It sure is 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. The Samsung Galaxy S8 looks promising, but we can’t blame you for wanting to look at other options.
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, now that we’ve seen the future at CES, Mobile World Congress, and beyond, here are five upcoming Android phones worth waiting for. And if you’re impatient, we’ve also included links to great phones that are available right now.
LG X Power 2
What good is a powerful phone without a battery long-lasting enough to power it? As its name implies, the LG X Power 2 makes battery life a priority with its 4,500mAh fast-charging battery, bigger than its predecessor’s as well as most other phones’. In practical terms, that translates to 15 hours of watching video, 14 hours of GPS navigation, and 18 hours of web surfing.
The rest of the specs are fine but not as exciting in comparison. There’s an 1.5GHz eight-core processor of unknown origins, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, Android 7 Nougat, and a 5.3-inch 720p screen. Not great, but not bad either, especially when you consider the battery and affordable price. Batteries that bit off more than they could chew were the cause of the Note 7’s woes. Hopefully the LG X Power 2 won’t suffer the same fate.
BlackBerry is BackBerry! The last time the company put its research in motion toward an Android phone, the result was the mostly ignored Priv. But an Android phone with a keyboard is an idea worth pursuing. So here comes BlackBerry KeyOne (formerly Mercury), the first collaboration between BlackBerry and its new masters at TCL, the folks behind Alcatel phones.
Along with its hardware keyboard, the BlackBerry KeyOne will support all Android apps. It has a USB-C port and 3GB of RAM. Those are confirmed details. Rumors also say the phone will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 8MP and 18MP cameras, and a 3400mAh battery. We should know the whole truth pretty soon. Maybe the smartphone world will fall back in love with BlackBerry. How crazy would that be.
Asus Zenfone AR
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. Meanwhile, Google is also covering its mobile VR bases with its new Daydream initiative. This April, the Asus Zenfone AR will be the first smartphone to support both Tango AR and Daydream VR.
Beyond these new and exciting reality-altering features, the Asus Zenfone AR has promising specs. It includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, a 2K AMOLED screen, and some intriguing photo features like a night mode and photo merging mode. So it’ll be good for more than just strapping to your face.
We praised the OnePlus 3 (pictured below) for the performance it offered in a $400 phone. Rumors surrounding its successor, the OnePlus 5 (they’re skipping 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 5, but we expect it to come out sometime this spring. So you’ll have to wait a little longer, but if the rumors are true, it might be worth it.
Nokia 8, 9
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. Probably coming later this year, the Nokia 8 and its premium counterpart the Nokia 9 might feature edge-to-edge displays very similar to the Galaxy S8 (5.5-inch and 1440 x 2560 pixels on the 9 specifically), two vertical 22.1MP cameras, and Android 7.1 Nougat from the start. Other specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with eight, 2.5GHZ CPU cores and an Adreno 540 GPU plus 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Is Nokia back?