The biggest smartphone launches of 2016, such as iPhone 7, Moto Z and OnePlus 3, are over and done with, but that doesn't mean there are no more great smartphones you can look forward to this year and the early part of 2017. The rumour mill continues to dish out details about the upcoming smartphones by brands such as Motorola, HTC, Xiaomi, and so on, while next year's flagship models have are in the news too. Here's a look at the nine upcoming smartphones you should be most excited about.
1. Xiaomi Redmi 4
Done with its top-end Mi 5s, Mi 5s Plus, Mi Note 2 and Mi MIX, Xiaomi's next major launch is the entry-level Redmi 4 smartphone. Set to release on November 4, Redmi 4, whose images have leaked via Chinese certification agency Tenaa, is said to have the same 5-inch screen size of Redmi 3s and 3s Plus, but display resolution is likely to be full-HD (1080x1920 pixels) instead of 720p.
Xiaomi Redmi 4 is also rumoured to get a processor upgrade, from Snapdragon 430 to Snapdragon 625; 32GB internal storage, up to 256GB microSD card support, and 3GB RAM are expected to be the standard configuration. On the back is said to be a 13-megapixel camera, while the front camera is expected to have 5-megapixel resolution. Other key features of Xiaomi Redmi 4 are said to be Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based MIUI 8 software, 4100mAh battery, and fingerprint sensor on the back.
2. Nokia's Android phones
The upcoming Android smartphones by Nokia are among the most anticipated launches in the tech world. The Finnish company is rumoured to unveil two top-end smartphones early next year, probably around Mobile World Congress at Barcelona in February next year; while one of the models is tipped to come with a 5.2-inch display, the other is said to have a 5.5-inch panel, both with 2K (1440x2560 pixels) resolution and OLED screens.
Both upcoming Nokia Android smartphones are said to have a metallic body with water- and dust-resistance (IP68), and fingerprint sensor on the back; the fingerprint sensor is rumoured to be "the most sensitive ever" courtesy the company's research on graphene. On the software side, the company is said to be using the Z Launcher UI, which we have previously seen on the Nokia N1 tablet.
3. Moto M
Lenovo-owned Motorola is expected to unveil the Moto M mid-range phablet in December this year, likely as an upgrade to last year's Moto X Play. Moto M specifications registered with Chinese certification agency TENNA showed that the smartphone has a 5.5-inch screen and 3000mAh battery and dual-SIM support. Other reports say that the smartphone will have full HD (1080x1920 pixel) resolution, Snapdragon 625 processor or Mediatek Helio P10, Android 7.0 Nougat operating system, and a metallic body. The handset is supposed to come in two variants: with 32GB storage and 3GB RAM, and 64GB storage and 4GB RAM.
4. Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8 is another smartphone that has leaked quite a lot over the past few months; in fact, even a company official has teased the key features of the next flagship. Rumour mill suggests that the smartphone will have a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 4K resolution (2160x3840 pixels), the in-house Exynos 8895 SoC, 6GB of RAM, dual camera setup at the back (16-megapixel and 8-megapixel), optical fingerprint sensor, and an AI-powered digital voice assistant.
Lee Kyeong-tae, Samsung's Vice President for Mobile Communications, has teased the slick design of the smartphone, suggesting that the new model will come with an overhauled design. The AI-powered virtual assistant also gets a mention in his comments, as did the "improved camera." This is one of the rare instances of an official from a smartphone maker of Samsung's stature giving away the features of an upcoming flagship, but not very surprising since the Galaxy S8 will be the first major model for the company since the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7.
5. iPhone 8
The launch of Apple iPhone 8 is a long way off, but that hasn't kept the rumour mill from churning out reports claiming that next year's model will be the biggest upgrade to the iPhone range we have seen since the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. For the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone's launch, Apple is said to be preparing a complete design overhaul and bringing in a glass body and OLED display panel. Another major change fans can look forward to is the integration of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor right into the touchscreen. Wireless charging, eye or facial scanning to unlock the device, and a faster processor are other rumoured features on the iPhone 8.
However, some reports say that the all-glass design with OLED screen and integrated fingerprint scanner will be available only in the top model of iPhone 8. This means that the base model may continue with the old iPhone design that we are used to.
6. OnePlus 3T
OnePlus 3T, expected to be launched in December, is an upgrade to the OnePlus 3 that we did not expect to get. The upcoming smartphone is rumoured to run on the Snapdragon 821 chipset and Android 7.0 Nougat-based Oxygen OS straight out of the box. On the other hand, the current flagship OnePlus 3 has the Snapdragon 820 SoC under the hood and Oxygen OS based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Fans can also expect the new Sony IMX398 sensor in the new smartphone's camera; the OnePlus 3 sports the Sony IMX298 sensor.
The word on the street is that the company is ditching the Optic OLED screen of the OnePlus 3 in favour of LCD panels with the 3T, but that may be false since CEO Carl Pei had recently confirmed that the company would continue to use Optic OLED panels in the anticipated future.
A report says that the new OnePlus 3T will cost $479, making it $80 more expensive than the company's existing flagship model.
7. Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017), expected to be launched in December this year or early next year, is said to sport a design very similar to that of the Galaxy S7. Leaked details suggest that the smartphone will have a 5.2-inch display, Exynos 7880 octa-core processor (four 1.87GHz cores + four 1.3 GHz cores), 3GB RAM, and microSD card support. The smartphone will also have a USB Type C connector, side-mounted speakers, 7.8mm thickness, and battery capacity around 3000mAh. The body Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) is said to be made of glass, and the operating system based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
8. HTC Bolt
The long-rumoured HTC Bolt is widely expected to be launched in November. The Android 7.0-powered Bolt will be among the small band of smartphones with a taste of Nougat out-of-the-box; however, buyers will miss out on the 3.5mm earphone jack with this handset.
HTC Bolt sports a 5.5-inch screen with full HD (1080x1920 pixel) resolution, 64GB built-in storage, and microSD card support for expansion, and 3GB of RAM. The smartphone comes with HTC's BoomSound audio enhancement for earphones, a fingerprint scanner below the screen, and a USB Type-C port. For imaging, the Bolt smartphone has an 18-megapixel with f/2.0 aperture and 4K video recording on the back, and an 8-megapixel selfie-shooter in front.
9. Meizu Pro 6s
Meizu Pro 6s, a variant of the company's Pro 6 smartphone, has been spotted a number of times on benchmarking apps as well as certification agency databases and Weibo. The smartphone is likely to have a 5.2-inch display with full-HD resolution, Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based custom software, MediaTek Helio X25 SoC, 32GB internal storage, 4GB of RAM, a 21-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera. While the battery capacity is not yet known, the company is expected to use the proprietary MCharge fast-charging technology in the smartphone.
The Meizu Pro 6s will be quite similar to the Pro 6 in design, according to company Vice President Li Nan. It is expected that the smartphone will feature the 3D Press display, which works similar to Apple's 3D Touch on iPhone 6s and beyond.
10. Vivo X9
Scheduled to hit the market in mid-November, Vivo X9 is expected to have a dual-camera setup (20-megapixel + 8-megapixel) in front. The smartphone is also rumoured to come in two variants: 4GB of RAM and 6GB of RAM, with yet unknown storage options. It is said to have thin bezels on the side, a hardware Home button below the display, and USB Type-C for charging. Along with the X9, Vivo is said to be working on X9 Plus, which sports a bigger screen.