G LTE, a 4.6" HD Reality display, and NFC capabilities. Arriving later this year.
Nope, it's not a late April Fools joke — we checked. The Samsung Galaxy Mega ($TBA) officially straddles the line between "big but usable" and self-parody with your choice of a huge 5.8-inch screen or a 6.3-inch behemoth. Oh, did we mention these are supposed to be phones, not tablets? Yeah. And as such, they also offer powerful dual-core processors, fast HSPA networking with LTE support on the 6.3 model, 8 or 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, 8-megapixel rear cameras, and 1.9 megapixel front cams. Extra fabric to expand your pockets to accomodate their oversized bodies? Not included.
Facebook finally took the wraps off its long-rumored Android project, and the result is... an app? Kinda. The HTC First with Facebook Home ($100) will be the first handset blessed with Facebook Home, the social network's new home/lock screen replacement. While the phone itself isn't exactly bleeding edge, with a 5 megapixel cam, a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch, 720p screen, and LTE networking, it's the software that counts. Software that transforms your lock screen into a Facebook feed, complete with full-screen pics, status updates, and IMs, and offers deep Facebook integration after you unlock. Like we said, it's a Facebook Phone, only it isn't.
You can get extra power from a big battery that straps to the back of your phone — but if you prefer to use your phone "naked", the Fuel Micro Charger ($25) is a good thing to keep around. This keychain-friendly device looks like a rusted fuel can — literally — and rocks a micro-USB port that you can use to access and/or charge the 220 milliAmp battery, which is good for about 20-30 minutes of extra juice. So no, it's not going to get you through a full day of bad service — but it might be just enough to get you out of a jam.
How do build the followup to the most successful smartphone in your company's history? You start by leaving a lot the same. At a glance, the Samsung Galaxy S4 ($TBA) looks much like the S3 — but look closer, and you'll notice changes like a 5-inch, 1080p Super AMOLED display, Gorilla Glass 3 for added durability, a 1.6GHz Exynos Octa 8-core processor, a larger battery, and a 13 megapixel camera. Of course, software plays a part too, with new features like Smart Scroll and Smart Pause that use eye-tracking and the accelerometer to scroll pages and pause videos automatically. Arriving Q2 2013.
After a thorough drubbing at the hands of Apple and Samsung last year, HTC's back with its latest take on a flagship smartphone. The HTC One ($TBA) is the result, blending features of both the iPhone and the Galaxy series into a single, interesting handset. It features an aluminum unibody design with chamfered edges — sound familiar? — a 4.7" 1080p screen, a 4-megapixel rear-facing camera, dubbed Zoe, that promises larger individual pixels and therefore better low-light performance, dual front-facing speakers, LTE networking, a totally re-imagined Sense skin atop Android Jelly Bean, a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, NFC, 2GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, and 32 or 64GB of onboard storage. Coming soon to a carrier near you.
Is it an iPhone- or Galaxy-killer? No, probably not — but if you're still clinging to your 9900 like a shipwreck survivor to a piece of snapped-off wood, the Blackberry Z10 ($200) is surely a sight for sore eyes. Powered by the all-new, gesture-filled BlackBerry 10 OS, the Z10 features 2-megapixel front and 8-megapixel rear cameras, a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, fast LTE networking, NFC support, and a 1,280 x 768, 4.2-inch display. Assuming you're still in, you'll finally be able to use that upgrade in April.
Well, that didn't take long. For all of you who long for a more vibrant iPhone 5 than Apple's stock black and white versions, the Colorware iPhone 5 ($1,700) is now available. Using an online tool, you can choose a custom color for the 64GB, SIM unlocked phone's body, top rear glass, bottom rear glass, Home button, and SIM tray. A wide variety of both solid, metallic, and pearlescent colors are available, but obviously, we prefer the white/orange/black combo.
Think Nokia's the only company cranking out brightly-color phones? Think again. The new HTC 8X Phone ($TBA) is the company's signature Windows Phone handset, packing a 4.3-inch HD LCD screen with a Gorilla Glass 2 covering, Beats Audio for an improved headphone experience, a 2.1mp front facing camera, an 8 megapixel backside-illuminated sensor and f/2.0 28mm lens on the back, and, of course, Windows Phone 8. Arriving in November in a variety of colors, including blue, black, red, and "that's obviously not an iPhone" yellow.
Never get stuck without a working phone again. The SpareOne Emergency Phone ($60) is a dead-simple GSM cell that draws its power from a single AA battery, meaning that it should be good to go in any situation, assuming you can find a battery — and the cell towers are working. Other features include one-button emergency dialing even without a SIM card, the ability to be geo-located in an emergency, 9 speed dial buttons, and a built-in LED torch light.
It might be a year later than we expected, but it's here all the same. The Apple iPhone 5 ($200-$400) looks quite a bit like its predecessor, but packs in a number of all-new features for the family, including a 4-inch widescreen Retina display (hello, fifth row of apps!), a new, speedier A6 processor, a new aluminum and glass enclosure, an all-new Lightning connector, 4G LTE and dual-channel 802.11n 5GHz networking, an improved 8 megapixel iSight camera with panorama mode, a FaceTime HD camera, 16, 32, or 64GB of storage, and all-new EarPod headphones. Arriving on September 21 in black or white.
And the award for Worst Cell Phone Name of the Year goes to... the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD ($TBA). Look past the ridiculous moniker, however, and you'll find a quite capable smartphone, featuring a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED HD display, LTE networking, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel rear camera, a front-facing camera, Android 4.0, a Kevlar back, water-repellent nanocoating, and a microSD card slot for expandable storage. Of course, they don't call it the Maxx for nothing, so you'll also get a massive battery good for 32 hours of normal use on a single charge.