Big Phones On the Horizon
From flagships like the Galaxy S10 and Huawei P30 Pro to bargains like the Galaxy A50 and Pixel 3a, 2019 has already seen some very compelling smartphones. But things are about to get a lot more interesting. There is, of course, a new batch of iPhones and Pixels — not to mention Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 — due at then end of 2019.
All of the heavy hitters figure to make sizable departures from their predecessors. Apple will reportedly augment the iPhone XS' dual rear cameras with a third lens, while Google may deliver its first-ever flagship smartphone with facial identification and air gesture recognition. And after the safe and iterative Galaxy Note 9, we expect to see not one, but two variations of the Note 10.
You can expect a lot of foldable phones, too, like Samsung's long-awaited (and currently delayed) Galaxy Fold. Device makers and wireless carriers are also racing to bring the first 5G phones to the market just as networks based on the new connectivity standard start coming online now. The Galaxy S10 5G and LG V50 ThinQ 5G have led the charge, though they surely won't be the only 5G handsets to emerge before the year is out.
Here’s a peek at new phones in store for 2019 and beyond.
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Samsung Galaxy Fold (Summer 2019)
Samsung was eyeing an April 26 launch for its breakthrough foldable phone, though those plans were shelved while the company scrambles to get to the bottom of the display's fragility issues. Samsung says it's found a way to address the flaws and that it will soon announce a new launch date.
When it does eventually come out, the $1,980 Galaxy Fold will combine a 4.6-inch Infinity Flex display on the outside with a massive 7.3-inch panel on the inside. Samsung is using software to make the transition of moving from the small display to the larger one as seamless as possible. Thanks to a feature called App Continuity, anything open on the exterior screen will immediately be shown when you open the device, for a bigger look.
There will be a combined six cameras across the inside and outside, 512 GB of storage built in and 12 GB of RAM to keep all those multi-windowed apps humming along.
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Huawei Mate X (September 2019)
Huawei threw its hat in the foldable phone race with the Mate X, announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Mate X features a single display measuring 8 inches from corner-to-corner, that dominates the surface of the device in a way those on the Samsung's Galaxy Fold don't. It also has one triple-lens camera module, rather than the array of rear- and front-facing lenses in Samsung's handset. The result is a folding phone that, at least at the outset, looks a little more clever than its competitors from an ergonomics and design standpoint. Oh, and did we mention it's 5G, too?
At €2200, even its price puts the Galaxy Fold's to shame. Yet at the time of this writing, it's unclear when the Mate X will see the light of day. First, Huawei was blacklisted from working with American tech firms, including Google. Then, that ban was partially lifted, but Huawei still elected to delay the Mate X so it could shore up the device's durability in the wake of the Galaxy Fold debacle.
There's also the lack of 5G networks around the world playing a factor in the delay, which a Huawei executive blamed for the handset missing its planned summer launch. The Chinese firm is now saying the Mate X will begin shipping by September "at the latest," though in the arena of foldable phones, nothing is ever certain.
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Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL (Fall 2019)
For most of this year, we didn't know very much about Google's plans for its next flagship Pixel. However, that all started to change in June. First, we were treated to some renders from multiple sources. One showed a device with an Infinity-O-esque hole punch cutout for the selfie camera, while a later mockup depicted a device with an array of sensors above the display for 3D facial recognition. Then, Google went ahead and published a photo of the back of the device, confirming the new handset will carry dual-lens rear shooters.
There have also been rumblings that Google may employ a new kind of radar chip in the hardware, capable of reading minute, fine hand gestures in mid air. We're still relatively early in the rumor cycle, so it's anyone guess at this point what the final Pixel 4 will look like. However, if this run-up to launch goes anything like the last one, we should have a very, very clear idea of the handset well before the fall. Hopefully, Google can plug those leaks this time around.
iPhone 11 (September 2019)
We're only a few months away from Apple's next iPhones, and rumors are predictably out in full force. Analyst and all-around Apple soothsayer Ming Chi Kuo initially said Cupertino's future handsets would continue the dual-lens camera setup and probably ditch 3D Touch in an effort to keep costs down. Lately, however, we've heard that Apple will instead include a trio of cameras on the back, on at least the XS Max successor, similar to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro's elaborate imaging stack. And one rumor signals that Apple could embrace advanced 3D cameras from Sony in order to enable gesture control in games, sophisticated room-scanning capabilities and more. Either way, we are likely once again looking at a late-September launch for this year's round of iPhones, according to an internal schedule purportedly sourced from Verizon.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (August 2019)
With the 6.4-inch Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus actually being larger than last year's Galaxy Note 9 (by a tenth of an inch, to be precise) you may wonder what Samsung is planning for the Note 10. Interestingly, rumors have pointed to two versions of the flagship — one sized at 6.4 inches, and another, called the Note 10+ or Pro, at 6.7 inches. There may also be a 5G variant, and at least one of the models could carry a gigantic 4,500-mAh battery and fast charging, either at the 25W or 45W spec. An Infinity-O display, similar to the one that debuted with the S10, is expected too, alongside even slimmer bezels and a choice of triple- or quad-lens cameras on the rear, depending on the model. Improvements to the S Pen stylus may be in the cards, though we don't have specifics to go on as of yet — just a hunch, given the device's "Da Vinci" internal codename.
We'll find out what Samsung has planned soon enough: the company's scheduled a press event for August 7 where the Galaxy Note 10 is certain to be a featured attraction.
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Sony Xperia 1 (July 2019)
To set this year's flagship phone apart, Sony went wide, opting for a display with a 21:9 aspect ratio for the Xperia 1. To put that in context, the wide-screen phones popular today offer a 19:9 aspect ratio. Sony's display is more like a movie screen, making the Xperia 1 ideal for consuming movies and playing games.
You'll want to create content, too, though, thanks to the triple lens setup on the back of the phone, which includes a trio of 12-megapixel cameras that handle ultra-wide, telephoto and main camera tasks. A Cinema Pro mode adds plenty of settings to make your videos look big-screen perfect. The Xperia 1 costs $949, and is available for pre-order now in advanced of its July 12 release in the U.S.
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Motorola Razr (Unknown)
Could the iconic Motorola phone be making a comeback? The Wall Street Journal thought so back in February, reporting that Motorola could reintroduce the Razr as a foldable phone this year. Given that Motorola didn't make a peep about the device during Mobile World Congress, and subsequently squashed all Razr-related rumors around the time of the budget G7 series' launch, we're not quite as certain when we'll actually see the device in the flesh — though the phone's appearance in a Bluetooth certification document in April hints that it may be happening after all.
There are few details in the Journal report, other than the fact that the phone would be released in a limited run exclusively on Verizon and cost $1,500, which might dim your nostalgia somewhat. If and when it does break cover, though, the new Razr could potentially give Samsung's Galaxy Fold a run for its money.
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