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YouTube footage of the first sneak peek at the 2013 Honda Accord.

With the intense competition in the mid-size category, we wonder if Honda can attain dominance again with its next Accord. If you look at what the other automakers have done or are planning, it seems to us that consumers’ eyes may stray, given the wealth of options they have available in this multimillion-dollar market.

Honda says the company “is back” with its 2013 Accord — but many experts say the automaker is playing it safe, hoping to capture buyers with the same design integrity that they have provided their consumers with for so long. Although some consumers may find that security appealing, Honda is being criticized for playing it safe considering the big changes that have occurred in the mid-sized market.

The changes that have been made to the new Accord are subtle, a more sculpted exterior that is smaller, and a more spacious interior. The 2013 Accord will also feature the Earth Dreams engine and transmission.

With many mid-sized competitors like Hyundai getting complete design overhauls, will Honda’s new design be able to compete for the top spot, or will they remain in the number two slot they are currently occupying?

So what do you prefer readers: A new, sleek and innovative design or the reliability associated with the brand?

Check out video of the new Honda Accord here.

Or for more in-depth coverage, you can see an AutoNews Now video report on the 2012 Accord and Honda’s new push for a comeback here.

The iPhone 4S, the most recent generation of the iPhone.Credit: Wikipedia.

Drivers are holding on to their cars longer than ever before, and consumers are doing the same for smartphones.

Part of this is due to people waiting for the next iPhone, but the other factor is the already high penetration rate, as in over 50 percent of Americans that have mobile phones own the “smart” variety. This makes the launch of the iPhone 5 (and all those apps) even more critical.

We all know Apple fans are anxiously awaiting the release of their latest model — the iPhone 4 is becoming ancient technology to the faithful Apple users.

According to a recent article from Reuters, the global smartphone industry is a lot more vulnerable to economic shocks these days than during the 2008-2009 financial crisis — if Apple’s weaker-than-expected most recent quarterly result is anything to go by.

Half of all consumers already own a smartphone in developed markets — and penetration rates are much lower in emerging markets, where cheaper phones costing less than $100 are hurting the profit margins of the smartphone giants.

Just look at those who are still using their dinosaur phones like the Envy 1 — lucky for them they could have an easier time joining the smartphone family. With Japanese brands such as LG and Samsung providing smartphones at a smaller cost, they have opened the market for people to get on the smartphone train (the 4G service provided with some of these phones doesn’t hurt either).

In this down economy, the smartphone industry has been able to take the world by storm, but with the market for new phones in a downward trend, what brands will provide the most advanced technology to survive? Only time will tell.

Check out the full Reuters article on the smartphone wars below:

Analysis: Apple Sounds Warning Bell for Smartphone Industry