2015 has been a bonanza year for smartphones, but there’s plenty more to come over the next 12 months: handsets are getting more powerful, designs are getting more innovative, and if you’re in the market for a new mobile next year you’re going to be spoilt for choice.
To give you an idea of what’s coming over the hill in smartphone terms, we’ve rounded up everything we know and everything we think we know about the greatest handsets of 2016: a lot of manufacturers like to play their cards close to their chests, however, so not all of this information is set in stone just yet.
The world’s most recognisable and well-known smartphone is a good a place to start as any, and Apple is almost definitely going to release another iPhone in September, as it does every year. After the ‘s’ updates of 2015 we should see the number tick up to 7, and it’s likely that the company will stick with the pattern of releasing a smaller (4.7-inch) and larger (5.5-inch) model for consumers to choose from.
Apple isn’t leaking much about the upcoming handsets but the rumours are the new phones could be more rugged and waterproof than the existing ones. The screen resolution is due for an upgrade this year, while insider sources suggestApple wants to ditch the headphone socket in favour of the Lightning port. We should get some more hints when iOS 10 is announced at WWDC in the summer.
Sony Xperia Z6
Sony has had a patchy 2015 as far as smartphone launches go, but the Xperia Z6 might well be enough to help the company’s smartphone division get back on track. While it might not set the world on fire in terms of sales numbers, Sony’s Xperia range represents some of the best-looking and most powerful handsets on the market.
So what can we expect in 2016? The early hints are that there are going to be no fewer than five different variations of the Xperia Z6, and the handsets are set to offer Sony’s version of the 3D Touch technology currently available in the newest iPhones. The traditional Xperia look should be in evidence again, while the usual dust and waterproofing are likely to be in place too. The indications are thatSony’s taking its time with its next flagship, so expect something significant in the next year.
Samsung Galaxy S7
All eyes will be on Apple’s biggest challenger in 2016 – Samsung has had a respectable level of success with its 2015 line-up, including those innovative Edge models, and it will want to capitalise on that momentum with whatever it’s planning next. A late February launch is a good bet, as Samsung often shows off its new handsets at Mobile World Congress around that time, but some rumours suggest the Galaxy S7 might appear even earlier in the year.
While the design changes from the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are expected to be minimal, the internal specs will get the usual bump and it’s possible thatnew kinds of extra-tough materials will be introduced too. Some reports indicate that Samsung could follow Apple’s lead by offering the Galaxy S7 in two separate sizes. It should be one of the first phones to break cover in 2016, setting the standard for the others to follow.
We were rather impressed with the LG G4 that launched in 2015, so LG has some high standards to stick to when 2016 rolls around. While there’s been no official confirmation, we would expect the South Korean company to unveil a brand new flagship phone during the next 12 months, which is likely to be called the LG G5 – the outfit might also continue to help Google with its Nexus initiative.
Like the Galaxy S7, it’s highly probable that the LG G5 is going to appear in February or March, and whispers from the supply chain suggest it’s going to feature a premium, all-metal body. Apparently a big spec upgrade is on the cards and the integrated camera is another area where LG is tipped to make some big improvements. It might even feature an iris scanner so you can unlock your phone just by looking at it.
HTC One M10
HTC has made its future intentions pretty clear with the One A9 handset it recently launched: the company is prepared to ape the design and approach of other handset makers if it means getting a foot back in the door of the market. The HTC One M9 had a lot to commend it, but it failed to capture the imagination of the public, and the manufacturer is going to want to make sure that its 2016 flagship ticks all the right boxes.
Details of what we can expect to see from the HTC One M10 are pretty thin on the ground – unless you count the aforementioned One A9 as being a significant signpost – but as with the forthcoming handsets from Samsung and LG we think it’s going to appear in the first third of the year. Wireless charging could be in the mix, and it’s a safe bet that the phone will feature significantly improved internal specifications – we should also see a bump for the 1080 x 1920 screen resolution HTC has stuck with in recent years.
Now check out our pick of the best smartphones