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4 sweet smartphones from CES 2012

Featuring Nokia's Lumia 710, Samsung's Galaxy Note, Sony's Xperia S and the Motorola Droid 4

By Brad Reed, Network World
January 10, 2012 06:06 PM ET

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This is the type of device that could be ideal for business users who want a smartphone that they feel comfortable doing work on. I can't wait to see what it looks like once it gets the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.

3: The Sony Xperia S

As much as we all love Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, we do occasionally long for mobile games that are slightly more on the complex side. Enter the Sony Xperia S, which was developed specifically with mobile gaming in mind.

I looked at the Xperia S for about two seconds before feverishly clicking on the Xperia's mobile version of "Grand Theft Auto III" and starting to run over virtual civilians with gleeful abandon, all from the comfort of a 4.3-inch HD screen with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels. And unlike past editions of Sony's gaming smartphones, the Xperia S had no slide-out control pad and instead integrated all controls for its games onto its touch screen.

As you'd expect for a phone focused on gaming, the Xperia S has a top-notch 1.5GHz dual core processor as well as HDMI connectivity. It currently runs on Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") and will get an upgrade to Android 4.0 in the near future.

4: The Motorola Droid 4

Remember the original Motorola Droid? Yeah, that was a pretty cool device way back in the long-forgotten days of late 2009.

It was also the very first Android-based device to run on the Verizon network and was the first true hit for Google's open-source operating system. It's less than three years later and we're already being treated to the fourth edition of the Droid, which features all of the top-notch specs that you'd expect from a modern smartphone: a 1.2GHz dual-processor, 4G LTE connectivity and an 8MP, 1080p HD still/video camera. And like just about every Android smartphone I've seen at CES this year, it runs on Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") with promises of a forthcoming upgrade to Android 4.0. The Droid 4 also works with Motorola's underappreciated webtop application that lets users dock their smartphones into their laptop docks and type text messages and emails sent through the phone on their home keyboard.

Another good thing about the Droid 4: Unlike the original, this edition features a very solid physical keyboard with distinctly embossed keys that makes typing on your smartphone a breeze. In all the Droid 4 is a fine addition to the brand and shouldn't disappoint fans of earlier models.

Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.

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