In a rapidly-evolving consumer electronics industry, smartphones trend extensively. As we move on from the New Year celebrations, there are speculations and rumors doing rounds about the most popular smartphone set to be announced this year. The craze around the core technologies that lace all the major players of the industry is coupled with the hype around other unique features on these flagships. This pushes the major smartphone manufacturers to practice expeditious experimentation. That helps them to come up with products with high quality, which can help them survive the tough competition.
While there are some clear winners, there are multiple other smartphones that enter the market every year, particularly from China. We will however, talk about the most decorated features of the most anticipated smartphones of 2017. Planning an upgrade? Read on.
In 2016, LG announced another one of its flagship smartphone – the G5. It wasn’t quite the victor LG would have liked it to be. However, it raised the standards of smartphone performance substantially. In 2017, LG is set to release the next in series, G6. It is expected to have an unusually tall aspect ratio of 18:9. Sized at 5.7 inches, the LCD screen with QHD+ resolution will most likely redefine ones’ experiences of watching widescreen content. The new screen will employ LG’s in-Touch technology. This helps the manufacturer to discard the usual touch cover glass used to make finger touches more accurate and responsive. The thickness of the same will be just 1mm, implying more space for bigger and better components behind the screen.
More importantly, an unusual amount of attention has been placed on trimming away the bezels. Improved power consumption and an impressive design of curved display corners will definitely collect some extra brownie points. LG plans to design the phone in glass and metal completely, thus doing away with the not-so-pleasant plastic parts of the previous LG flagship phones. However a couple of design features like the center-mounted fingerprint sensor and the dual-camera system are supposed to trickle down from LG G5, keeping the rear-design the same.
The G6 will most definitely feature the latest Android OS build, along with UX 6.0, LG’s proprietary layer on top, to increase multi-tasking capabilities. An enhanced camera software splits the screen into two identical squares to enable users to click 1:1 images and view them simultaneously in the adjacent window. Other features that accentuate LG G6 would be the iris sensor and a wide-angle sensor, like its predecessor. What LG meant by an all-in-one’ front-facing camera will be clear only on 26th February when the phone will be launched.
The LG G6 teaser hints at an intelligent assistant that will be on-board. However, it is not confirmed whether it will be Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. It could very well be a combination of both.
The headphone jack stays intact, the battery is expected to have a higher or equal capacity of 2800 mAH that featured in LG G5 and a Quad DAC (first introduced in V20) is supposedly going to contribute to an improved sound quality. LG G6 might do away with the removable battery to accommodate a more modular design. We expect the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip and at least a 4 GB RAM to form the processing core of the smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus
The South Korean manufacturer has delivered multiple flagship smartphones under its S-series since the year 2010. After successful Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge performances, Samsung is set to release the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus tentatively in March 2017. They will inherit the curved edge from Galaxy S7 and will come in 2 sizes: S8 at 5.7 inches and S8 Plus at 6.2 inches. A 4k AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2160 x 3840 will facilitate VR on these new smartphones.
The S8 is rumored to be the first smartphone to feature the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. However, there are rumors doing rounds that Samsung’s next flagship smartphone might feature 2 different processors depending on the geographical location of its sale. The Galaxy S8 is expected to incorporate the highly efficient Exynos 8895 in the other variant. Both the processors will have a 10-nanometer fabrication and will be approximately 11 per cent faster than their predecessor. This will be coupled with better power consumption efficiency and advanced graphics processing.
Galaxy S8 should include 4GB of RAM, 64GB of entry-level internal storage and a 256GB-capable microSD slot as features from its predecessor, the S7. It will employ a USB-C charging port and a standard 3.5-millimeter jack. Laced with a virtual search feature, the rear 12-megapixel camera will enable algorithms like OCR on photographed text. The 8-megapixel selfie camera on the other hand will be enhanced with an iris-scanning capability.
Fuelled by Android’s latest version overlaid with TouchWiz on top will provide its users a smooth Android experience. Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus may also run Bixby (powered by Viv) as a personal assistant.
The Ocean is expected to feature an iconic design with a pretty full metal body and chamfered edges. HTC could be leading towards button-less smartphone world with its next flagship phone. The leaked video suggests that HTC 11 will be incorporated with a brand new ‘Sense Touch’ UI that relies solely on voice commands and touch gestures.
It is predicted that HTC Ocean will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and is expected to have at least 4GB of RAM and storage space starting from 64GB. Other features include USonic Hi-Res USB Type-C headphones and the BoomSound speakers coupled with the auto-tuning feature for advanced sound quality.
It is likely that HTC 11 will feature rounded edges and a 5.5-inch screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. A highlight of the HTC flagship phone will be its compatibility with Google’s new VR platform Daydream. Owing to this fact, HTC will opt for an AMOLED screen to facilitate Daydream apps. It’ll run Nougat, and will include another Google Assistant, coupled with HTC Sense Companion.
Given the fact that HTC has not had a very successful history with cameras, it might be trying to recover with a powerful 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera, the same as the Google Pixel.
Slated for a launch date in early-2017, HTC’s next flagship smarphone will launch amidst considerable hype. Whether it is worthy of it, only time will tell.
The year 2017 will mark the 10th birthday of the original iPhone. The spec sheet on Apple’s next smartphone will be way ahead of the milestones it had first covered in the year 2007. We’re guessing the release date will remain the same – the first week of September. Although an all-glass model is being speculated, one should expect a ceramic-finished design for the anniversary version.
The display is expected to take up the major part of the area and the home button will be replaced by a virtual home button. The multiple functionalities of the virtual home button will be replaced with 3D Touch gestures. No other details are confirmed yet but, it is expected that Apple will upgrade the display its resolution on an AMOLED screen for the 2017 model.
In addition, the iPhone 8 might include a facial recognition feature to add another layer of security to the smartphone. Being launched as a 2-phone series, both iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are expected to have dual cameras, with the main camera featuring an optical image stabilization and a quad-LED True Tone flash.
There will be iOS 11 of course, and support for ‘mixed reality’. Lastly, Apple will most likely go the wireless way by retaining the cordless earplugs as in iPhone 7 and by introducing wireless charging in iPhone 8.
Sony Xperia X2
It is speculated that Sony will be launching a range of 5 smartphones in 2017. However, its flagship smartphone, which will most likely be named Xperia X2 is slated for release on the 27th of February, this year.
The design will be based on the conventional Xperia flat-slabbed phone design or the OmniBalance design. One would expect the signature Xperia features, a side power button with a built-in fingerprint sensor too. Rumors suggest that the new Sony Xperia devices will come in a 5-inch or 5.2-inch Full HD display and a larger 5.5-inch 4K display.
Sony has always played a strong game when it comes to cameras. Rumors suggest the presence of a Sony IMX 400 camera sensor in 2 of the 5 smartphones to be launched.
As per the trend, Sony’s flagship will be fueled by Snapdragon’s latest processor. Other expected hardware features include at least 32GB of internal storage, microSD support and around a 3000mAh battery.
Details about the underlying software are still unclear. However, with several reports flying around, we’re probably going to see Nougat with Sony’s software overlaid on it.
The smartphone race is on…
These smartphones have cutting-edge technologies and spectacular designs to offer. However, the final verdict about how they fare this year can only be passed once they are out in the market.