Smarter phones for 2017
A new year to look forward to, and time to start saving up for some of the potentially excellent new smartphones that will be headed our way in the next few months. This time, the focus will be on optimizing the user experience, rather than on outright specification wars between phone makers.
Could this be the year Google is finally able to solve the Android fragmentation issue, and ensure that the newest version of the software platform is released for phones? And if Microsoft is indeed serious about the flagship Surface Phone, it cannot afford to have a repeat of 2016, when not much progress was made in developing the platform. It would not be a surprise if Microsoft takes inspiration from Google for a fresh start, something on the lines of the Pixel phones. We take a look at some of the interesting phone launches lined up for this year—all the names are tentative.
It is assumed that the next iPhone, tentatively scheduled for a September release, might be called the iPhone 8. We expect to see a new design language, an upgraded processor and graphics, improvements to 3D Touch, and maybe even a switch to the AMOLED display. If last year’s indications are anything to go by, we could see an even more powerful iPhone “Pro”. By the time the iPhone 8 series comes around, we will also have a new iOS version to look forward to. However, given the iPhone SE launch earlier in 2016, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if Apple unveils an upgraded iPhone 7s and 7s Plus in April.
It will not be easy to follow up on 2016, when the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T redefined the “Android flagship killer” category. It will be interesting to see if OnePlus can pack in an even higher-resolution display. The OnePlus 4 should use the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon processor available at the time, the latest Android, and improve camera optics and software. Expect it in summer.
Samsung Galaxy S8
After singing its fingers with the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung needs to find its feet with the Galaxy S8. Apart from the more powerful processor, we could see a bigger screen size as well. Samsung is also revamping the interface it wraps around Android, and that could prove to be the critical ingredient defining the overall user experience. It’s expected in March.
After causing quite a bit of excitement with the P9 and its Leica dual camera, Huawei is in the perfect position to build on that with the P10. Expect a newer Kirin processor, with 6 GB RAM, a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, dual cameras, 256 GB storage and Android Nougat. Huawei generally tends to announce the new P-series phone in April.
Microsoft Surface Phone
Microsoft spent most of 2016 scaling back the smartphone business that it acquired with Nokia in 2013. Things were just not working out for the Windows Phone in the fight against Apple and Google. Microsoft is now expected to take a fresh stab at the smartphone space. The Surface Phone, it is expected, will be powered by Intel’s forthcoming Kaby Lake processor, with options of 3 GB and 6 GB RAM, a 5.7-inch screen and 512 GB internal storage. It is expected to have Surface Pen stylus capabilities as well. An announcement is expected in March.