A Guide to the Best Upcoming Android Phones – Spring 2018
Last fall was an incredible time for smartphones. While 2017 started off strong with devices like the Galaxy S8 and S8+, and the underrated LG G6, it wasn’t until the latter half of the year that Android devices started to show off their true potential. The Galaxy Note 8 was a stunning return to form for a series of devices that seemed doomed in 2016. Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL continued to prove the company’s dedication towards premium hardware and fantastic camera qualities, while Motorola released the first Android One device in the United States under Project Fi. Essential, the company founded by original Android developer Andy Rubin, came out of the gate to offer a smartphone with near-invisible bezels, and even managed to cut the price to just $499 unlocked. Amazon continued to run the budget-friendly market, offering their subsidized devices off-contract and expanding into mid-tier phones with reworked LG G6s. More than ever, it felt like the Android ecosystem was beginning to create a device for everyone that would get the job done.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, of course, and we’re hoping that the 2018 successors to these devices manage to improve where some of last year’s phones fell short. Whether it was the fingerprint sensor placement on the Note 8, the blue shift on the display of the Pixel 2 XL, or the software experience on the G6 and the V30, it seemed every phone last year had one weakness stopping it from being the perfect device to carry in your pocket. It wasn’t exclusive to Android either: the iPhone X, despite its revolutionary design, found itself critiqued for the lack of a fingerprint sensor (despite the Face ID technology built on the front of the device) and several iOS bugs plagued the platform, causing the company to reconsider and delay features for iOS 12 to work on reliability and software fixes.
It’s fair to say that we’re hoping the 2018 lineup of Android devices can manage to deliver on all the missed opportunities of last year. With a brand new season of smartphones approaching quickly, it’s time to take a look at the phones we’re most excited about throughout the first half of this year. This is our guide to the best upcoming Android phones of 2018.
Samsung’s design certainly hasn’t grown stale, but it has become rather easy to predict. Since launching the Galaxy S6 in 2015, Samsung has become renown for their engineering power, with plenty of critics praising Samsung’s flagship devices as some of the best design in the industry. Samsung has adopted a tick-tock strategy for their phones in recent years; the S7 and S7 edge were refined versions of the 2015 devices, while the Galaxy S8 and S8+ brought larger, taller curved displays and finally removed the physical navigation buttons in favor of the on-screen options. The S8 and S8+ were praised for their refined software and incredible displays, but the poorly-placed fingerprint sensor and Bixby button were largely derided among fans and critics alike.
So if the tick-tock pattern of the last few years follows through in 2018, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ should closely match the S8 from last year, albeit with some small changes in hardware and a newer version of both Android and the Samsung Experience UI that runs on Samsung’s own devices. And indeed, if the leaks we’re seeing are true (and they likely are, considering they come from EVLeaks himself, Evan Blass, over at VentureBeat), we can expect the S9 and S9+ to offer similar experiences as last year’s flagship devices, albeit with faster processors, better cameras, and a few new features that make this phone more exciting than it might seem.
First off, let’s talk about the design. From the front, the S9 and S9 look exactly like their older counterparts, from the 18.5:9 aspect ratio to the rounded corners and minimized bezels. The curved display remains as well, though it isn’t as noticeable in these renders displaying the phone from the front (Blass has made it clear on Twitter the curved display has been largely unchanged between phones). In fact, from the front of the phone, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between the S8 and the S9. Perhaps the bottom bezel has been minimized ever so slightly, but you’ll never be able to tell without checking on the devices’ respective spec sheets.
When you turn the phone over, however, you’ll notice changes on both devices. First and foremost, one of the biggest mistakes we saw with the Galaxy S8 has been corrected, moving the S9’s fingerprint sensor to the middle of the device below the camera and making it easier to touch for both right-hand and left-handed users. That’s a fairly major change, fulfilling something requested by nearly every fan of last year’s device. The other change comes with the camera module itself, something we’ll discuss more in a moment. The rest of the hardware remains mostly unchanged, featuring a USB-C port at the bottom of the phone, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the same lineup of power, volume, and yes, Bixby buttons along the sides of the device. One new feature: stereo speakers, as confirmed by the device’s box. It seems the earpiece will now act as a secondary speaker, similar to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8.
So, while the device has remained fairly unchanged on the outside, the phone has a whole new set of technical specs to come with it. The S9 and S9+ will use a Samsung Exynos 9810 throughout most of the world, though the US and China models will instead use the Snapdragon 845 from Qualcomm. The smaller S9 will include 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage; the larger S9+ will take after the Note 8 and use 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It’s a shame that the smaller device is being offered with less RAM and storage, especially when last year’s device offered the same amount of RAM and storage no matter the size you chose. However, while there’s no confirmation, you should expect microSD card support to continue on both devices.
It’s the camera technology that really has been improved here. While the Galaxy S8 and S8+ reused the camera module from the S7, along with new software and processing tweaks, this year’s devices feature new camera modules to allow for improved low-light photography. Samsung’s invitation for the launch event for the S9 has focused on the camera, as have the teasers they’ve released throughout February. We expect the camera to feature a “Super Slo-Mo” mode, which may be able to record in up to 1,000 FPS (though this mode may be restricted on the Snapdragon 845 model). Low-light photography is also a focus, presumably to compete with Google’s Pixel devices. The third new feature will likely come from the front-facing camera, and will allow the S9 and S9+ to compete with Animoji, Apple’s animated emoji feature.
Like the RAM amounts on each device, the S9 and S9+ don’t share the same camera. The S9 has a single lens module, while the S9+ uses a dual-camera setup similar to the iPhone X or the Galaxy Note 8 from last year. Theoretically, this means the S9+ will take the lead over the S9 in camera quality, but we aren’t sure what this extra lens is meant to do. Dual-lens devices aren’t rare these days, but each seems to be capable of doing something different than the last. Whether the S9 will follow the lead of the Note 8 with a 2x optical zoom lens, or will go the route of LG and its wide-angle lenses. Again, it’s disappointing to see Samsung making moves towards differentiating the smaller and larger devices instead of keeping the two phones on par, but we expect most users are springing for the larger phones anyway.
Overall, the S9 and S9+ will likely be fantastic devices, even if the Bixby button remains. We have yet to truly see any new software features Samsung has in store for the device, though the phone will likely ship with Android Oreo and Samsung Experience 9.0, which we recently saw become available on the S8 and S8+. Samsung has come a long way in terms of both hardware and software over the last half-decade, even fixing their emoji in the recent Oreo update for last year’s flagship phones. The Galaxy S9 is by no means a revolutionary device, but it’ll be a fantastic upgrade for folks holding onto their Galaxy S6 and S7 phones. We’ll see the official unveiling of the S9 on February 25th, right before Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona.
Motorola’s had something of a bad reputation lately. Despite releasing some excellent phones, including last year’s Moto G5 Plus and the Moto Z2 Play, the company has been criticized for its large product base and the lack of timely software updates for its modern phones. That hasn’t stopped many of their devices—particularly the midrange and lower-end series, like the Moto G and Moto E lineup—from being seen as successes, offering solid Android experiences at an affordable budget. Last year’s Moto Z2 Force, on the other hand, received mixed reviews for its expensive price tag and plastic display, and the reliance on MotoMods has limited Motorola’s ability to change the design of their smartphones since 2016.
Thanks to a huge leak from Droid Life in January, we saw our first glimpses of what is reportedly the Moto G6 lineup, the Moto X5, and the Moto Z3 series, along with a leaked photo of the Moto E5 from mysmartprice. Despite some naysayers calling the leak fake, Evan Blass (@evleaks on Twitter) confirmed the leaks, tweeting he’s never seen a leak “as thorough, as early, and as potentially damaging to a company as [Droid Life’s] renders-and-all reports covering nearly the entire 2018 Motorola lineup,” and confirming that any errors or mistakes in the mockup could be chalked up to faults of early drafts. That doesn’t necessarily confirm what we’re seeing in the leaked images, but both Blass and Droid Life have strong reputations for leaking new devices (Blass’ reputation proceeds him, and Droid Life reported on every device announced at Google’s fall event in September of last year).
So, let’s break down each device Droid Life leaked in their original posts from last month, phone by phone. To get the full details, definitely check out their linked pages above.
- Moto G6: Perhaps Motorola’s most popular device line, the Moto G6 will continue the tradition of offering solid Android experiences at low prices. The device has seen quite a few changes since its 2017 iteration, including the addition of a taller, 18:9 ratio 1080p 5.7″ display, a more-narrow fingerprint sensor along the bottom of the display, and a curved-glass back (as opposed to the aluminum bodies we saw on the Moto G5 and G5 Plus). Inside the phone, you’ll find an upgrade to the new Snapdragon 450 with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM, depending on the market, with 32GB or 64GB of storage. A new dual-camera module rounds out the phone, with a 12MP and 5MP combo. Expect this phone to run you a solid $240.
- Moto G6 Plus: Not much changes between the G6 and G6 Plus. You’ll find a larger 5.93″ display, still using a 1080p resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio, along with a Snapdragon 630 processor over the slower 450. In addition to the usual 32GB and 64GB options for storage, it also sounds like the device will feature 3GB, 4GB, or 6GB of RAM. Expect the Plus model to run you a whopping $330 this year, $30 more than last year’s Plus model.
- Moto G6 Play: The lowest-end model of the G6 lineup, the G6 Play features a few changes compared to its larger brothers. The fingerprint sensor is located on the back of the phone, as opposed to the front, but it uses the same curved-glass on the back of the device. The display is still at an 18:9 aspect ratio, but the resolution is lowered to just 720p at 5.7″, and the battery is bumped to 4000mAh. Specs and pricing haven’t yet leaked for this one, but it’s likely to be less powerful—and less expensive—than the G6.
- Moto X5: The X5 might be the most interesting device of the bunch, especially from a design perspective. After returning to the X-series in 2017 with the midrange Moto X4, Motorola seems poised to use its lack of MotoMod integration to its advantage, offering users a “borderless” design, à la the iPhone X. The similarities between the two X-branded phones run deep—look closely at the image and you’ll see a iPhone-like notch for the front-facing camera, along with a swipe-gesture in lieu of a navigation menu at the bottom of the screen. The display is reportedly a 5.9″ 1080p panel with an 18:9 aspect ratio, but outside of that fact, the specs remain a mystery. This one’s probably slated for a late-summer or fall release, so if you’re in the market for a new phone now, this might not be the one for you.
- Moto Z3: We’re entering the third year of Motorola’s lineup of modular devices, and each generation seems to be moving in a more premium direction than the last. The original Moto Z was incredible thin, but last year’s Z2 lineup saw only the Z2 Force and Z2 Play—no plain-jane Z2. Three devices are rumored for this year, but only the Z3 and Z3 Play have leaked through Droid Life so far. The Z3 is basically exactly what you’d expect out of a phone like this, offering users a curved, S8-like display with a 1080p resolution and a modern 18:9 aspect ratio. There’s no notch like the X5, however, and the fingerprint sensor is rumored to be moved to the power button on the phone. It’s also unclear what processor the device will have at this time, though it does seem like Motorola intends on offering a 5G mod for their device (seen in the photo above).
- Moto Z3 Play: There isn’t a ton of information for this device, either. It doesn’t offer a curved display like the standard Z3, but it does have a glass back and the same 18:9 display we keep seeing on Motorola devices this year. It’s worth mentioning here that the Z3 series of devices does seem to be moving towards a new design with the pins on the back of the phone. Whether or not the current-generation mods will still work remains to be seen.
- Moto E5: Finally, we have our first look at the Moto E5, courtesy of mysmartprice. The E-series are the cheapest devices Motorola sells in North America (the C-series isn’t sold here), but for the price of the phone, it actually offers a good value over other phones at the same price. The E5 looks a lot like last year’s G5, complete with a metal (or metal-like) body and large top and bottom bezels on the phone. The fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back of the device, but unfortunately, the phone still uses microUSB instead of USB-C like the rest of Motorola’s 2018 lineup.
That’s a lot of information on a lot of phones, and we recommend checking out each source link to learn more about the Moto G6, Moto X5, Moto Z3, and Moto E5, plus all of the other sub-devices under each line. We don’t expect a whole lot more to leak here, considering just how much has leaked, but regardless, we’ll update the posts as new information comes in. Expect the G-series to be announced this spring, followed by the E-series and Z-series this summer, and the X-series this fall, if history continues to follow through.
It’s no secret that LG has had a rough few years in the market. Around the time of the LG G2 and LG G3, it seemed the company could manage to poise a serious threat to Samsung in the marketplace. Though both devices used a plastic build, they featured designs that differentiated the series from the Galaxy line, and managed to provide users with larger screens in a minimized body, something we’re seeing more of today with the minimized bezels of devices like the Galaxy S8 and LG’s own G6. Unfortunately, everything following the G3 seemed to go south. The G4, V10, V20, and Nexus 5X (made by LG but marketed by Google) all fell victim to bootloops, where the devices would be unable to power back on and would sit in a state of constant reboot.
As if this wasn’t enough of a problem, the G5—which also suffered from similar issues with constant bootlooping—was panned for its poor implementation of its modular connection and a flawed design that featured flexing along the bottom of the frame. The G6 was mostly seen as a comeback device for LG, but with some lackluster software and a middling brand reputation, the device was overshadowed entirely by the Galaxy S8, which featured less bezels and a better software experience, not to mention a much faster processor in the Snapdragon 835. And while the V30 has been met with some praise in certain corners of the internet, the truth is the device hasn’t been nearly enough to turn around LG’s sinking mobile sales.
That mobile division gained a new CEO last November, and it does sound like things are starting to turn around at the company, at least from a business perspective. Normally, we’d use this space to write about leaks regarding the LG G7, but this year is different. Whereas 2017 saw major leaks for both the G6 and V30 before their launches, the few leaks we have seen for LG’s portfolio of 2018 devices seems to point towards the impact the new CEO is having on the company. If you were excited for an upcoming G7 from LG, you might have to wait a bit longer than usual—and you might need to get used to the idea of the device not being called the G7.
On January 3rd, we got our first real hint about what was happening with the G-series. An official for the company made it clear that, though they were preparing for a new device for the first half of 2018, the company was considering some new strategies for the phone. “Numbering the phone with a two-digit number and rebranding the phone with a new name are some of the options on the table,” the LG official told South Korean publication The Investor, as part of a strategy to better compete with the devices offered by Samsung and Apple. On the 11th of January, it was reported in the Korea Herald that LG would no longer release devices on an annual schedule, and just four days later, The Investor reported that the new CEO of LG’s mobile division had ordered development on the G7 to start from scratch.
Reportedly, the phone was originally to be announced this month at Mobile World Congress, but as we learned on February 16th from Evan Blass at VentureBeat, the device is now being targeted for a June launch, with the phone shipping to consumers sometime thereafter. We also managed to learn new details on the reworked device from Blass, who confirmed the phone would not be named the LG G7. The device is currently codenamed “Judy,” and features a 6.1″ MLCD+ panel, a move away from the controversial pOLED panel in the V30 that would include a RGBW matrix (a standard display uses an RGB matrix; this display would add a white sub-pixel) that uses 35 percent less power than standard IPS LCD displays (like on the iPhone 8). “Judy” will also include a Snapdragon 845, dual-rear cameras, and stereo speakers. You can view the full report at VentureBeat above.
Until then, LG continues to offer both the LG G6 and LG V30 as flagships, and 2018 has brought changes for both devices. On the G6 side, LG has made the device available in several new colors, including Raspberry Rose and Lavender Violet. No word yet on whether those colors will actually come to the North American market. The V30, on the other hand, may be getting a reboot, complete with new features. On February 9th, ET News reported that LG was working on an updated version of the V30, called the V30s, which would offer 256GB of storage (upgraded from 64GB on the original model) and a new feature called LG Lens.
LG themselves seemed to confirm this rumor on February 12th, when the company announced LG Lens as an AI-powered camera interface called “Vision AI” that will power the “2018 version of the LG V30.” In the same announcement, the company also confirmed this device would be shown at Mobile World Congress, which starts on the 26th of February. We’ll have to wait to find out what, if anything, LG has in store for the V30s beyond this new camera feature. And as always, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for future leaks of LG’s first proper flagship of 2018.
Some of our readers might be familiar with RED, but there’s also a great chance that plenty of tech fans have never heard of the camera company. Even if RED is a new name to you, you’re probably familiar with some of the content shot on RED cameras. Whether you’ve watched LinusTechTips’ or Marques Brownlee’s (MKBHD) YouTube videos covering all sorts of technology, phones, and computers, or you’ve been to the movies recently to see blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Hacksaw Ridge, you’ve seen footage from RED cameras. Focusing on modular camera technology, RED has made a name for themselves in the professional camera field for their quality products, adaption of 4K, 6K, and 8K resolution technology, and the ability to adjust raw RED footage in post-production.
But considering you’re reading a list of the best upcoming Android phones, you’re probably wondering why RED is even being mentioned here. In July, RED announced they were in the process of designing an Android-based smartphone, with an emphasis on their new “holographic display,” something RED calls “multi-dimensional audio,” and the ability to add modular attachments to the phone using included pins, just as we’ve seen with the Essential Phone and Motorola’s Z-series of smartphones. Of course, the Hydrogen is also an Android phone, capable of consuming and creating media, placing phone calls, and communicating with other users using messaging apps.
Update: Since originally writing our guide to the RED Hydrogen in 2017, we’ve learned a few new facts about the phone. The device remains in development, and as expected, the phone was delayed to the summer of 2018 from its original Q1 release date. In January, CEO of RED Jim Jannard confirmed the device has some amount of carrier support, though it’s unclear which carriers RED has in store for the device. The phone is currently using a Snapdragon 835 chip instead of the newer Snapdragon 845, though that could change in the run-up to its launch. Finally, we now know the phone will have a massive 4500mAh battery, compared to the standard 3000-3500mAh batteries we’re used to seeing in current Android phones. Original post follows.
With the RED Hydrogen not due to launch until 2018, what is there to know about the phone—which, it should be mentioned, is currently up for preorder for $1200 for the aluminium version and $1600 for the titanium version. Well, beyond the price, the display technology, and the modular components of the device, we don’t actually know that much. The display will measure 5.7″ on the front, making the body of the device quite large. Marques Brownlee has actually gotten a hands-on with several different prototype units (credit to him for the images) and the device, according to him, is about as large as an iPhone 8 Plus with a case. The device is also bulky and has a textured rigid grip around the edges of the phone. It’s clear that RED wants this product to match their other devices, and having a small size is not one of their priorities on this project. Based on a leaked patent belonging to RED, we know that the Hydrogen phone is designed to be the base of a crazy experimental modular camera system being designed by RED, something you can’t do with a thin-and-light device.
The phone has stereo speakers on the front of the device, a headphone jack along the bottom, uses USB-C to charge, and has a microSD card slot for expanding storage. Other than that, we don’t have a lot of concrete information on the phone. A full complete prototype isn’t even ready yet—when Brownlee looked at the phone, he viewed both a dummy model and a larger prototype containing the holographic display technology that he blurred out in his hands-on. The design of the phone and the prices aren’t set in stone, and the modular accessories won’t ship when the device ships next year either. In fact, we know so little about the phone, it’s very tempting to call the product vaporware in it’s current state.
However, anyone familiar with RED’s output knows they push the envelope constantly, often announcing products far in advance before they ever ship. The Hydrogen may get delayed, its feature set may change, the price may increase or decrease, but we’re nearly certain RED will ship this product. For obvious reasons, the price, size, and weight of this device probably renders it uninteresting to most consumers, but anyone interesting in camera technology—the device uses a dual-camera module, by the way—will want to pay attention to RED’s smartphone. Their cinema cameras are some of the best on the market, and we’re excited to see them enter the phone market, especially if this becomes a cheap way to film RED-style content at below the usual $10k price range. It’s a ways out, but keep your ears open for more on this.
One of the biggest surprises in mobile technology during 2017 was the reinvention of the Nokia brand. It’s no secret that the current Nokia brand isn’t the same Nokia that created some of the most popular mobile phones of the mid-2000s. The rights to the Nokia name were purchased by HMD Global, which began operating in December of 2016 as a way to create smartphones using the Nokia brand following Microsoft’s acquisition of the mobile division of the famed Finnish company. There were a lot of doubts headed into 2017 when HMD began to release Nokia smartphones running Android. Would the devices hold up to the expected quality of Nokia phones? How would the software experience hold up to the Pixel or Galaxy S8? And would the phones receive any kind of update support?
A year later, we can confidently say HMD has done an excellent job in creating some great phones. Most of the devices have remained unreleased in the United States, with the budget Nokia 6 being released through Amazon and the Nokia 2 being sold unlocked through retailers online for just $100. Neither of these devices display the best that Nokia has to offer, but they have received support from HMD, and the Nokia 6 specifically has been well-received for its budget-friendly experience and unmodified version of Android. Other devices, including the flagship Nokia 8, can be grabbed unlocked from third-party sellers on sites like Amazon, though these international models are sold without a warranty.
It’s unclear whether Nokia’s upcoming devices, the 2018 flagship Nokia 9 and the midtier Nokia 7 Plus, will be sold in the United States through official channels, but it’s worth paying attention to regardless. We’ve learned about both of Nokia’s upcoming releases through leaks from multiple partners, and it seems that we finally have some details locked down on both upcoming devices. Let’s take a closer look, starting with the Nokia 7 Plus.
First things first: The Nokia 7 Plus, by all accounts, seems to be an expanded version of the Nokia 7, a device currently sold exclusively in China. That phone uses a Snapdragon 630 and either 4 or 6GB of RAM, along with a 5.2″ IPS 1080p display and an aluminum unibody. By all accounts, it’s a solid phone, and the 7 Plus seems to be looking to take the existing device and making it feel a bit more modern for a 2018 release. On February 5th, we got our first look at the specs of the new device, thanks to leaked press materials from NokiaPowerUser. In that leak, we learned the 630 in the original model would get bumped to the new Snapdragon 660, would ship with Android 8.0 Oreo, 4GB of RAM, include dual-rear cameras at 12MP and 13MP, and most importantly, include a 6-inch 18:9 display, presumably at a 1080p resolution.
As if those leaks weren’t enough, we saw Evan Blass (@evleaks) come back on February 14th with full renders of the device. (Two days later, a live image leaked from China.) These photos showed off what we saw in the Chinese leaks in full detail. The device shows a cream-bronze color scheme that users will either love or hate, but will certainly lead to strong feelings either way. The dual-cameras are there, presumably matching the 12MP and 13MP specs that were in the leaked press slides. The Nokia 7 Plus’ display is also clearly shown to be at an 18:9 aspect ratio, matching the movement we’ve seen most devices take in recent months. One fact mentioned by Blass that most were likely unaware of prior to his leak: the phone will apparently ship as an Android One device, Google’s line of unmodified smartphones mostly intended for countries outside North America. This is great news for those looking for quick software updates, as Google typically helps push out Android One software updates following the Pixel phones.
As of right now, it’s unclear whether the Nokia 7 Plus will make it to western shores, but there’s always the option of picking up the phone from an international retailer. Likewise, it’s unclear what’s happening with the Nokia 9, a long-rumored flagship device that seems to be picking up steam lately in advance of Nokia’s Mobile World Congress event. We started hearing word of the Nokia 9 when rumors were surrounding the Nokia 8, with several leaks using the two names interchangeably. Once the Nokia 8 launched, word of a Nokia 9 stuck around, making it obvious that there was another phone to pay attention to as we moved into 2018.
Our best look at the Nokia 9 comes from OnLeaks, which shared renders of the Nokia 9 back in October. The device has a metal-and-glass build similar to the Galaxy S8, with two sheets of glass separated by a metal core in the middle of the phone, and features a dual-camera module on the back of the device. The bottom of the phone features a USB-C port, but no headphone jack. We received further information when the Nokia 9 passed through the FCC in December, giving credence to the thought that it might reach the United States. It was here where we saw confirmation the device would use a Snapdragon 835 and a 5.5″ OLED panel made by LG.
Presumably, that display is 16:9 instead of the newer 18:9 aspect ratio (the screenshots included in the FCC filing were at 16:9), but we’d love to be proven wrong here. Same goes for the device running the Snapdragon 835. It seems odd that Nokia and HMD would ship a device using the older processor when the Snapdragon 845 is going to be in the majority of 2018 flagships, but here we are. With the Nokia 7 Plus featuring an 18:9 display, it’s unfortunate that the Nokia 9 seems to be stuck with a design more fitting to 2016.
Nokia is hosting an event in Barcelona on the afternoon (local time) of February 25th, the same day as the Samsung event showing off the Galaxy S9. We expect to see the Nokia 7 Plus announced, and will quite possibly see the Nokia 9 make an appearance as well. (The Nokia 1, a low-end budget device meant for emerging markets that was leaked by Blass at the same time as the Nokia 7 Plus, may also be there.) As of writing, we’re only about a week out from finding out what Nokia has in store for us, so stay tuned for updates as we move forward towards the Mobile World Congress event.
Truth be told, we don’t have much to go off of currently for information on the HTC U12. While some phones, like the Galaxy S9, tend to leak in their entirety before launch, we’re simply too far out from the launch of the U12 to know what HTC has in store for us currently. Last year’s flagship device, the HTC U11, wasn’t launched until June of 2017, and its successor, the HTC U11+, was launched in November (however, that device never made it to North America). Needless to say, we’re a few months off from the launch of a true successor to HTC’s surprisingly-great U11. Despite Google purchasing part of HTC’s smartphone team to work on new Pixel devices, the company remains dedicated to creating new phones, even as carriers throughout the United States drop their phones from stores.
We might have a ways to go before we see the official unveiling of the U12, but the end of January saw a major leak that displayed HTC’s next device in its full glory. At an event displaying upcoming 5G technology in Taiwan, HTC showed off an unnamed, partially obscured device that was capable of achieving 800mbps down. On February 5th, Evan Blass confirmed via tweet that the phone was, in fact, the HTC U12, or “HTC Imagine.” Based on what we can see in the two photos of the device, the 18:9 aspect ratio display from the U11+ will return on the U12, offering users a modern design with slimmer bezels, and the phone will likely have the Snapdragon 845, considering its the first Qualcomm chipset to include the 5G-ready X20 LTE modem. We’re sure the device will also ship with Android Oreo, albeit with modifications from HTC, and that the fingerprint sensor has likely been moved to the back of the phone (again, similar to the HTC U11+).
This is certainly not a lot of information to spread about an unreleased device, especially when nearly every other phone on this list has more rumors and confirmed information. But the U12 is young, and this is by no means the end of the run for information on the phone. We expect to see more leaks and rumors about the U12 as time goes on, since both the U11 and U11+ leaked well before their respective announcements. Take this as a confirmation that HTC isn’t throwing in the towel yet. A new flagship device from the company is coming soon, and keep checking back here to learn all about it throughout the coming months.
This one is the definition of a rumor, and everything from here on out should be taken with several grains of salt. Still, rumors about a “Galaxy X” device have been growing in popularity lately, so it makes some amount of sense to address the rumors in our roundup of the most exciting upcoming Android devices. The idea of a Galaxy X has been percolating for some time now, and the main gimmick of the device centers around a flexible, foldable display that would allow for a device to be more portable while offering a tablet-sized display. Samsung has been demoing flexible display technology for some time now at trade shows, and we’ve seen rumors pop up time and time again that the company would finally ship such a device, starting way back in 2016. Whether it’ll happen this time or not is up for debate, but here’s what we know.
In 2014, Samsung released a concept video of a foldable device, following years of demoing the tech at shows like CES with journalists in tow. That flexible display technology eventually gave way to the Galaxy Note Edge, with a single curved edge, and later led to the Galaxy S6 edge, S7 edge, and finally the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which ship by default with a curved display on both sides. Still, while the display was curved, the phone itself is hardly flexible. That device, the one teased in the 2014 concept video, hasn’t been seen since, though Samsung has shown a willingness to try to get the device released as soon as possible.
The phone was first rumored to be launched in 2016, a date that came and went without comment from the company. The “Galaxy X” name first came last year, when the device was reported to be launching in Q3 along with the Note 8. Then in September, Dongjin Koh, president of mobile business at Samsung told South Korean reporters the company wanted to launch the device (referred to as a “flexible Galaxy Note”) but still had a few hurdles to overcome, and wouldn’t be willing to launch the phone until it was fully baked and ready. Now, in early 2018, we have the latest set of rumors that seem to hint to the device coming by the end of the year, along with some basic facts about the phone that might make even the coldest among us excited for the device.
Along with the rumored release date, we know the phone is currently slated to feature a 7.3″ flexible OLED display that would fold in half. This comes from The Electronic Times, a publication in Korea, who also report that Samsung has officially set a schedule to move from development to production. This would mean the device may not be publically available before next year, but we would officially know about it before the year is over. We can also expect the phone to use Samsung’s Exynos 9810 chip throughout most of the world, except for in the US and China, where it would presumably use the Snapdragon 845 (if the device isn’t put into production before 2019, expect these chipsets to change).
For now, that’s really all we know. If we’re being honest, you shouldn’t plan your purchase schedule around the rumored Galaxy X. It’s been rumored and delayed enough that we really don’t have any clue when Samsung will be able to ship a real product that meets their goals. Still, after almost a full decade of R&D and working on the device, it seems like Samsung is dedicated to shipping this foldable phone at some point. We’ll keep an eye on any future rumors and updates for the device, but until then, you’re better off looking at the Galaxy S9 and S9+ for Samsung’s latest and greatest.