Apple may have owned 2010, but this year is definitely going to be all about Android.
If those amazing 38 per cent market share projections prove accurate, iPhone will be cowering in the rubble while a giant green robot strides through cities zapping eager mobile shoppers with Honeycomb and Ice-cream flavoured joy rays.
With stiffer competition from the likes of Amazon, Google should hopefully start lavishing a little more care on its ramshackle Android Market.
In turn, this should entice more major publishers to release triple-A games on the platform, pushing out the legions of Megan Fox screensaver shovelware apps at the same time.
But the big question remains: which upcoming Android handset will you pick to support the war effort against Apple and – more importantly – which is the best for gaming?
Well, look no further, as Pocket Gamer gazes into its liquid crystal ball to choose the ten most exciting new handsets. From dual-core powerhouses to budget beauties, we’ve got something for every wallet size.
Samsung Galaxy S II (May)
With a May 1st release so close you can almost smell the delivery crates (if that appeals), Samsung’s impeccable incremental update to its coveted Galaxy S phone should set a new benchmark for Android.
Rumoured and then confirmed, under the hood the S II boasts an upgraded 1.2GHz dual-core processor and a suspected Imagination Technology-designed SGX GPU (currently seen strutting around in the iPad 2) to pep up your daily gaming.
The Super AMOLED Plus screen also debuts on the device, promising pin sharp, warm colours whatever you’re playing, and there’s a 1080p/8-megapixel camera should interesting things occur away from the screen.
Gingerbread is baked in and a (not at all similar to Windows Phone 7’s Live Tiles) ‘Live Panel’ offers constant updates to social networks and quick links to favourite apps and games.
Motorola Atrix (May/June)
Already available in the States, the Motorola Atrix is due to land in Europe any day now and offers the “revolutionary” webtop application, designed to provide a smooth link to your desktop computer via the ‘cloud’.
It sounds ideal for business folk, or indeed anyone wanting to edit documents on the go. But that’s enough work nonsense - what about those vital gaming features?
With a dual-core 1GHz processor and an ultra fast 16GB SSD hard-drive on board, the Atrix is no slouch for gaming in the basic power stakes.
Disappointingly, it only comes with Android 2.2 (Froyo) but a Gingerbread update is apparently not too far off.
HTC Sensation (June)
While you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Sensation for the Desire S in aesthetic terms, HTC’s newest addition has a little more power under the bonnet.
A direct rival to the S II and LG’s Optimus 2X, the Sensation packs a meaty 1.2GHz dual-core processor that makes it ideal for power-hungry cutting edge games.
It’s also showing off a Desire HD-sized, 4.3 inch qHD screen and comes with Sense UI, the critically adored Android skin that really makes the iPhone’s endless icons look tired and clunky.
LG Optimus 3D (May)
Glasses-free 3D in your pocket and games that won’t cost the £30 (or have to be carried around on stacks of separate carts). Could LG’s cutting edge mobile really be a Nintendo 3DS beater?
To be fair, you’re unlikely to find Mario begging for gold coins in the gutter any time soon, but you have to hand it to LG for going one step/dimension beyond its competitors with this 1GHz dual-core device.
The Desire HD-sized 4.3-inch screen is the star of the show. Working on similar technology to Nintendo’s hit new handheld, the Optimus 3D promises to add real ‘depth’ to your games and home movies (with a built-in HD 3D camera).
HTC EVO 3D (summer)
Not letting LG gain too much ground in the 3D market, HTC has already announced launch plans for its own futuristic handset – the EVO 3D.
Packing a dual core 1.2GHz processor, a Desire HD-sized 4.3-inch screen and Gingerbread on board, the phone is a solid gaming device even before you factor in the glasses-free extra dimension.
Like the Optimus model above, you can film your own 3D movies via dual 5-megapixel cameras and there’s a powerful 1730mAh battery to keep the device from conking out during the day.
It’s coming to the US this summer through Sprint, with the added bonus of a high-speed 4G wireless connection. No UK version has been announced yet, but we expect a re-jigged handset (minus the 4G) to be unveiled soon enough.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo (July)
While the Xperia Play is currently hogging the gaming limelight thanks to its physical pad and Sony branding, the next big (gangsta slang alert) 'playa' in the range is the elegant Neo.
It’s got a curvy back and rounded chassis that, in the wrong hands, could sound like the last listing in a Lonely Hearts ad but the stylish range of red, silver, and navy colours should make this a real head turner.
Gamers may be disappointed by the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, but this is a phone built around multimedia entertainment, with an HDMI-out port, a bright 3.7-inch screen, and a sizeable 8-megapixel camera nestled in that rounded posterior.
Samsung Galaxy S II mini (May)
The clue is in the name with this one. Samsung’s little brother is chip of the Galaxy’s bigger block, with a reasonable sized 3.7-inch touch screen and an 800x480-pixel resolution.
A 1.4GHz single-core processor won’t relish forthcoming high end games, but the Galaxy Mini should run most current titles without a hitch.
It’ll also make less of a dent in both your pocket, and your wallet, than the full fat Galaxy S II.
ZTE Skate (June/July)
If you don’t look too closely, the Skate is a dead ringer for HTC’s lauded Desire HD, thanks to its matching 4.3-inch screen.
The devil is in the details, though, as, unlike its more expensive cousin, the Skate only packs an 800MHz processor and a lower res (800x480-pixel) display.
Still, with Gingerbread baked in it’s a viable alternative to the high end smart phones – even if it’s not as future-proof for gaming.
HTC Wildfire S (May)
Following in the Desire’s footsteps, the Wildfire is the next HTC handset to get the ‘S’ treatment.
Essentially, this is a few nips and tucks inside the case and removal of any, unsightly, physical buttons on the front.
With the Wildfire, though, the S version gives HTC a chance to fix the biggest flaw of its older brother: the low-res screen.
The 3.2-inch screen is still a bit small for serious handheld gaming, but the resolution boost from 240x320 to 320x480 is a massive plus – especially as many Android apps don’t support that few a pixels.
HTC ChaCha (June)
A bit out of left field, this one, but we think the castanet-clacking ChaCha is a secret weapon for office workers trying to convince bosses to go Android.
With its built-in QWERTY keyboard, the ChaCha has the business appeal of a BlackBerry but with Gingerbread goodness baked in.
The touchscreen is a teensy 2.6-inches but packs 480x320 pixels in for pin-sharp measure, so playing undemanding puzzle-type games will definitely be possible.
Let us know which Android you’ve got your eye on in the comments below.