2016 was a big year for smartphones. Not only did all the major players in the industry grace the world with exemplary flagships, but even some of the lesser known brands earned significant recognition for their remarkable devices.
Now that we’ve scratched the surface of 2017, however, it makes sense to look forward. The gadgets we loved so much last year are already itchy in our pockets, begging to be upgraded, and many owners of high-end smartphones can hardly wait to see what their favorite companies have in store.
Below are the three most eagerly awaited smartphone releases this year.
1: Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus
We’re all used to the most anticipated devices having one or two cutting-edge features we can’t wait to try. But although Samsung’s upcoming flagships have a few new pleasantries – an iris scanner, Bixby virtual assistance and perhaps even a dual-sensor rear camera – the reason they’re at the top of this list has a lot to do with Note 7’s unfortunate ordeal last year.
Samsung has a lot riding on the success of the S8, and the world knows it. Many are seeing it as the tech giant’s stairway to regaining its lost glory. It’s a device that, put simply, cannot fail.
According to preliminary reports, the S8 and S8 Plus will be a blend of its “Edge” and standard models, and the only difference between the two phones will be the size. Leaked images also show the omission of the Home button, with the fingerprint scanner moved to the back panel to pave the way for a futuristic, almost bezel-less display.
Besides the drastic change, the design is expected to remain roughly the same. Internally, however, things should get interesting, as Samsung says its upcoming flagships will be the first to feature Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 CPU. Presently, nothing much can be said about what this new chip has to offer, other than being based on the new 10-nanometer design, which reduces its size and power consumption, while improving performance all around.
Samsung is set to announce the devices on March 29th, which will be a month later than previous releases. It could be that the company is taking the time to run every test possible and ensure the S8 and S8 Plus are as close to perfect as they can get.
2: iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
Later this year, the iPhone will be 10 years old, and we expect Apple to go big. If anything, the subtle upgrades that came with the iPhone 7 are an indication that the company is saving the best for 2017. The excitement surrounding the upcoming devices is, therefore, justifiable; because going by all the signs so far, the iPhone 8 will be the most radical new iPhone the world has seen to date.
We may still be far from the presumed September/October release, but rumors are already flooding in. First, and perhaps most interesting, is the drastic redesign. Apparently, Apple is working on an edge-to-edge display that eliminates the top and bottom bezels and embeds the Touch ID scanner and the front camera directly into the screen.
The upcoming iPhones are also said to feature wireless charging and added biometrics like facial recognition and iris scanning.
What is certain, however, is that the devices will run Apple’s next-generation mobile processor: The A11 Fusion. Like the new Snapdragon 835, which will power most upcoming top-range Android smartphones, the A11 will see a transition to 10-nanometer technology.
The A10 has been king of the mobile CPUs since it was unveiled, and although Qualcomm’s new offering will take the crown for a while, we’re expecting the A11 to have regained Apple’s number one position by the end of the year.
3: Google Pixel 2
The Pixel and Pixel XL marked Google’s first real entry into the smartphone business. They were outstanding devices that raised the bar high in both hardware and software.
It’s only been a few months and, already, the suspense regarding Google’s next smartphone release is overwhelming. The search engine giant went to great lengths to come up with what was arguably the best Android smartphone of 2016, and this year, we’re bound to see an even bolder addition into the new Pixel line.
Google is said to be sticking to HTC as their chief manufacturer, so we can safely assume the phone won’t feature any drastic design changes. However, the latest reports suggest several key hardware improvements.
For starters, the Pixel 2 is expected to pack a Snapdragon 835 CPU and 6GB of RAM. The display’s resolution will also be bumped up to QHD, which will be particularly important considering Google’s virtual reality ambitions with the Daydream View.
Besides the hardware, and perhaps the main reason for the anticipation is the upcoming Android O. Google will likely out the new mobile OS at its I/O 2017 developers conference in May, and allow for a few months of testing and beta releases before unveiling the final version with the Pixel 2 in October.
We can hardly wait to see what new features Android O will bring
The world may have most of its attention focused on the devices above, but several other phone makers also have great handsets lined up.
For instance, OnePlus fans will be delighted to learn that the OnePlus 4 is set for release later in the year, and as rumor has it, it will come with a whopping 8GB of RAM.
Another exciting gadget is the Microsoft Surface Phone, and if recent reports are accurate, we could see Windows 10 Mobile get at least a little closer to challenging the mainstream smartphone platforms.
All in all, this will be a great year for us smartphone enthusiasts.