In a year that was deemed as testing and challenging, phone makers continued to churn out new models. In fact, throughout the year we saw promising smartphones one after the other. The emphasis was clearly on usability and features that matter to consumers rather than gimmicks. With the pandemic still part of our lives, expect the next-generation of smartphones to focus on experience more than anything else. So what’s in store for early 2021? Let’s find out.
Samsung Galaxy S21
It’s impossible to ignore the Galaxy S21. With an early launch expected next month, Samsung will spare no expense in promoting the flagship Galaxy S series, its answer to the iPhone. Although a lot is already known about the Galaxy S21, Samsung is yet to confirm if it will launch a Galaxy S21 Fan Edition (FE). More than that, we are keen to know how Samsung plans to merge the Galaxy S and Note lines. Samsung has, in fact, already hinted that it will bring the stylus to other Galaxy smartphones.
OnePlus hasn’t had a great 2020, with many questioning its product strategy. So the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro better be terrific smartphones. We don’t know what tactics OnePlus will adopt this year when it launches both the phones, but the strategy has to please the most die-hard OnePlus fans. Right now, early leaks suggest the devices will offer the best display, charging speeds, and top-notch specs. But will it be enough? With the competition from Apple and Samsung increasing, OnePlus needs to prove a lot to maintain its premium brand status.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Lite
Foldable smartphones are ridiculously expensive, but that might change next year. TM Roh, head of Samsung’s mobile communications business, recently hinted at its next-generation foldable smartphone lineup will be “more accessible to everyone.” Although he did not name the devices, Samsung is rumoured to launch four foldable phones in 2021. With that in the mind, the launch of Galaxy Z Flip Lite could very much change the foldable smartphone market this year. The original Galaxy Z Flip currently sells for Rs 109,999, so the Lite version will likely cost around Rs 74,000. A foldable phone at Rs 74,000 won’t be cheap but it’s still affordable compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which costs Rs 1,49,999.
After the debut of the Realme X50 last year we’re extremely interested in knowing what the company comes up with in the high-end segment. Whether that’s going to be the X60 or Realme ‘Race’, we are sure Realme is serious about the flagship segment, where another BBK brand OnePlus dominates the conversation. Details are scarce right now, but we already know the “Race” is going to be Realme’s first Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 handset. Since the “Race” is just a codename for a high-end flagship, the official name and release date both are under wraps. While early glimpses of it make it a rather intriguing device, we’re still very much interested in how Realme takes on the competition, particularly in the premium segment.
LG Rollable smartphone
If the Wing brought back LG into the high-end phone race last year, the upcoming rollable phone will likely set the tone for the next chapter in smartphones. No one’s sure what LG’s new rollable phone will be called, but it’s going to be the first phone with a flexible rolling display that will hit the market in the first half of the year. It’ll be a rollable phone, meaning the phone display can be extended. Just simply pull on one edge and your regular-sized smartphone becomes a tablet. Several brands including Oppo and TCL are already experimenting with rollable phones internally. We don’t know a whole lot about LG’s rollable phone just yet, other than that it’s expected to cost close to $2500.