The world’s leading electronic companies all typically release new a new version of their flagship smartphone on a yearly basis. These companies include Apple, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, and LG. In most cases, these yearly upgrades are planned for the first half of the year in order to ensure that the new devices are in stock for the holiday season.
Looking ahead to 2018, all of the big smartphone brands are expected to have new smartphones hit the market. Details about these highly anticipated devices are still emerging, but based on previous trends and industry standards, an accurate forecast can be made in regard to their release date, price level, and feature set.
Apple iPhone 9
In 2017, Apple broke its normal release cycle and debuted three new smartphone devices: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were considered to be standard upgrades from the iPhone 7 line, while the iPhone X represented a shift to a new design approach. The iPhone X featured a display screen that spread to the device’s edges, as well as the FaceID system that allows users to unlock their iPhone using facial recognition technology.
For 2018, the question remains whether all future Apple smartphones will follow the lead of the iPhone X, or if the company will release three separate models for a second straight year. The company will most likely make the edge-to-edge display a priority for the iPhone 9, although rumors suggest the new release may bring back a home button to the bottom of the device.
If Apple sticks to its previous release cycles, it can be expected that the iPhone 9 will be revealed in a company event during early September. Depending on availability and supply chain resources, the device could ship to customers within a few weeks of the announcement.
In terms of pricing, the expectation for the iPhone 9 is that it will be available for a lower price than the current iPhone X, which starts at $999 USD for the base model. If Apple plans to offer the iPhone 9 in only one or two form factors, the smaller of the two will likely be priced at $799 or below.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+
Samsung is expected to release new versions of its flagship smartphone in 2018. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are expected to have similar aspect ratios and display specifications to the previous year’s model, but the new phones may feature an advanced iris scanner and dual SIM card support.
In recent years, Samsung has released new smartphones in the first half of the year. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are expected to be announced in March of 2018, although some rumors suggest they could be debuted earlier.
The new Samsung smartphones are expected to be aligned to the company’s previous pricing model. This means that the Galaxy S9 would start at $725 USD and the S9+ would start at $850 USD.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Galaxy Note is Samsung’s phone-tablet hybrid model. A new version of the device, likely to be called the Galaxy Note 9, may be in the works for 2018. The biggest rumor concerning the Galaxy Note 9’s feature set is that it may support fingerprint scanning through the front glass display. Also, the Galaxy Note 9 may feature either a curved display or perhaps even a flexible display.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is not expected to be released to the public until the second half of 2018. The best estimate based on previous history is for late August.
It’s expected that the Galaxy Note 9 will be the most expensive smartphone in Samsung’s lineup. The base device may start at $929 USD or higher depending on what features make it into the final release.
Nokia has only recently jumped back into the flagship smartphone market, and the company is expected to launch a new model in 2018 to improve upon the Nokia 8. The new device, the Nokia 9, is expected to have a 5.5-inch OLED screen and an all-metal body. It may also be one of the first smartphones to feature a fingerprint scanner on the back of the device.
The Nokia 9 could be announced as early as January 2018 and is expected to carry a high price tag, starting at $899 USD or higher.
In recent years, HTC stopped adding dual-cameras to the company’s flagship smartphone line. But a new model in 2018, the HTC U12, is expected to bring the functionality back. In addition, the U12 will likely run on the latest SnapDragon 845 chipset. Rumors also suggest that there will be improvements to the Edge Sense system, which allows users to squeeze the device to perform actions.
HTC typically announces new smartphone models in the middle of the year, so it’s expected that the U12 will be launched by May 2018 and shipped to customer by June. The price point for the HTC U12 will likely begin at $649 USD for the base model.
In 2018, LG is expected to release an update of its flagship smartphone with significant performance boosts. The LG G7 will likely feature the latest SnapDragon processor and may also feature a curved display and support for wireless charging. One question still to be answered is whether the G7 will have a removable battery like previous models, or if LG will switch to a slimmer form factor with the battery built-in to the rest of the device.
Rumors suggest that the LG G7 will be unveiled at the Mobile World Conference in late February, although the device may not ship to customers for several weeks after that. In terms of pricing, the G7 will likely follow the pricing model of previous LG smartphones and start at $729 USD.