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Should You Wait on Buying Android's Best 4G Smartphone?

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Decisions, decisions.

Used to be that only iPhone and iPod users complained about the annual upgrades to their devices. They'd buy what they thought was the top-of-the-line device, only to see Cupertino release one that much better a year later. Not only frustrating to early adopters, it's downright confusing to those who don't know whether to buy the current gadget or wait for the subsequent generation down the line.

And that confusion and frustration has plagued Android users tenfold.

As opposed to Apple's annual upgrades, Android devices -- spread across multiple manufacturers and carriers -- seemingly have a new champion released every couple of months. And even then, it's debatable. As it stands, the reigning champ could arguably be the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint, the Motorola Droid X on Verizon, or the Motorola Atrix 4G on AT&T. Then again, some will say that, after over a year, the Google Nexus is still the Android elite.

But many will claim, starting tomorrow, Android will have a new king: the HTC Thunderbolt.

Verizon's first 4G smartphone, the long-awaited Thunderbolt is finally seeing a release tomorrow. With a two-year contract, the Thunderbolt will run $250 -- or $200 if you buy from the online retailer Wirefly. Featuring a 4.3-inch touchscreen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 40GB of total storage, 8MP camera with dual-LED flash, and 720p video recording -- as well as a glowing review from Wirefly -- this could very well be the phone to beat.

But don't pull out your wallet just yet. PCWorld's JR Raphael warns potential buyers there could be yet another 4G smartphone king in the coming months: the Motorola Droid Bionic. Raphael writes:

"[The] Droid Bionic -- set to launch sometime in the second quarter of this year -- comes out ahead in a few noteworthy measures: The Bionic runs a dual-core 1GHz processor. That distinction, also present in Android tablets like the new Motorola Xoom, makes a big difference when it comes to multitasking and resource-intensive applications. The Bionic one-ups the Thunderbolt with its HDMI output, too, as well as its higher resolution display, at 540-by-960 pixels in the same 4.3-inch size."

However, the Thunderbolt does boast more RAM than the Bionic -- 768MB, compared to 512MB. And those who are into video conferencing should take a second look at the Thunderbolt: the front-facing camera is 1.3MP -- much higher than Bionic's 0.3MP camera.

While the Bionic has the potential one-up the Thunderbolt's storage -- 48GB, 16GB internal and 32GB external -- it's not yet known whether Motorola will include a 32GB SD card like HTC.

Then there's the question of Android skins. Depending on your preference toward HTC's Sense UI or Motorola's Motoblur skin, that could influence your choice as well.

And we also have no idea what the Bionic will eventually cost.

Between the two, Raphael opts for the Bionic for its dual-core processor, Motorola's hardware design, and his preference to the "less invasive" Motoblur skin -- though he acknowledges that some users swear by the Sense UI.

As for me, I tend to wait for the litany of reviews from tech blogs, then a few extra months for any unforeseen bugs and glitches to pop up. If none do -- and whether I'm able to get out of my Motorola Droid contract prior to this November -- I'll make a decision.

But of course, I'll have to weigh that against the even better device down the pike.

(See also: One in Eight iPhone Users Are on Verizon and Verizon Launches HTC Thunderbolt This Thursday!)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.