It is that time of year again when we start to feel a letdown – Samsung has introduced their new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, LG has taken the wraps off its new LG G5, and even HTC just announced their newest flagship, the HTC 10. The excitement was in the air, and anticipation was running high, but now, the candles have been blown out, the cake cut, and now it feels like 'cleanup' time and another year wait for the next party. What makes matters worse is that it is not even the end of April – we still have eight more months to go in 2016 – what do we have to look forward to in the way of smartphones? The truth of the matter is, we have plenty of new Android devices to look forward to purchasing. In fact, if you are in the market for a new smartphone – and can only buy a new one every 2-3 years – then you are probably better off waiting until closer to the end of the year when you can access all of your options. Let us look at a few of the upcoming smartphones and discuss what features we would like to see on them and what to expect.
One of the hottest new smartphones coming our way this fall has to be the new Nexus model(s) – we say that because Google blew us away last September when they introduced two Nexus models, the lower-end Google Nexus 5X, and the high-end Huawei Nexus 6P. This was a great idea that allowed Nexus purchasers to choose a device based on their price range and desired features. The two devices were well received, but it is not known at this time whether Google will do the same thing this year or simply offer one model running the new Android 'N,' which is only out as a Developer Preview version.
No one knows for sure which manufacturer will get the nod to produce the upcoming Nexus device(s). Google looked to HTC for the very first Nexus One in 2010, but has since used Samsung, LG (3 times), Motorola, and Huawei – rumors have it that LG is not interested and that HTC may once again produce this year's Nexus smartphone. It is hard to deny the popularity of Huawei's Nexus 6P so that we could be looking at another year with two Nexus devices. Other than running the latest Android 'N,' not much is known about its features other than it may incorporate some 3D Touch features.
Galaxy Note 6
The next big thing from Samsung has to be the new Galaxy Note 6 and possibly a Galaxy Note Edge (we can only hope). Rumors are that Samsung may introduce it as early as July, which would make more sense before the Snapdragon 820 gets too 'old.' Samsung may use its Exynos 8890 octa-core or an enhanced Snapdragon 820, the Snapdragon 823. Rumors are also floating around that the Note 6 will pack 6GB of RAM, and common sense tells us that the new Note will gain back its expandable memory and share the IP68 dust and water resistant rating as well. Look for the new Dual Pixel 12MP camera setup used on the current Galaxy S7/S7 Edge. There is also talk that the display will finally increase to a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED QHD display. Of course, Samsung will improve the S-Pen and software as they always do each year. With the absence of the Galaxy S7 Edge Plus model, some say this could open the door for another Note Edge version, but so far these are strictly rumors.
If you are a Moto X flagship fan, you must be wondering, what the next generation will look like and bring to the party as far as specifications. The Chinese company, Lenovo, who purchased it from Google, owns Motorola Mobility. It will be fascinating to see their influence on the next Moto X. Lenovo has already stated that the new models (Moto G, Moto E and Moto X) will have a fingerprint sensor – which makes sense with Android Pay starting to branch out. However, beyond that, little is known about the new Moto X – there was 5-inch Moto X3 listed on the web, but it is more likely that Lenovo will stick around the 5.7-inch display used on the current Moto X Pure Edition (also known as Style outside the US.) Hopes are high that the Moto Maker will still be an option for the Moto X, allowing the user to customize and differentiate their device from other smartphones. It was last July when Motorola announced the new Moto X, so expect some leaks over the next couple of months. Lenovo has the cash to spend on the Moto brand, so we are hoping to see something special for this year's Moto X flagship.
LG V10 (2nd Gen)
While the new LG G5 is already on the market with its modular design and Snapdragon 820 chipset, let us not forget about LG's 'V' series released last year – the LG V10. Rumors are that its successor will make its appearance later in 2016, possibly using the first ever LG chipset – the NUCLUN 2, which is manufactured based on Intel's 14nm process and TSMC's 16nm FinFET node. The leak detailed one quad-core Cortex-A72 running 2.1GHz and one quad-core Cortex-A53 running at 1.5GHz and incorporating Intel's cellular modem for blazing fast connectivity speeds.
When the LG V10 was released in October 2015, many were wondering what LG was thinking – an all-metal device with a dual display and great camera setup…is this replacing the LG 'G' series as their new flagship? Just this month, LG released an all-metal LG G5 with modular inserts, and we are back to wondering where the LG V10 (second gen) will fit into their mix. The new LG V10 will most likely not use the modules, will stay all stainless steel, keep the 5.7-inch QHD display, but use the new LG chipset with 4GB of RAM and expandable memory. Will it keep the dual display or switch to an 'always-on' display and will it keep its current camera setup of dual 5MP front-facing cameras or switch to the LG G5's setup? It should be very interesting to see how LG handles this new model.
OnePlus has confirmed that they will announce their next flagship in June, which means availability in July. It will most certainly be called the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus assures us it will sport a new design. The display will most likely stay around 5.5-inches and use an FHD resolution to keep the costs down. We hope that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 will power the OnePlus 3 and come with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage – we doubt OnePlus will add any expandable storage. If OnePlus wants the OnePlus 3 to be widely accepted in the US, it should come, at a minimum, with an NFC chip to complement the fingerprint sensor. OnePlus will most likely try to keep the price around $350 unlocked – once again, offering high quality at an affordable price.
There is a reason for continuing excitement as mid-year approaches, and while no new earth shattering processors will be released, the smartphones themselves offer reason enough to look forward to the rest of 2016. A new Galaxy Note or Note Edge, the new Nexus device(s) and new Motos from Lenovo are all reasons to celebrate.