The past few years have seen a frenzy of phone launches. Some have gone on to taste success while others have petered out after the initial flash. Yet, next year does hold some excitement, with various innovations planned. Close Voice looks at the most-anticipated launches and their rumoured details:
1. Apple iPhone 7/ iPhone 7 Plus/iPhone 6C
When it comes to Apple, there’s no end to speculation. The iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus are the annual releases expected in September. If rumours are to be believed, both would feature upgraded hardware (zippier processor, more RAM etc.), a new headphone connector, a bigger and better screen and water-proofing. Before that, the iPhone 6C might debut, to replace the 5C, with the features of the 5S, along with support for Apple Pay, and colourful models in metal.
2. LG G5
LG’s flagship for 2016 is rumoured to feature a 4K display, the company’s payment service, a 20-megapixel (MP) camera and – hold your breath – an iris scanner! The phone manufacturer is reportedly partnering with Irience, which apparently specialises in this technology. The phone is expected to feature the Snapdragon 820 processor running at 3Ghz and have a removable 4,000 mAh battery.
3. HTC One M10
Every year, around the time of the Mobile World Congress, HTC unveils its flagship device. Next year, it is expected the flagship will come with a 4K ultra high definition display, a 3,500 mAh battery, a Snapdragon 820 processor and a USB Type-C connector. An improved camera is also expected.
4. Google’s Project Ara
It’s a lot like Lego; you take specific blocks to build your perfect smartphone, which can be upgraded by just swapping out a component. Google’s concept of a modular smartphone has the potential to revolutionise the sector. One can essentially swap in a module according to one’s usage (say I want more storage but not a camera in office) onto a fixed frame. Since everything would be swappable, one can build customised configurations. This would, hopefully, hit some markets by the end of 2016.
5. NextBit Robin
This phone, which made its debut on Kickstarter, will be a boon for all who keep running out of space on their phones. The phone would sport 32GB of storage space but would automatically upload to the cloud photos, videos and even rarely used apps! All this it does automatically, for example when you’re charging the phone at home. And don’t worry, whenever you want that app back, it’ll be restored seamlessly. The phone comes with cloud storage of 100GB. While we’re not sure if the phone will come to India ever, but if it did, many wouldn’t hesitate to fork out $399, the phone’s retail price.
6. Xiaomi Mi5
Recent leaks suggest the Chinese firm’s latest flagship would be powered by the Snapdragon 820 processor, have 4GB of RAM, USB Type-C connector, a fingerprint scanner-cum-home button and a five-inch screen. The phone would sport a 16MP primary shooter, an 8MP selfie-cam and run the MIUI OS based on Android Marshmallow, rumours say. It will have a metal body.
7. Microsoft Surface Phone
Wired recently revealed that Microsoft was working on a new phone. The Surface phone is rumoured to be powered by a 64-bit Intel processor and might run an updated Windows 10. The phone could reportedly sport a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a 21-megapixel (MP) primary and an 8MP secondary camera, as online reports say. This device, too, might feature a USB Type-C connector. Would this mean the demise of the Lumia line? That’s one question we can answer only next year.
8. Sony Xperia Z6
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium had a 4K display, besides bells and whistles such as a fingerprint scanner and a big battery. In the Z6, what will be of interest is the type of camera Sony packs in, since cameras for most flagship phones are sourced from the Japanese giant. Sony will definitely try to be back with a bang.
9. BlackBerry Vienna/Venice
BlackBerry announced the Priv, its first handset running Android, late this year. Now there are rumours of more Android devices – the Vienna, a candybar phone with a physical keyboard; and the Venice, a slider with flagship specifications. According to Pocket-lint, the Vienna looks a lot like the BlackBerry Leap, the entry-level device, and thus the Vienna is expected to be cheaper than the Priv. A video which appeared online shows glimpses of what is believed to be the Venice, rumoured to sport a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, 5.4-inch AMOLED screen and an 18MP fast focus primary camera with OIS. The rear camera would be 5MP.
10. Samsung Galaxy S7 /Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The S6 range this year finally featured builds in metal. Samsung is likely to stick to the tried-and-tested formula next year; of course there will be upgrades – the S7 range could feature the Snapdragon 820 processor running at 3Ghz, truckloads of RAM (one hopes it’s more than 4GB) and a better graphics processor. The brilliant AMOLED display, the heartbeat monitor and the fingerprint scanner would be carried over from the S6. And yes, the S7 would come with Android Marshmallow.