Last year proved to be a big one for the mobile phone industry; Samsung really started to emerge as one of the most successful manufacturers with models including the Galaxy S3 and Note 2, Apple released its newest iPhone model, and the concept of the phablet emerged. But as last year ends, and 2013 begins, it is only natural to start wondering about what new models and features the New Year will bring.
Speculation is already rife regarding Apple’s next product launch, the iPhone 5S (or 6), despite the iPhone 5 having only just been released in the UK.
With the regular release of new Android phones, as well as the emerging Windows Phone, critics have suggested the Apple needs to do more to ensure that they continue to dominate the smartphone market.
Features that the new iPhone 6 is speculated to have include the long-awaited NFC, a chip which will enable users to pay for their groceries at the supermarket or clothes on the high street, just by using their mobile phone.
Other commentators have also suggested that the iPhone 6 will change its appearance in an attempt to keep up with the ever changing design of smartphones on the market today. Apparently it will have a larger screen measuring 4.8 inches, in accordance to other phones such as the Samsung S3. The new model will also be available in up to eight different colours, similarly to the iPod, rumours are suggesting.
Finally, wireless charging is a feature that has been bandied about in relation to Apple’s next iPhone model. Although Nokia has already developed a form of wireless charging technology for its Lumia models, rumour has is that Apple’s take on it will be bigger and better, allowing you to charge your device wirelessly from up to a metre away.
In accordance to Apple’s usual pattern in releasing new models of the iPhone, we can expect to see the new handset on the market in around September-October next year. However, many critics have insisted that Apple can’t wait that long before launching its new device; with disappointment over the iPhone 5 becoming widespread, even the most loyal of fans may have to turn to rivals Samsung or HTC if they can’t wait for yet another year…
The new model of the BlackBerry will be launched in January, Research in Motion (RIM) have recently announced. The company have revealed that, aside from anything else, the BlackBerry 10 will look entirely different from previous models and images online show a stark semblance to many of the other smartphone out there.
The new BlackBerry will move away from the traditional physical keyboard that the brand has made itself famous for, instead opting for a fascia consisting entirely of a touchscreen. The device has been specially designed so that it flows better, and the phone will enable you to access any application or screen with a single swipe of your finger using both horizontal and vertical scrolling.
The BlackBerry hub is another feature which is new for the BlackBerry 10 launch: all messages, emails, tweets or Facebook alerts are integrated into one single ‘hub’, allowing easier access to all forms of communication.
Blackberry Messenger (BBM) hasn’t gone untouched either, with individual contacts having been made more visual, and emoticons now being integrated into the touchscreen keyboard.
Also, RIM has not moved away from theBlackBerry’s main fan base: businessmen and women. The predictive text option built into the new model recognises a variety of different languages, and predicts words even when different languages are used in just one sentence.
However, whether these changes that will make the BlackBerry 10 resemble every other touchscreen smartphone on the market will work in its favour or not will have to be revealed in January.
Anonymous officials at the Samsung headquarters have announced the new Galaxy S4 will be launched in the first quarter of next year. Following the success of the S3, observers have got big hopes for the up and coming model, which is rumoured to have a 5 inch screen, slightly larger than the S3’s 4.8 inch display.
Features speculated the S4 to include are a massive 13 MP camera, which would tower over the S3’s 8 MP lens, and an unbreakable touchscreen. It is hoped that the model will come installed with Android’s Key-lime Pie OS, making it one of the most up-to-date Google operated smartphones on the market, and the model will also be 4G operable, to rival the iPhone 5. Some rumours also hint at the inclusion of NFC (a chip enabling you to purchase goods using just your mobile), though whether this technology is ready to be incorporated into the next generation of smartphones just yet remains to be seen.
The plans for the new S4 were leaked just days after Apple’s iPhone 5 was launched, demonstrating the bitter rivalry between the two manufacturers, and it has been suggested that Samsung’s S4 will be announced either at the Mobile World Conference (MWC) in February, or at their own launch event in April next year.
With Nokia having only just released the Lumia 820 sporting the new Windows Phone OS, what will the next year have in store for the Finnish manufacturer?
According to anonymous sources, and much speculation on the internet, Nokia has plans to launch a mid-range, less expensive series of models which will offer similar quality and features as the Lumia models do.
One model supposedly in the pipeline is the ‘Zeal’, which will have a 4.3 inch screen, a 1 GHz processor and the capacity to take on extra storage with an SD card slot. The new models will also continue in the Lumias’ streak in using the Windows Phone OS.
It has been rumoured that LG are due to release a new model next year, the Optimus G2, which is set to compete against Samsung’s successful phablet, the Note 2.
Commentators have speculated that the South Korean manufacturer will make the G2’s screen a whopping 5.5 inches, mimicking the display of the Note 2.
Although little more is known about the G2, insiders have revealed that it will feature a quad-core processor with up to 3GB of RAM, a larger battery and the most up-to-date version of the Android operating system. Depending on when the model is launched by LG will determine whether the phone’s OS will be the current Jelly Bean, or whether the G2 will make its first move over to Google’s new OS, Key Lime Pie.
While HTC has only recently announced its new phablet, the Butterfly, commentators are already speculating what the Taiwanese manufacturers have got in store for us in 2013.
Rumoured to appear early next year is the HTC M7, a 5 inch handset aimed at rivalling the Samsung S4 which is due to be launched in mid-2013. The model itself is also said to have similar features to the Samsung S4 including a 13 MP camera and a quad-core processor. However, it would seem that HTC are sticking to their guns regarding its choice to use uni-body casing, which users have previously been disappointed with, due to the inability to remove the battery or insert additional memory.
Because of speculation that the S4 will be released between February and April next year, critics have suggested that HTC will try to beat Samsung to it by launching the M7 in the first quarter of 2013. However, HTC’s flagship model for 2012, the One X, was announced at the Mobile World Conference, so who knows, next year’s MWC could bring with it many nice surprises…
Whilst most of what we know about the upcoming mobile phones for the New Year is based on speculation and guess work, one thing is clear: we can expect to see screen sizes getting bigger, operating systems getting more powerful, and camera quality becoming crisper by the minute.
Written by Charlotte Kertrestel