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Thursday, 29 September 2016

5 upcoming Android phones that are worth waiting for...

It’s an interesting time to be an Android acolyte. The iPhone 7 is perhaps the most divisive iPhone ever, thanks to its infuriating decision to remove the headphone jack, causing more people to consider the alternative operating system. However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, one of the flagship Android phones, is literally bursting into flames. Seems like a no-win situation.
However, while the glut of different Android phones has its drawbacks (fragmentation mostly) the upside is you’re not limited to one questionable piece of hardware if you want a phone powered by that little green robot. So, with Android Nougat out and the holidays closer than you think, here are five upcoming Android phones worth waiting for.

Google Pixel Phone

The last time we updated this list we highlighted Google Project Ara, a completely modular smartphone that would allow users to customize nearly all aspects of the device. It sounded almost too good to be true, so it wasn’t too surprising when Google cancelled the device a few weeks ago.

But if you’re jonesing for a Google Android phone fear not. On October 4 Google will roll out its new line of Pixel phones. The HTC-manufactured phone will come in two varieties: the Pixel and the Pixel XL. Leaks suggest at least one of the the phones, probably the XL, will feature either a Snapdragon 820 or a 821 processor with 4GB of RAM and options for 32GB or 128GB of storage.
These new, non-Nexus phones will also differ from each in a few ways. Expect the Pixel XL to have a 5.5-inch Quad-HD OLED screen with a 2560×1440 resolution. A fingerprint scanner, 12-megapixel camera, and 8-megapixel front facing camera are also likely as is a 3450mAh battery. The smaller Pixel should feature a 5-inch HD 1080p screen and a 2770mAH battery. You don’t have to wait much longer for these ones.

Huawei Mate 9

Rumors about Huawei’s upcoming Mate 9 suggest the Chinese company is really trying to take the fight directly to Samsung and Apple with its flagship phone. The different configurations feature between 4GB to 6GB of RAM, 64GB all the way up to 256GB of storage, a 6-inch screen, and a custom Kirin 960 processor. More exciting though is the idea of two 20-megapixel rear cameras and an iris scanner. And thankfully the phone should run stock Android 7, so even with the custom chip you won’t have to worry about some unwieldy custom interface.

We should learn more details about the Huawei Mate 9 on November 8. Right now all the pricing rumors are converted from yuan, so estimates are $479 for the cheapest model and $700 for the premium model. In fact, we’re not even sure if the phone will come to America, but fingers crossed!

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro

Google Project Ara may be dead, but that wasn’t the only exciting Android innovation the company was working on. Tango is platform designed to turn mobile devices into the perfect augmented reality machines thanks to motion-tracking, depth perception, and area learning. And the first phone to support it, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, launches this fall.

In its addition to its Tango functionality, the Phab 2 Pro looks to a be a solid phablet. The Snapdragon 652 processor is “optimized for Tango,” the 6.4-inch QHD screen and 16-megapixel camera should give you a great view at your augmented reality, and the 4050mAh battery “turbo charges.” Other specs include 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, a fingerprint scanner, and an 8.9 mm aluminum unibody with “2.5D curved glass.” We’re big fans of augmented reality, especially compared to its VR cousin, so we can’t wait for the tech to be a bigger deal on smartphones.

OnePlus 4

Our sister site PCMag praised the OnePlus 3 (pictured below) for the performance it offered in a $400 phone. Rumors surrounding its successor, the OnePlus 4, suggest this trend will continue. Just look at some of these specs: 256GB of storage, 23-megapixel camera, 8GB of RAM, Snapdragon 830 processor, OLED display, USB-C and NFC support. Now consider all of that in a phone that costs less than $400 and comes with Android 7 Nougat out of the box.

We don’t know exactly when we’ll hear more about the OnePlus 4, but we expect it to come out sometime next spring. So you’ll have to wait a little longer, but if the rumors are true, it might be worth it.

Nokia’s Android Phone, the C1?

N-Gage aside, Nokia used to be a pretty great phone manufacturer. It was easy to see why Microsoft bought them. However, even the best Lumia phone in the world couldn’t make up for the fact that Windows Phone as a platform was never going to compete with Android or iOS. The devices languished and Nokia was once again sold.

Fortunately, unshackled from Microsoft Nokia is once again free to make smartphones with operating systems users want. And the company is wasting no time putting together a new Android phone, the C1, that should be coming sometime next year. Details are scarce, but leaked details and photos suggest the device will have an Intel Atom chipset and a 5-inch 1080p screen. It also might run Android 6 Marshmallow instead of the latest Android 7 Nougat, but missing out on the latest software is a problem Android users have had years to make peace with. We don’t know when we’ll hear more about the C1, or the two other rumored Nokia Android phones, but hopefully soon!

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