The year has come to an end and while the list of favourite smartphones is done and dusted, leaks around what 2017 will offer in the mobile world continue to take place. There’s no doubt that in 2017 there are great expectations from the smartphone industry; we’re hoping to see new designs, faster phones, and innovation that will be useful.
Plus old favourites are planning a comeback, with Nokia getting ready to re-enter the market in 2017. Samsung will focus on a virtual assistant with the Galaxy S8, and the next iPhone promises to usher in a big design change. Here’s a look at the top expectations from the smartphone world in 2017.
Apple is expected to bring a major upgrade to its 2017 flagships. The iPhone 8 has already been the centre of many leaks, with some reports suggesting the upcoming iPhone will finally get an OLED display. Apple might also do away with the aluminium casing in favour of an all-glass body, similar to iPhone 4/4s series.
An iPhone 8 with a bezel-less display and no actual physical home button is also rumoured. The 2017 iPhone could also bring wireless charging to the mix, a feature that has been long awaited.
Following the untimely demise of the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung’s next flagship will be closely watched. The Galaxy S8 will make an appearance in February 2017, though some reports suggest April, and it is likely to be the first smartphone to have Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 chipset.
Latest rumours suggest Galaxy S8 have a 6-inch display version packed with 8GB of RAM. Samsung is expected to do away with the 3.5mm headphone jack and introduce a USB Type-C port for charging.
A tipster from Weibo has hinted at the S8 getting a dual (13MP + 12MP) camera setup, but conflicts with most reports which suggests that Samsung will not be introducing this. We can also expect Samsung to launch the Galaxy Note 8 next year.
Nokia plans to jump right back into the smartphone market in 2017, following the expiry of a non-compete clause it signed with Microsoft when the latter acquired its mobile business. Once a dominant and well established brand, Nokia will re-enter the market with new Android devices which will be manufactured by HMD Global using the Nokia brand.
Nokia D1C is expected to be one of the first phones to be out next year at MWC 2017. The Android OS based smartphone is expected to come in two variants – 2GB/3GB RAM, priced at roughly Rs 10,000 and Rs 13,000 respectively. According to leaks on NokiaPowerUser, D1C will be powered by a Snapdragon 430 processor, and will come in two display sizes; a 5-inch and 5.5-inch version along with a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera.
Nokia P smartphone is another device expected to launch in 2017, and is rumoured to sport Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 chipset and feature 6GB RAM. The phone is likely to feature a 23MP rear camera fitted with Carl Zeiss optics and will have a Quad HD resolution display. Nokia P is expected in the second half of 2017.
BlackBerry is no longer making smartphones in-house, but instead will partner with China’s TCL; the latter will manufacture and distribute BlackBerry-branded phones. TCL is expected to announce BlackBerry-branded smartphones at CES 2017 and BlackBerry Mercury could be revealed at the show.
BlackBerry Mercury images were leaked earlier this month, which show a device sporting a full QWERTY keyboard. The phone is speculated to feature a 4.5-inch display, Snapdragon 625 processor and come with 3GB RAM. It will be sporting an 18MP rear camera along with an 8MP front shooter. The phone will be running Android 7.0 Nougat and come with 32GB of on-board storage.
OnePlus has said in the past the company will be concentrating on launching just one flagship smartphone every year, and OnePlus 4 is expected to be the next big thing for 2017. According to Weibo tipster KJuma, OnePlus 4 will be featuring 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and some claim the company could skip the number ‘4’ in favour of OnePlus 5, considering that four is considered unlucky in Chinese culture.
OnePlus 4 is expected to be powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 chipset, or a Snapdragon 835 SoC, have 128GB storage and a larger 4000 mAh battery. It could come with a glass-body design.
Xiaomi plans to launch a successor to its Mi 5 smartphone next year in the form of Mi 6. It is expected to feature a 5.2-inch display with 4K resolution with the display made using 2.5D curved glass. The device is rumoured to come with 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM. Mi 6 is expected to be the first Chinese smartphone that will be powered by Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 835 chipset.
The metallic smartphone is speculated to sport a 23MP primary shooter, and a 7MP front camera. Other rumours suggest the Mi 6 will have a dual-rear camera (16MP + 16MP) setup. Xiaomi Mi 6 is expected to launch on Valentine’s Day February 14, but can be pushed to March or April, according to some reports.
HTC is struggling in the premium smartphone segment, but is not giving up on smartphones yet. According to leaks, HTC 11 will be packed with a 5.5-inch Quad HD display (2560 x 1440 pixels resolution).
The phone will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor and could have 8GB of RAM on board along with 256GB storage. Leaks have also suggested that HTC 11 might come with a dual-camera setup, featuring two 12MP modules. The front of the device will be sporting an 8MP camera. HTC 11 is rumoured to pack a 3700 mAh battery and feature Qualcomm Quick Charging 4.0.
Google has ditched the Nexus brand in favour of ‘Pixel’ devices, which now carry the company’s logo on the back. Google Pixel and Pixel XL have received rave reviews from the audience, and have been priced in the premium segment to take on the iPhone. Pixel devices bring a much deeper integration to Google compared to other Android devices, and have a new Google Assistant – which is a significant improvement over Google Now.
Pixel devices are best known for their superior camera function, and Google will likely upgrade this in the Pixel 2.0 series. We could also see an improved design for the next generation of Pixel phones.
Lenovo-owned Motorola launched Moto Z, it’s first modular smartphone in 2016. The philosophy of the modular design is to let customers tweak their device to enjoy improvements in hardware. It is expected that Motorola will be introducing new mods for Moto Z devices with the possibility of a new modular smartphone in 2017.
Lenovo has also been working with Google on Project Tango, and while the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro has only gone on sale in US so far, it remains to be seen what happens with this partnership in 2017.