Even in the fast-paced world of tech, where companies are constantly one-upping each other to be on the bleeding edge, you’re bound to hit a lull now and then. And by all indications, it appears that’s exactly where smartphones are at this very moment.
The industry is in something of a holding pattern right now. There are two major releases on the docket for this month — the OnePlus 6 on May 16, and HTC’s next flagship (believed to be the HTC U12 but technically unconfirmed) on May 23. There have also been rumblings of a long-overdue successor to the iPhone SE dropping at some point in the next few weeks, with the spotlight shining on Apple’s WWDC 2018 on June 4 as a possible venue for the announcement.
Then there are the phones we’ve already seen. Motorola’s new Moto G6 and E5 look to be solid budget buys, but we’re still waiting for those to hit store shelves. Meanwhile, the LG G7 ThinQ — the device the South Korean tech giant was counting on to claw back some ground against Samsung’s Galaxy S9 — emerged not with a bang, but a whimper.
It’s just not a good time to buy a smartphone, and things look to remain that way for at least another few weeks. If your once-trusty handset is burning a hole in your pocket, we suggest enduring the heat for just a little bit longer — at least until we see what OnePlus and HTC have been working on in the flesh.
OnePlus in particular produces its handsets in very limited production runs (the OnePlus 5T notoriously sold out after just four months), so that may pose an exception to the rule. If you’re eyeing a OnePlus 6, that’s probably a device you should jump on as quickly as it goes on sale, likely during the last week of May.
Of course, the most highly-anticipated phones are usually saved for the end of the year, where Apple and Google introduce their newest premium hardware and set the course for imitators in the process. Samsung typically unveils a new Galaxy Note product around that time as well, which you can expect to raise the bar established by the company’s more mainstream Galaxy S line.
As 2018 rolls on, we’re beginning to get a clearer picture of how those devices will look, too. All of Apple’s upcoming iPhones (save for that rumored iPhone SE successor) are expected to sport notches as customers continue to snap up iPhone Xs. The Pixel 3, which comparatively remains shrouded in secrecy, may even get a cheaper variant which could emulate the kinds of Android One phones we’ve been seeing more of lately. Meanwhile, a flurry of reports suggests Samsung will finally bring under-screen fingerprint sensing to the Galaxy Note 9.
None of this is to say the devices that will arrive over the summer months aren’t worth your attention — quite the opposite, in fact. The OnePlus 5T was one of our favorite handsets of 2017 because of the way it blended quality hardware and software with an extraordinarily low price compared to its flagship peers. We were also really impressed with HTC’s eye-catching U11, which dazzled us with its design, camera and power. We’re looking forward to the successors to both, and you should too.
Then again, buying a new phone isn’t always a matter of choice. Sometimes, fate forces our hand. If you find yourself in one of those emergency situations, you may as well try to get the best deal possible. The Galaxy S9, which only went on sale in March, has already seen some aggressive promotions from carriers, and those only figure to continue with Mother’s Day just around the corner.
But if you aren’t in a rush to pick up a new phone, or haven’t got a reason to be, hang on — your choices are about to get a lot more interesting very, very soon.