2017 is upon us, bringing with it a flurry of new top-end smartphones to get excited about. The tenth anniversary of the original iPhone means Apple may have something special in store for us this year, while Samsung will probably come out all guns blazing in order to soundly recover from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. There's a chance that Google will bring the second-generation of Pixel smartphones, while the likes of OnePlus and Xiaomi will continue to introduce high-quality, affordable flagship smartphones.
If you are on the lookout for a new smartphone, you might to hold on to your money a little while longer, as the market will soon be filled with a number of great models. Check out our pick of smartphones to look forward to in 2017 for more details.
1. Apple iPhone 8
2017 will be the year of the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone, the smartphone that upended and revolutionised the whole mobile phone industry. So it is no surprise that all eyes are on Apple and what it does to commemorate the occasion. And, of course, hopes are high that iPhone 8 will bring a number of changes to the table, enough to make up for the iterative updates we have had over the past two years.
Leaks point to three different versions of iPhone 8: one featuring all the new features, and the other two being the successors of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with only a few upgrades. Apple is reportedly developing more than 10 iPhone 8 prototypes, and working on a “radical redesign” of the smartphone. Rumour has it that at least the top-end version of the iPhone 8 will not have the Home button; instead, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the front camera will be integrated into the touchscreen. Apple is also said to be testing flexible OLED panels for the iPhone 8.
Wireless charging is widely expected to be integrated in iPhone 8, along with iris or facial scanning. iPhone 8 is said to be powered by the A11 chip manufactured on the 10nm process, the glass body will reportedly make a comeback. The top-end iPhone 8 model will reportedly also have optical image stabilisation in both cameras on the back, which may be vertically aligned rather than horizontally.
The screen size of this new top-end smartphone is not yet known, though the tech grapevine pegs it anywhere between 4.7-inches and 5.8-inches. The wait for iPhone 8 will be long, of course, as the next Apple flagship smartphone is likely to be unveiled only in September next year.
2. Samsung Galaxy X
Galaxy X is said to be the foldable smartphone that Samsung is planning to launch in 2017. Not much is known about the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy X so far, except that it may have a 4K screen and be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (likely to be Snapdragon 835). It is expected to feature a single flexible OLED display and a body that will fold at the middle. A patent filed by Samsung shows that users will be able to fold the smartphone at various angles and that it will feature physical buttons at the bottom.
A report back in June this year said that Samsung is likely to unveil the foldable Galaxy X smartphone at the Mobile World Congress, but the shift in focus to finding the cause of Galaxy Note 7 explosions may have put in spanner in that, likely delaying the launch by a few months.
3. Samsung Galaxy S8
Galaxy S8 will have the burden of expectations as it is Samsung’s first flagship smartphone to be launched after the Galaxy Note 7. Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S8 will have an Artificial Intelligence-powered virtual assistant, and a great camera. Rumours say Galaxy S8 will not have an earphone jack, or Home button – instead, it is said to come with wireless earphones, and feature optical fingerprint sensor that will be embedded in the touchscreen.
Reportedly, the Galaxy S8 smartphone will have a 4K display with ultra-thin bezels, dual 13-megapixel and 9-megapixel cameras on the back, fingerprint sensor on the back, USB Type-C port, selfie camera with autofocus and VR support. A recent report suggests that the smartphone may feature a massive 8GB of RAM, along with faster UFS 2.1 storage. Rumours also say that the Samsung Galaxy S8 may not feature any physical keys in the front, and pack two variants of the Exynos 8895 chipset.
Samsung was earlier rumoured to be planning to launch the Galaxy S8 at the Mobile World Congress in late February, but a new report says that the company has delayed the unveiling till April. Apparently, the South Korean titan will focus on regaining consumer confidence in the time till April. Samsung Galaxy S8 may cost 15-20 percent more than its predecessor. The AI-based virtual assistant will apparently be integrated with apps that come preloaded on the smartphone.
A ‘Plus’ variant of Samsung Galaxy S8 featuring a 6-inch display, and support for the S-Pen stylus may also be in the works.
4. Nokia’s Android Phones
Nokia is rumoured to launch as many as five Android smartphones in the first half of 2017, starting with Mobile World Congress in late February. One of the devices expected at the event is the Nokia D1C, a budget Android 7.0 Nougat smartphone that is said to sport the Snapdragon 430 processor, and come in 2GB and 3GB RAM variants priced at $150 and $200, respectively. The smartphone will also have two options in screen size – 5-inch and 5.5-inch – and come with 16GB internal storage, 13-megapixel or 16-megapixel rear camera, and 8-megapixel front camera.
A high-end Android 7.0 Nougat smartphone by Nokia is also expected in early 2017, featuring a 5.2-inch or 5.5-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 835 processor, 23-megapixel camera with Zeiss optics, 6GB RAM, metal unibody design, and water-resistant body.
Along with these, an entry-level Nokia Android phone called Pixel may also be under development. This smartphone is said to run Android 7.0.1 Nougat operating system and may be powered by the 1.19GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor with 1GB RAM. Nokia Pixel Android phone’s battery is said to support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 fast-charging technology.
5. OnePlus 4
OnePlus 4 is another smartphone everyone will be excited about in 2017. The smartphone will reportedly have a ceramic body, come in 6GB RAM and 8GB RAM variants, sport the Snapdragon 835 chipset, dual-camera on the back, and may retain the 3.5mm earphone jack. However, OnePlus 4 may have a 5.3-inch display, smaller than that of the OnePlus One, 2, 3, and 3T, though resolution may increase to 4K.
6. Moto X 2017
Leaked photos of a smartphone expected to be the Moto X 2017 have sparked interest in the line, which did not make an appearance this year. The Moto X 2017 will have an all-metal body, images show, with the fingerprint sensor on the back. The smartphone in the leaked images does not have Moto Mod pins on the back, so Lenovo may add some other unique feature in Moto X 2017 to distinguish it from the competition.
7. Google Pixel 2, Pixel XL 2
Google Pixel is a flagship smartphone that boasts excellent software but is plagued by niggling hardware issues. We expect Google to iron out the kinks in the second-generation Pixel and Pixel XL models, and give us the smartphone everyone expects from a company of its size and reputation.
There are no leaks about Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 yet, but if these phones come out in 2017, then we expect big changes in the software department, bringing more features to the Google Assistant. On the hardware front, all the top features and specifications can be expected, such as 6GB RAM, big battery, and fast processor.
8. HTC 11/ Ocean
HTC 11, the flagship smartphone being developed under the codename Ocean, is said to have a metal body with chamfered edges. It will reportedly feature dual 12-megapixel and 8-megapixel cameras on the back with LED flash, 5.5-inch display with QHD resolution, Snapdragon 835 chipset, 3700mAh battery, and Android 7.0 Nougat.
9. LG G6
LG will reportedly not use the modular design with the G6, though the company itself has said that it will not do away with the swappable accessories for now. The rumour mill suggests that the LG G6 will have an aluminium body with water-resistant coating, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type C port, wireless charging, and removable battery. LG was reportedly planning to use curved display on the G6, but that plan has been shelved because of supply-chain constraints.
10. Microsoft Surface Phone
Everyone is a little unsure about this one as we have been hearing of the Microsoft Surface Phone for a couple of years now, but Satya Nadella in an interview recently said that the company is working on the “ultimate mobile device,” so there is some hope. Microsoft also owns the surfacephone.com Web domain, suggesting that a smartphone may be on the way. We will have to wait for 2017 for the rest of the details.
That’s our round-up of the smartphones to look forward to in 2017. Tell us which smartphones you are the most excited about?