Smarter, faster, thinner, stronger, sleeker — it's the stable progression of smartphone design every year.
As this year comes to an end and 2016 is just around the corner, it's usually right about now that we start thinking about the future and what our smartphones will be like next year.
Apple iPhone 7
Of course, we'll have to begin with Apple simply because it is both the standard and the target to beat. Following its historical yearly debut schedule, the iPhone 7 should be announced by September. The rest of what we know are rumors.
For example, the latest one assumes that the next iPhone will be without a home button and a headphone jack. We do expect it to sport what could be Apple's next A10 chipset along with, of course, a new design, a better and possibly a new type of display, and complete waterproof protection. If there's anything we especially want most, it's longer battery life, too.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Always close on Apple's heels, Samsung is expected to announce the next Galaxy S7 in just a few short months, in February. Supposedly sporting the edgiest design yet in smartphones, the Galaxy S7 is rumored to have edged screens on all sides — left, right, up and down. Of course, copying Apple, the Korean conglomerate is also expected to incorporate a touch sensitive 3D Touch-like feature in its next flagship.
Right behind its Korean rival, LG has never really been one to spearhead the specs race in smartphones. If anything, LG's G lineup has long featured some of the best screens in the market. In 2016, LG is rumored to have one of the first 4K equipped screens on a smartphone with its LG G5. In addition, the G5 is said to have an iris scanner when it's finally released by the end of spring next year.
Sony Xperia Z6
Sony's still in the game, of course, despite its past few rough years in the industry. As expected, the Xperia Z6 will build on this year's Z5 Premium's 4K screen with all the usual goodies like waterproofing, all-day battery, and others. The key feature to watch out for is the camera. Sony manufactures the cameras in today's high-end devices including the iPhone, and the Xperia Z6's camera should be an industry leader when we finally see it by September.
HTC One M10
By 2016, we're also hoping that HTC gets back on track. Instead of reliving its glory days with the first One or living in another smartphone's shoes like the iPhone-clone A9, HTC's upcoming "One M10" is expected at the same time as the Galaxy S7. Unlike TouchWiz, HTC's Sense has always been one of the Taiwanese company's strengths. If HTC can better balance its OS with a more vanilla version of Android and create a truly unique, compelling design, its next smartphone could really be an "iPhone killer."
Microsoft Surface Phone
Will we see the end of the Lumia line in 2016? If so, that's because Microsoft may finally introduce its Surface line of phones. This would make sense as it would better align with the company's other products such as the original Surface and Surface Book. Beyond the usual smartphone fare of upgraded specs, we're hoping to see something only Microsoft can do on a smartphone as they've already done with their other Surface products.
Google Project Ara
Finally, instead of buying a completely brand new phone every year or so, Google's Project Ara in 2016 may have us just buying separate components instead. In short, we'd be able to build our own smartphones as we please, upgrading the camera at one point and then maybe the display or processor sometime later, without having to replace the entire phone completely. In and out of the news for the past years. In 2016, we're hoping to actually see something of it.