The mobile industry continues to evolve as we rush through 2016. We have seen exciting handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5 and HTC 10 emerge, but the fun isn’t even halfway done. There are more than 6 months left in the year and plenty of great handsets are awaiting their launch.
In this article we aim to highlight the most action-packed phones coming to the market in the near future. We have smartphones from all price ranges listed, so there is something for everybody here. Shall we get started?
Google’s 2016 Nexus devices
Undoubtedly, Nexus devices are among the most anticipated each year. Do you remember how crazy the Nexus rumors used to get? Sadly, this year seems to be the exception, as we haven’t heard much of what is to come next from Google. The only murmur going around is that HTC might be making a couple Nexus models this year.
These are expected to launch with Android N, which you can learn all about by reading our ‘Diving into Android N‘ series. Nexus smartphones are usually announced later in the year; around September or October.
Samsung Galaxy Note 6
While the Galaxy S series is known for offering Samsung’s flagship handsets, power users swear by the fact that Note devices are the true power houses. These are bigger, usually have superior battery life, and because they are released later in the year, specs are also improved.
We have heard very little about the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 so far, but everything we know is in this article. What we can tell you is that Note smartphones are launched every year, during IFA, which means we should see this one announced sometime in early September. Rumors also say it will be released in July, so we’ll just have to wait for official word from Samsung.
Motorola Moto X (2016)
While we don’t have a specific release date as of yet, it’s pretty clear by the amount of leaks and rumors that Motorola is working on two new Moto X devices. Codenamed the Vertex and Vector Thin, these two handsets will sport premium specs, build quality, and then some.
Top-of-the-line specs are surely going to be present here. The Moto X (Vector Thin) will supposedly sport a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 820 SoC, 3 or 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of on-board storage, a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 2600 mAh battery. The Moto X (Vertex) will likely come with a Full HD display, Snapdragon 625 CPU, 2 or 3 GB of RAM, 16 or 32 GB of storage, as well as a 3500 mAh battery.
Both phones are also rumored to come with modular capabilities that allow the device to connect to different modules, or Amps, as Motorola is supposedly calling them.
We’re not sure of an official release date as of yet, but rumors have been pointing to sometime around the beginning of June.
Motorola Moto G4
Motorola seems to be going through a bit of a naming transition, at least according to the latest rumors, as nothing is official just yet. The Moto G4 is said to be the successor to the Moto G (2015).
Rumors suggest it will come with a 5.5-inch 1080p display, an octa-core processor (unknown model), 2 GB of RAM and a 13 MP main camera. By the way, there is also said to be a Moto G4 Plus, which is expected to come with a 16 MP camera.
This is meant to be an affordable handset. Even though we might not be able to expect the greatest specs out there, it should be good enough for the casual user. Its leaked images and video show a plastic construction that is basic, yet clean.
OnePlus devices are commonly known as “flagship killers”, as they tend to offer specs that compete against some of the best devices out there, along with a price point that not many of its competitors can beat. In fact, sometimes mid-range handsets cost more!
The OnePlus 3 probably won’t be the exception. We don’t know much about it just yet, but Oneplus co-founder Carl Pei has mentioned the OnePlus 3 is to be launched sometime in Q2 2016. No other details on the handset have been leaked as of yet.
ASUS ZenFone 3
There’s very little speculation on this one, but time for a new ASUS ZenFone successor is nearing. This smartphone series is known for offering great bang for your buck. The phones don’t cost much and offer performance that will keep most casual users happy.
The only bit of reliable news on the ZenFone 3 is an entry to Red Dot 21, a design-focused website. All we’ve heard is that it might come with 2.5D glass, USB Type-C compatibility, camera flashes on both sides, laser auto-focus and a fingerprint reader.
The design also looks to be improved. An image of the phone seems to show glass on metal, which seems to be a trend nowadays. This is likely only the case for the Deluxe version, though.
Sony Xperia X lineup
Don’t miss: Sony Xperia X series hands-on
All three handsets offer a design language that is very similar to what we have seen from Sony in the past. The Xperia XA and Xperia X are great additions to the affordable market. Meanwhile, the Xperia X Performance is here to go against the toughest smartphones out there.
The Sony Xperia X Performance sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 3 GB of RAM, a 5-inch 1080p screen, a 32 MP rear-facing camera and a 13 MP front shooter. The others have lower specs, of course, but you can learn more about them in the link above.
We’re not entirely sure about an exact release date yet, but we’re definitely excited for these devices to come to market.
Alcatel Idol 4 and Idol 4S
High-end devices may be exciting, but mid-range smartphones with great prices are all the hype nowadays. This new range of almost premium handsets at affordable prices really changed the game, and the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 was among our favorites in this category.
It’s time for an upgrade and Alcatel announced a new range of Idol smartphones at MWC 2016. These are the Alcatel Idol 4 and 4S. As you can assume, the latter is the more premium one. It sports a 5.5-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) screen, a Snapdragon 652 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, a 16 MP rear camera, an 8 MP front camera and a 3,000 mAh battery.
Meanwhile, the Idol 4 carries a smaller 5.2-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 617 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, a 13 MP rear camera, an 8 MP front shooter and a 2,610 mAh battery.
Release dates are a bit vague, but these phones were expected to start shipping as early as April, which has already concluded. This means we could start seeing both phones hit the shelves very soon.
Google Project Ara
We haven’t heard much about Google’s Project Ara since last year. We were supposed to see the modular phone hit the market last year, first in Puerto Rico. Plans changed soon after that – Project Ara’s launch was delayed until 2016. But hopefully this time around it actually happens.
Regardless, the dream of having a modular phone with interchangeable units is becoming very real, and we have seen it working. Need more RAM? Just change the right module. You can even add better cameras, bigger batteries and more.
One of the more interesting looking smartphones that we know is on the way is Lenovo’s Project Tango handset, which was confirmed at this year’s CES. While we don’t have the device specifics, Project Tango integration will open up a load of interesting new augmented and virtual reality applications, along with some other truly unique software experiences.
Project Tango is a Google platform based around computer vision technologies. It uses motion-tracking from accelerometers and gyroscopes, along with a specialized camera setup to collect 3D information about space, such as depth and distance. From this data, application developers can do things like overlay augmented information on top of an object within the camera’s field of view or recreate a real space in virtual 3D.
Lenovo’s smartphone will likely be the first consumer product to make use of Google’s technology, which is very exciting indeed. Their smartphone is scheduled for release in the summer of 2016.
BlackBerry mid-range smartphone
It’s too early to talk about potential hardware specifications, but surely BlackBerry intends to keep its iconic physical keyboard. Chen also recently confirmed that it was continuing to work with Samsung regarding display technology, but didn’t confirm if this partnership would extend to BlackBerry’s next generation smartphones.
The Priv may not be selling in huge numbers, but it seems to have done well enough to encourage BlackBerry to try its hand at another smartphone or two. With a physical keyboard and some top notch security and productivity features, perhaps BlackBerry’s mid-range smartphone will bring some new supports to the mobile old guard.
What phones are you excited about?
Are there any phones we didn’t add to this post and you are looking forward to? Hit the comments and let us know! Also share your thoughts on the handsets listed above. I am really excited to see what new Nexus phones come from Google.