There can be no denying the fact that 2017 was a quite a stellar year for smartphones -- bezels packed up their bags and left, dual cameras became ubiquitous, stock Android made its way to budget smartphones and advanced features like facial recognition, artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented reality made their way out of science fiction books into reality.
Now however, it is time to look ahead and see what 2018 has in store for us. Foldable displays, even thinner bezels and better screen to body ratios, in-screen fingerprint sensors and advanced artificial intelligence are some of the trends to look forward to this year. And along with the usual suspects like OnePlus, Apple and Samsung, we have the comeback king in the form of Nokia vying for smartphone supremacy.
Here are the top 7 smartphones to look forward to in 2017:
After a pretty successful 2017 which saw the launch of the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, Nokia 3, Nokia 7, Nokia 8 and Nokia 2 Android powered smartphones, HMD Global looks set to consolidate its position in 2018. The Finnish company is expected to launch the Nokia 9 flagship in the first half of 2018 (possible January 19) alongside a 2018 refresh of the Nokia 6.
Nokia 9 image on Weibo
The Nokia 9 is expected to slot in above the Nokia 8 and compete with the iPhones and Samsung Galaxy Notes of the smartphone world. HMD Global's first high-end flagship is expected to come with the Snapdragon 835 processor, a 3,250mAh battery, a 5.5-inch OLED display manufactured by LG, 128GB of internal storage and dual cameras on the front as well as the back.
Rumours point towards HMD Global embracing the bezel-less mania with the Nokia 9 which is expected to come with an 18:9 display. The Nokia 9 is also expected to carry forward the OZO audio and Bothie features HMD Global introduced in the Nokia 8. OZO audio allows for the capture of 360 degree surround sound while Bothie allows users to record video/capture photos from both the front and rear camera at the same time.
If there is one thing we can bet on, it is the launch of the OnePlus 6 in 2018. Ever since the OnePlus 3, One Plus has followed a six-month upgrade cycle which has both angered and pleased its user base. Last year as well, the company followed the OnePlus 5 with the OnePlus 5T which improved upon it in a few key areas such as the display, design and cameras.
Rumours claim that the OnePlus 6, which is expected to launch in June 2018, will come with a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the display - something that Apple reportedly tried and failed in the iPhone X. Furthermore, the device is expected to be powered by Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 845 processor and feature an 18:9 display similar to the one found on the OnePlus 5T.
Samsung Galaxy S9
Samsung's answer to the iPhone X is set to launch in March 2018 with a tease expected at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. There is a lot riding on the S9's shoulders - the Galaxy S8, which received critical acclaim as well as mass user acceptance is going to be a tough act to follow.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are set to be refined versions of their predecessors with similar designs and displays. Both smartphones are expected to carry forward the bezel-less design and "infinity" display Samsung introduced with the S8 and S8+. Samsung is expected to tweak the design slightly by moving the fingerprint sensor beneath the all new vertical dual camera setup. The awkward fingerprint sensor location on the S8 and S8 Plus has been met with a barrage of criticism from users and critics alike.
Image credit: BGR
The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are set to be powered by Qualcomm's upcoming 10nm-based Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM in the former and 6GB of RAM in the latter. Both smartphones are expected to come with 64GB of internal storage which will be expandable via a microSD card. On the imaging front, the S9 is expected to come with a single rear camera while the S9+ is set to come with a dual camera setup.
Google Pixel 3
Going by Google's usual timeline, we can expect the third generation Pixel smartphones to land in October 2018 and give the iPhone X (2018) a run for its money. Not much is known about the next generation Pixel devices as of now apart from the fact that not two but three Pixel smartphones are anticipated for 2018. This hints at a cheaper Pixel smartphone that could be priced in line with old Nexus devices.
According to DroidLife, the three devices are codenamed Crosshatch, Albacore and Blueline. We can expect the 3rd generation Pixel smartphones to run the latest version of Android - Android 9.0 - out of the box and be powered by Qualcomm's upcoming flagship Snapdragon 845 processor.While storage is likely to remain at 64GB and 128GB (with no support for expansion), Google might finally increase the RAM from 4GB to 6GB this year. On our list of wishes, we hope that Google removes bezels from the cheaper smartphone this time around and equips the same with an 18:9 display as well.
iPhone X (2018)
Released to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, the iPhone X is by far the most radical update to the iPhone yet thanks to its all new bezel-less design, future forward AR features, a blazing fast processor, Face ID, Animojis and all new gesture based controls.
The iPhone X was easily the most hyped and anticipated smartphone of 2017. And is surely going to be a tough act to follow. Even though the iPhone X was met with great reviews, it still feels like a first generation product with quite a bit of room for improvement. As such, the second generation will probably iron out most quirks.
The lack of a fingerprint sensor is the biggest drawback in the iPhone X. Reports claim that Apple ditched the TouchID sensor in the iPhone X after they failed to embed it underneath the display. With the technology becoming cheaper, Apple is finally expected to achieve their goal of embedding the Touch ID sensor underneath the 2018 iPhone X's display.
Rumours also claim that Apple will introduce three versions of the iPhone next year with an iPhone X-like bezel-less design - two OLED models (6.3-inches and 5.8-inches) with a glass back and an LCD variant (6.1-inches) with a metal back. Unlike the OLED models, the LCD variant will not support wireless charging.
Samsung Galaxy X
The iPhone X is not the only smartphone with X factor in town. Samsung is set to unveil a futuristic smartphone in 2018 that could very well change the course of the smartphone industry. The Samsung Galaxy X is expected to come with a foldable OLED display - a revolution that could define the next decade of smartphones just like the iPhone did in 2007 with its multi-touch technology.The Galaxy X has been in the pipeline for a long time now. Samsung showed off a clunky, albeit working prototype way back in 2011 which remained intact even after 100,000 folds. In September 2017, Samsung's president of mobile, Koh Dong-Jin hinted that the company is planning ti launch a phone with a foldable screen in 2018. We have to wait and see whether these claims ring true but if Samsung manages to pull it off, it will definitely be the most revolutionary device of the year.
Upcoming Sony flagship
Not much is known about this device at the moment. In fact, the name of the smartphone is also up in the air as of now. Some rumours claim that the smartphone will be called the Sony Xperia XZ Pro, some claim it will be called the Xperia XZ2 while others think it will be an update of the 4K laden XZ Premium in the form of the XZ1 Premium. It could also be the case that Sony launches all three as separate smartphones.
What is definitely sure is that Sony is working on a bezel-less smartphone to compete with the likes of the iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30+. The smartphone is expected to come with the either the Snapdragon 835 or 845 processor, a 4K display, 4/6GB of RAM and 64/128GB of internal storage.