Maybe you’re looking forward to upgrading to a brand-new smartphone this year, or maybe you’ve resolved to grit your teeth and make your old smartphone last another year. Either way, we think that it’ll be difficult for any tech enthusiast to get through 2016 without being tempted by the brand-new smartphones that companies are already unveiling. From Samsung’s Galaxy S7 to LG’s G5, Huawei’s P9 and P9 Plus to the Nextbit Robin or the iPhone SE, 2016 has already brought an array of interesting phones. But there are still more to come. Read on to learn all about the most interesting smartphones that are expected to launch later this year.
1. HTC One M10
The stakes are high for HTC to redeem itself and its line of flagship phones after the release of the flawed One M9, which was criticized for its close resemblance to the iPhone. Pocket Lint reports that the HTC One M10, associated with the codename HTC Perfume is going to launch on April 12. The new phone is expected to come to AT&T, according to reliable leaker Evan Blass, who also reports that the phone will land in U.S. retail stores the week of May 9.
It’s possible that HTC will move away from the “M” branding and simply call its next flagship the HTC 10. One of the biggest changes expected with the device is the removal of the BoomSound speakers, and HTC will reportedly focus on boosting the headphone performance instead. The phone is expected to take its design cues from the A9, not the M9, and may feature some degree of waterproofing. It’s also expected to feature a fingerprint scanner, a 5.1-inch 2560 x 1440 display (an AMOLED according to some rumors, or an LCD according to Blass), a 12MP camera, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage.
2. Project Ara
Project Ara is a modular smartphone that made our list of the top Google projects to watch in 2016. The phone consists of an endoskeleton that holds interchangeable modules, like the CPU, battery, camera, and display, and you’ll be able to change and upgrade those elements to customize, upgrade, or repair your phone. While we don’t know when Project Ara will launch, it’s possible that Google will share some details at I/O 2016, which is scheduled for May 18 to 20.
Computerworld reported in March that the project was beginning to show “signs of life” again after a long lull, with a revamped website and a new email address that developers can use to communicate with Google. The publication posited that the website changes might signal that updates are forthcoming at Google I/O, though there are plenty of questions surrounding the project, such as how Google will certify modules, how much a basic smartphone frame will cost, and what will happen if one of Project Ara’s main module developers, Toshiba, actually sells its chip business.
3. Sony Xperia Z6
Sony’s next-generation Xperia Z6 is the subject of lots of speculation and almost as much confusion. TechRadar reported in February that since the Xperia Z6 didn’t appear at Mobile World Congress, a September launch is looking most likely. At MWC, Sony introduced three new phones: the Xperia X, the Xperia XA, and the Xperia X performance. Sony didn’t confirm whether these are its new flagship phones — which would kill off the Xperia Z6 and the Z line — and conflicting statements about the future of the line didn’t clear things up.
We don’t know too much about what the Xperia Z6 could bring, but rumors indicate that it might bring a completely new design, perhaps with an all-metal frame. Other rumors indicate that it could feature a Snapdragon 820 chip, a 5.2-inch screen, technology like Apple’s 3D Touch, a 23MP camera, a fingerprint scanner, and dust and water resistance.
4. Asus Zenfone 3
Asus’s Zenfone 3 is expected to follow up the Asus Zenfone 2, which was one of 2015’s favorite affordable but powerful mid-range smartphone. The only complaint that most reviewers had with the Asus Zenfone 2 was that the display could have been better, so the Zenfone 3 is expected to integrate a higher-resolution display. Asus could introduce QHD screens for some Zenfone 3 models that launch this year, and this year’s phone is also expected to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, use Qualcomm chips instead of Intel processors, and integrate fingerprint scanners.
Android Headlines reports that according to recent leaks and rumors, the Zenfone 3 could feature a metal body and a display covered in 2.5D glass (a panel that features rounded edges). The phone could also gain a USB Type-C connector, laser autofocus technology, and a fingerprint sensor.
5. Lenovo’s Project Tango phone
Project Ara isn’t the only Google project that’s expected to arrive in 2016. Project Tango is collaborating with Lenovo to create the first Tango-enabled device for consumers using extra sensors that enable its camera to perceive depth. The platform will enable developers to create apps that “explore physical space around the user, including precise navigation without GPS, windows into virtual 3D worlds, measurements of spaces, and games that know where they are in the room and what’s around them.” The phone is expected to cost less than $500 and is slated to arrive in the summer of 2016.
6. Microsoft’s Surface Phone
While we don’t have much in the way of concrete evidence, it’s been speculated that Microsoft is going to introduce a Surface Phone this year. As Business Insider reports, the phone would be designed by the Surface team and would likely run Office and other software that businesses use everyday. The phone is expected to feature an AMOLED display, an Intel Atom x3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB to 128GB of internal storage. A recent report from Windows Central indicates that while the phone was expected to appear in 2016, it may be pushed back until early 2017.
7. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Though Apple isn’t expected to announce the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus until its usual September timeframe, there are already many rumors about the next iPhone. Some indicate that the new iPhone could get features like a twin-camera or dual-lens system, wireless charging, or a touchscreen with an integrated Touch ID sensor. Apple may even jettison the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of the all-in-one Lightning connector. The phones will likely be introduced at a press event mid-September, as is usual for Apple’s annual iPhone launch.
8. HTC Nexus phones
Last year, Google worked with LG and Huawei on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. While there might be two more Nexus devices in 2016, there may be just one manufacturer behind them both. Digital Trends reports that HTC may make two Nexus smartphones for Google this year, perhaps ones featuring 5-inch and 5.5-inch displays instead of the 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch displays of 2015’s Nexus devices. HTC last worked with Google on the Nexus 9 tablet in 2014. There’s a long time before the new Nexus devices launch, since they’re not expected until October, when the next version of Android appears, but early rumors indicate that HTC’s Nexus phones could feature a version of Apple’s 3D Touch technology.