September is shaping up to be a really exciting month for the smartphone segment as a slew of smart devices are waiting to be unveiled. All major announcements are slated for this month including the new iPhones and the Galaxy Note 3. The phablet segment specifically will see a horde of options while we may also witness some redefining of the budget segment with the budget iPhone. So without further ado, here are some hot upcoming smartphone launches to look out for.
The iPhone 5S first made headlines just a few days after the iPhone 5 was launched last year. And just like the previous iPhones, it has been surrounded by a string of rumours, speculations and leaks about the launch date, specs and design. After a series of launch date possibilities and news about Apple 5S being delayed as the company is considering a larger screen, a recent report hints that the Cupertino company is finally set to pull the covers off the smartphone on September 10.
While the rumour of a larger screen seems to be fading off, the 5S is likely to feature a similar design as the iPhone 5. The highlight of the iPhone 5S is the rumoured fingerprint scanner, which will be accommodated under a raised scratch-free, sapphire home button. The device will rope in the latest iOS 7 while Siri is likely to come with some major improvements. The speech engine will be fine tuned and Siri will support new languages. One can expect it to be powered by the new version of Apple's processor (presumably called the A7) and Power SGX554MP4 graphics processor for better performance during demanding games and 3D rendering. The camera is also expected to pack in some improvements such as dual-LED flash. Apart from vanilla white and black shades, Apple plans to launch the iPhone 5S in gold.
The iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5
The iPhone 5C is none other than the alleged budget iPhone that Apple is expected to launch for developing nations like China and hopefully India too. However, it is believed that to cut down the cost, Apple has built the 5C using plastic or polycarbonate instead of anodized aluminium or metal. Leaked images clearly show that Apple has gone all colourful with the budget iPhone, as the leaked images show the device posing in several shades including red, blue, yellow, white and black. Along with plasticky volume controls, power button and mute button, the iPhone 5C will also get the bottom-firing stereo speakers, if the grille placement on some leaked images is to be believed. The iPhone 5C will get a 4-inch display just like the iPhone 5 but the resolution may not be higher than 640 x 1136 pixels.
On the camera front, it could get the 8MP megapixel found in the iPhone 4S. It could also get an LED flash. The 5C is likely to run on the older A5 chipset, which is obviously yet another attempt at keeping the cost low. The device will run on the latest iOS 7, but we won’t be surprised if the company drops some key features of the mobile OS for the budget smartphone. Apple may also drop AirDrop or photo filters - which are two of the key highlights of iOS 7 - to keep from straining the processor. The device will be competing with low-cost Android and Windows Phone smartphones in China and India, and as a differentiator, Apple could package the iPhone 5C with LTE capability. The iPhone 5C is expected to cost some where between $300 and $500, without a contract. This means the device won't come really cheap. If true, it would be far more expensive than the previously speculated price that was somewhere between $230 and $300 (Rs 12,000 and Rs 16,000 approx).
Sony Xperia Honami
Sony has been putting in some hard work building its Xperia lineup of smartphones. After the recent launch of the Xperia ZL, the company is all geared up for the launch of the Xperia Honami. Even before the new iPhones, we will see Sony showcase the Honami smartphone at the IFA on September 4. The Honami is said to be a camera-centric smartphone sporting a gigantic 20.7MP camera along with the capability to record 4K videos. We’ve also seen some leaked images taken from its camera. The company is likely to pair it with the Sony G-Lens. The camera also gets Timeshift burst, which borrows BlackBerry Time Shift’s name and ability to pick the best image from a group of images. Sony has created a new camera API, which allows developers to create add-ons for the camera app called "Xperia camera add-ons". Besides, other specifications of the Honami are likely to be a 5-inch 1080p Triluminos display with OptiContrast and X-Reality Engine technologies, Qualcomm's newest 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC, Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB of RAM. While earlier reports suggest a 32GB internal memory, new ones claim the device will come with 16GB on-board memory. It might just let users pick from both the options.
An alleged press image of the Honami
Dishing out a mini version of the smartphone seems to have become an upcoming trend among manufacturers. Having said that, the Honami Mini has already surfaced and will likely be unveiled at the IFA along with the flagship Honami. It will sport a smaller 4.3-inch Triluminos display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. The mini version of Sony’s flagship is likely to run on 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. What is really interesting is that Sony plans to retain the 20.7 megapixel camera in the mini version of the Honami as well. One can expect the same Sony G lens, f/2.0 aperture and 1/2.3 inch sensor.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Industry giant Samsung will be taking the wraps off its highly anticipated Galaxy Note 3 at the IFA next month. While a lot has been already said and written about the Galaxy Note 3, the rumour mills just don’t seem to halt. Recently Note 3’s country distribution list and patent filing were leaked. The leaked patent clearly shows tapered ends and well-rounded top and bottom plates. This makes it slightly different from the usual Note design that has been seen in the past. However, it should be noted that the patent doesn’t mention Note 3 anywhere, but does show a slot for the S-Pen.
What will the camera on the Note 3 be like?
The Note 3 will sport a large 5.7-inch display with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, with a density of 386 ppi. According to the earlier reports, the Note 3 will be made available in two versions – one with a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor and the other with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC. It is now known that the processor is going to be country-specific. During the launch, we will see two models - SM-N900 and SM-N9005. The SM-N900 will include a 3G radio and the Exynos 5420 Octa processor while the SM-N9005 with 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity will feature the Qualcomm processor. India will be getting the Exynos 5420 Octa processor model. While Galaxy Note 2 was one of the first devices to get the newly launched Android 4.1 last year, the Galaxy Note 3 may be the first to sport the latest Android 4.3. If the horde of news reports are to be believed, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 would equip 3GB RAM and 13MP camera with the new S Orb feature.
HTC One Max
The Galaxy Note 3 won’t be the only phablet to look forward to. HTC also plans to announce its One Max sporting a 5.9-inch display around the same time. We’ve already seen the leaked images, which will instantly remind one of the recent HTC One and HTC One mini devices. The One Max also known as the One T6 is said to be powered by a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S800 processor with 2GB of RAM. The 5.9-inch display will feature 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution. According to reports, it will come with an Ultrapixel digital camera and a 2.1MP front camera. Additionally, it is said that the smartphone will be fuelled by a 3300mAh battery, which is definitely a bare minimum for a full-HD screen. The leaked image also shows a fingerprint scanner. Knowing that the iPhone 5S will be featuring it too, we wouldn’t be surprised if fingerprint scanners become a standard smartphone feature in the future. The new picture also reveals the presence of three dock connectors. This could be indicative of an accessory being made available at launch.
Lenovo is slowly strengthening its smartphone portfolio. It plans to announce its 5-inch phablet along with the biggies at the IFA next month. Codenamed K6, the 5-inch phablet features a 1080p display, just like most of the high-end smart devices these days. It will be first heading to the Chinese market and the original version of the device came with the Intel Atom processor inside. However, recent reports reveal that it will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and the benchmark results of the smartphone are said to be really great. It is also expected to be a solid piece of hardware. With the Qualcomm processor, it is likely to be ready for a global launch.
How the new Lenovo smartphone could look
Nokia plans to foray into the phablet segment with its first device sporting a large 6-inch display. The company is currently testing the device codenamed “Bandit” with the latest version of Windows Phone. Following the current crop of high-end devices, it is likely to feature a 1080p display and come powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor. Bandit may not disappoint on the camera front with its purported 20MP shooter. The device is said to be slim and lightweight with a polycarbonate body. While earlier reports reveal that the device could be announced/launched in October or November, the latest rumour making the rounds claims that Nokia may announce Bandit some time next month. With major announcements in the phablet segment from other manufacturers slated for September, it seems to be just the right move.
So, we can be sure as hell that there won’t be dearth of smart device options for the rest of the year.