2015 has been an epic year for smartphones so far with Samsung, in particular, making waves for its new glass and metal design on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. We’ve also seen the HTC One M9, the LG G4, the Huawei P8, and the Japanese-exclusive Sony Xperia Z4. As we head closer to the second half of the year we can look forward to many more devices from Samsung, LG, Motorola, Sony, OnePlus, and others.
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With that in mind, we take a look at some of the most anticipated phones that are expected to arrive in the second half 2015. Just remember, not all of these devices have been confirmed to even exist, so take the rumored specs and details with a grain of salt.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Samsung has been the top dog in the phablet market for years, and last year’s Galaxy Note 4 absolutely lived up to the hype. Although the device was pretty pricey compared to other smartphones on the market, the Note 4 featured top of the line specifications, build quality and experience. So what could the company do to improve with the Note 5? According to a recent report, it looks like we’re already getting some of that information.
Recent rumors suggest that, unlike the Note 4 and Note Edge of last year, this year’s Note 5 and Note Edge 2 won’t be exactly alike this time around. Talking specifically of the Note 5, the device will reportedly have either a 2K or 4K Super AMOLED display along with an Exynos 7422 processor and an in-house modem. It’s also possible that the Note 5 could offer up an all-in-one ePop solution, which means the CPU, GPU, storage, modem, and RAM will all be combined into a single chip.
We haven’t heard any rumors regarding the Note 5’s chassis, though the recent switch to glass and metal on the Galaxy S6 makes us wonder if Samsung will switch to more premium materials with its upcoming phablet. The switch to an all-glass design is bittersweet – on one hand, the phone feels much more premium, but on the other hand, Samsung needed to do away with the removable battery when it ditched the plastic in the S6. Samsung has been experiencing a ton of feedback, both positive and negative, from diehard fans, so we’re not sure what the company plans to do. It’s also possible that the Note 5 could feature a real leather back, similar to what we saw on the LG G4.
LG G4 Note
LG has tried making its way into the phablet market for years, first with 2011’s Optimus Vu, then with the G Pro line in 2013. Both of these devices lacked any real stylus integration and software that was optimized for their larger screens, which was ultimately why both devices failed. But it seems that LG is now looking to get back into the phablet market, in hopes of taking on Samsung’s Galaxy Note line and Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.
LG filed for a trademark back in December for products called the G Pen and the G Scrawl. While the descriptions for these filings were pretty vague, there has been speculation that the G Pen could be a special stylus designed to compete with Samsung’s S Pen from the Note series. As for the G Scrawl, it seems plausible that this could be some kind of software feature that works in conjunction with the G Pen. Not many details have been outed regarding these two filings quite yet. We’ve also heard that LG is planning to launch a smartphone in H2 of this year that will “stand above the G series“. Whether the company is referring to a phablet or not, it seems entirely possible that the smartphone will have a large screen, seeing as how LG just recently filed a patent for the name “LG G4 Note”.
We have little to no information on the device’s specifications so far. What’s for certain, though, is that the device will likely have better stylus integration than we saw with the Optimus Vu and better-optimized software than on the G Pro line.
Motorola Moto X (2015)
Unlike other offerings from LG and Samsung, Motorola’s recent flagship devices have featured a different philosophy. Instead of trying to cram in the best specifications on the market, the 2013 and 2014 Moto X devices were somewhat reserved on the spec front, most likely because Motorola wanted to keep the cost down to a price that more users could afford. Combining decent specifications, a more affordable price point, the customization options of Moto Maker and a vanilla Android experience, the Moto X 2014 was one heck of a smartphone. So what could Motorola change with its next flagship?
According to a Reddit account by the name of AndroidLeaks, a new mystery Motorola device has been spotted being tested on Verizon’s network near the Chicago area. The phone is running Android 5.1 Lollipop and sports a Quad HD display. Another rumor claims that the new Moto X will have a 5.2-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 4GB RAM, a 16MP rear-facing camera, a 5MP front-facing camera and a respectable 3280mAh battery. Both of these sources are relatively unknown when talking of leaks, so this list of specifications should be taken with a grain of salt.
On the design front, we can probably expect the new Moto X to be customized through Moto Maker, and feature the classic Motorola design language we’ve grown to love.
When we first heard about the startup OnePlus, it was hard to know what to think. The new company seemingly came out of nowhere, promising a “flagship killer” that would deliver big specs at a small price. It also promised to “never settle” and to break the mold on what to expect from a smartphone. Partnering with Cyanogen for the software, the OnePlus One instantly stood out from the competition and became one of the most anticipated flagships of 2014.
Once the dust settled and the OnePlus One actually released, it was abundantly clear that, despite the never settle moniker, the phone was far from perfect with some minor issues relating to customer service, quality control, and even marketing. While the OnePlus One didn’t necessarily live up to all of the company’s initial hype, the OPO still remains one of the best handsets for those looking for flagship-level specs with little cash to spare. For the OnePlus Two, we expect much of the same philosophy to continue.
While very little is known about the OnePlus Two, Carl Pei recently revealed a pretty big hint on Twitter by asking how much people would be willing to pay for a Snapdragon 810 powered OnePlus 2. He further hinted that the company might be aiming for a price of around $400. More recently, Cyanogen and OnePlus have also split ways, so we can expect the ONT (OnePlus Two) to feature the company’s own in-house Oxygen OS.
As for when we might see the handset? The OnePlus 2 is expected to arrive sometime in Q3, though nothing more specific than that has been announced. OnePlus also plans to release a second handset in 2015, but it’s unclear when this other device will be announced or what kind of specs it might pack.
Sony’s next global flagship
Once one of the kings of portable electronics, Sony hasn’t had the easiest time in the smartphone era. While the Sony Xperia Z series has been praised for its beautiful design and clean UI, limited marketing and availability have kept it from really gaining much traction, particularly in North America. After rumors surfaced that Sony was finally slowing down its release cycle in order to deliver a more substantial upgrade from the Xperia Z3, the Sony Xperia Z4 was quietly outed in Japan, offering a minor upgrade to the Z3 with essentially the exact same body and only minor improvements like the jump to a Snapdragon 810 processor.
Since then, Sony has kept mum on its plans for an international release for the Xperia Z4, leading to rumors that Sony might have a more substantial “global flagship” in mind, with the Xperia Z4 staying a Japanese exclusive.
So what will Sony deliver next? It depends on what rumor you get behind. A new report from Evan Blass suggests the Z4 will make its way outside of Japan and is heading to Verizon in the United States. On the other hand, a report surfaced last month claiming that Sony would resurrect the Xperia P series, creating a unique flagship spec’d device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage space, a 5.2-inch Full HD display, a 12.1MP rear camera, a 5.1MP front camera, and a positively huge 4,240 mAh battery.
It is certainly possible that the Xperia P2 is the upcoming “global flagship”, while the Xperia Z4 will remain a limited release primarily for the Asian market, but it’s really hard to say for sure. Regardless of what happens, we are more than a little curious to see where Sony goes next.
Xiaomi has certainly had a busy few months. The company first broke a world record for selling 2.11 million smartphones in just 12 hours, and soon after, released the powerful mid-range Mi 4i. Shortly after, the company released the Mi Note Pro, which offers incredible specifications for a super cheap price point. So what’s next for the company? Thanks to a recent leak, we now have a brief look at Xiaomi’s 2015 roadmap, including a few supposed specifications for the company’s next flagship, the Mi 5.
Among three other handsets displayed on the roadmap, Xiaomi’s Mi 5 handset is set to launch sometime around November of this year. It’s the most high-end device out of the bunch, featuring a 5.2-inch Quad HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, and a 20.2MP rear-facing camera. We aren’t entirely sure that the leak can be trusted 100%, so we need to take this spec list with a grain of salt.
We haven’t heard many reports on the design of the device, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the Mi 5 featured the same design language that’s found on the Mi Note – 2.5D glass construction, metal frame, and chamfered edges. The launch of this device is still pretty far off, so we’re really just speculating at this point.
The next Nexus phone (or phones?)
Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6 … where will Google go from here? While nothing is set in stone, early rumors indicate that Google might be breaking tradition with the next Nexus phone, in more than one way. First, Google typically keeps the same manufacturer for at least two Nexus devices, but the next-gen Nexus might not be from Motorola at all. Second, there are some rumors suggesting Google may end up with two Nexus phones this year.
Let’s start with the Nexus phone that has the most substantial rumors surrounding it, the Huawei Nexus.
The first rumors regarding a Huawei Nexus surfaced back in March, though at the time it was unclear whether Huawei’s alleged Nexus was a phone or a tablet. More recently, however, a respected Chinese analyst claimed that the Huawei Nexus would be a 5.7-inch smartphone with a Snapdragon 810 on board, and since then there have been numerous reports across the web claiming much of the same.
While we still have no concrete information on whether or not this phone even exists, a Google Huawei partnership would make a lot of sense. First, Huawei has been working hard to make a comeback in the United States, a region that it has never had a very strong presence in to begin with, due partially to mistrust of the brand’s connection to China. While devices like the Mate 2 and SnapTo have helped them slowly build a small presence in the U.S., partnering for a Nexus would be a huge win for Huawei and a way to better legitimize their brand for North American customers that are unfamiliar with the company.
As for why Google might be interested in working with Huawei? A recent earnings report from Google suggests that the Nexus 6 hasn’t been nearly as successful as past endeavors, likely due to pricing. Huawei would not only allow them to be more aggressive with pricing in 2015 (once again), Huawei is also known for creating premium experiences (both with the P8 and Mate 7) at rather low asking prices compared to similarly spec’d flagships. If that’s not enough of a reason, Google has also been actively attempting to break into the Chinese market, and partnering with a well-known Chinese brand could certainly help with this effort.
A possible second Nexus?
Recently there have been early murmurs of a possible second Nexus phone, in addition to the rumored Huawei device. Supposedly, LG will be the brand behind the second phone, which will be a second-gen iteration of the Nexus 5. While this is still a VERY early rumor and one we’ve held off on reporting in any stand-alone news posts, we thought it deserved at least a short mention here.
Several reports have hit the web suggesting that LG will create a Nexus with a smaller display, likely around 5.2-inches, that will be based around the LG G4 or even the rumored G4 Note’s specs. Again, nothing substantial is known about this device, but a number of Nexus 4 and 5 fans are desperately hoping that the rumor of a non-phablet Nexus phone proves true and LG would certainly make sense as the brand to partner with for this endeavor, given the success of LG’s earlier Nexus phones.
Keep in mind there’s a pretty big chance this phone doesn’t actually exist and is merely a product of rumor — but it could happen.
This is by no means a complete list of every phone coming in 2015, as we can also expect new flagships from Huawei, Oppo, and perhaps a few others. That said, these are the flagships that we are currently most intrigued about. What about you, which of these rumored next-gen devices are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments.
Jimmy Westenberg contributed to the creation of this post.