Best new An­droid de­vices in 2017

An­droid Ad­vi­sor staff round up the smart­phones, tablets, wear­ables and games we’re most look­ing for­ward to

Android Advisor - - Contents -


The best phones of 2017 will of­fer faster per­for­mance and longer bat­tery life, thanks to the new Snap­dragon 835 chip for which head­line per­for­mance fig­ures in­clude 25 per­cent faster graph­ics ren­der­ing and half the power con­sump­tion com­pared to the Snap­dragon 801. It’s also got 20 per­cent ex­tra per­for­mance vs the Snap­dragon 820, ac­cord­ing to Qual­comm. You can ex­pect

this pro­ces­sor to be paired with at least 4- but po­ten­tially as much as 8GB of RAM, a min­i­mum amount of 32GB of stor­age, large Quad-HD screens and class-lead­ing cam­eras.

HTC 11 Re­lease date: April 2017

HTC has launched its new phones at MWC in re­cent years, but skipped the show in 2016 and held its own event to un­veil the HTC 10 (pic­tured). We ex­pect its suc­ces­sor to be un­veiled at MWC in Fe­bru­ary and on sale in March 2017 with the up­grades you’d ex­pect: a faster pro­ces­sor, more RAM and – hope­fully – bet­ter bat­tery life.

An early leak sug­gests HTC is about to re­verse its for­tunes with the HTC 11 – if you thought the last two HTC flag­ships were a lit­tle bor­ing, pre­pare to be blown away by the HTC 11. If true, it will have a Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of stor­age, a higher-ca­pac­ity bat­tery with Quick Charge 4.0 and a 5.5in Quad-HD screen. That’s a very high-end spec, so we’d guess that the stan­dard model would have less RAM and stor­age.

LG G6 Re­lease date: March 2017 (TBC)

LG is ru­moured to ditch its mod­u­lar de­sign for the G6 and po­ten­tially adopt a new glass front and rear. In com­mon with the Sam­sung Galaxy S-se­ries with which it com­petes it is likely to fea­ture fast wire­less charg­ing and see a pro­ces­sor and graph­ics bump to ready the phone for VR.

One of the most in­ter­est­ing ru­mours about the LG G6 is that it will fea­ture a new type of iris scan­ner that uses the same sen­sor as the phone’s front cam­era, a space- and cost-sav­ing mea­sure that is made pos­si­ble through use of a spe­cial fil­ter.

OnePlus 4 Re­lease date: June 2017 (TBC)

OnePlus has just an­nounced its OnePlus 3T, which is an up­graded ver­sion of the OnePlus 3 with a pro­ces­sor and bat­tery boost, plus a new selfie cam­era. It’s an im­prove­ment sure, but OnePlus 3 fans won’t be in a rush to up­grade.

More ex­cit­ing for OnePlus fans, then, will be the OnePlus 4 ex­pected in May/June 2017. Rather than the Snap­dragon 821 this phone will likely get the Snap­dragon 835. We could also see the 5.5in full-HD dis­play up­graded to a Quad-HD model.

Other ru­mours sug­gest the OnePlus 4 will come with 8GB of RAM, a 21- or 23Mp cam­era and a 3500- to 4000mAh bat­tery with Dash Charge. One thing we’re sure of is that it will run Oxy­genOS, a cus­tom UI that will be based on An­droid 7.0 Nougat.

Sam­sung Galaxy Note 8 Re­lease date: Au­gust 2017 (TBC)

Fol­low­ing the Note 7 prob­lems there are a lot of whis­pers about Sam­sung at the mo­ment. The fail­ure of the Note 7 has badly bruised its rep­u­ta­tion, and it’s hurt its bot­tom line. Some say it will look to mend its rep­u­ta­tion by an­nounc­ing the Note 8 in Fe­bru­ary 2017 along­side the Galaxy S8, while others

say it will drop its Note line al­to­gether. Sam­sung thinks dif­fer­ently, and it isn’t about to give up on its se­cond an­nual cash cow just yet. We’d ex­pect to see the Note 8 in Au­gust 2017.

Sure­fire specs in­clude a 5.7in Quad-HD or Su­perAMOLED screen with S Pen sup­port, a pow­er­ful pro­ces­sor and RAM combo ca­pa­ble of the very best mo­bile VR ex­pe­ri­ence, a dual cam­era, wa­ter­proof­ing and more.

Sam­sung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Re­lease date: April 2017 (TBC)

Sam­sung tra­di­tion­ally holds an Un­packed event in which it un­veils its new S-se­ries flag­ship the day be­fore MWC. In 2017 this trade show runs from 27

Fe­bru­ary to 2 March, so we ex­pect to see a new Galaxy S8 on Sun­day 26 Fe­bru­ary 2017.

We think there will still be two Galaxy S8 mod­els, but it will only be the size dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing their screens. In which case the S8 edge might in­stead be known as the S8 Plus, or sim­i­lar. In any case you should ex­pect more of the same metal and glass front/back de­sign it in­tro­duced last year in the S6 and in 2016 has ex­tended to the A-se­ries.

A big change in the de­sign, though, is likely to be the loss of the Home but­ton, with the finger­print scan­ner built into the now ‘bezel-less’ screen. The head­phone jack could go too, with Sam­sung ex­pected to favour USB-C for dig­i­tal au­dio.

When it ar­rives, you can ex­pect the S8 to be the fastest phone money can buy, with a top-ofthe-range pro­ces­sor and 6GB (or even 8GB) of RAM. There will more than likely be a su­per-high­res­o­lu­tion 5.1in screen – Sam­sung may even move up from Quad-HD to Ul­tra-HD, which is all the more likely given the im­por­tance be­ing placed on VR in An­droid Nougat, which this phone will run, al­though there are ru­mours we could see a larger 5.5in or even 5.7in panel.

Sony Xpe­ria Z6 Re­lease date: TBC

Sony ne­glected to an­nounce the Xpe­ria Z6 at MWC 2016, in­stead re­veal­ing a new Xpe­ria X fam­ily com­pris­ing the Xpe­ria X and XA. But this doesn’t mean the Sony Z6 is dead: never say never, says the com­pany, which has since clar­i­fied that it isn’t rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­ity at some point in the fu­ture.

Tablets Ama­zon Fire tablet(s)

Re­lease date: TBC

Septem­ber is the time of year Ama­zon tends to fo­cus on its Fire tablet up­dates, and in Septem­ber 2016 we were treated to a new Ama­zon Fire HD 8 with longer bat­tery life, twice as much stor­age, and an in­creased amount of RAM for faster per­for­mance.

But we’re still wait­ing for an up­date to the Fire 7 and Fire HD 10, which were an­nounced along­side the HD 8 in Septem­ber 2015. The for­mer has been es­pe­cially pop­u­lar as one of the cheap­est and yet still de­cent An­droid tablets money can buy, and has been a strong seller in the re­cent Black Fri­day sales and in the run up to Christ­mas.

In a new model we’d hope to see slightly faster per­for­mance and pos­si­bly more stor­age, and per­haps higher screen res­o­lu­tion. But th­ese are likely to con­tinue to be wal­let-friendly bud­get tablets that will appeal to cus­tomers pri­mar­ily for their value.

Google Nexus 7 (2017)

Re­lease date: TBC

We’ve seen var­i­ous An­droid tablets from Google over the years, in­clud­ing the Nexus 9, Nexus 10 and Pixel C, but none has proved so pop­u­lar with con­sumers as the Nexus 7. Of­fer­ing un­par­al­leled value and a de­cent spec­i­fi­ca­tion, you can still buy the Nexus 7 to­day.

We were teased with the idea that Google would fi­nally put us out of our mis­ery and un­veil an up­date to its Nexus 7 in 2016, but what we ac­tu­ally saw was a move from Nexus to Pixel with the re­lease of two new phones. Google has not con­firmed the death of Nexus, but while we’re still hop­ing for a new Nexus 7 we may in­stead see a Pixel 7.

Huawei is thought to be the man­u­fac­turer of the new Nexus bud­get tablet, tak­ing over from Asus which made the first- and se­cond-gen Nexus 7 tablets. In­spi­ra­tion is ex­pected to come from the Pixel C, though, and it’s pos­si­ble that as with that tablet Google will han­dle the man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Ru­moured specifications in­clude a 7in Quad-HD dis­play, the Qual­comm Snap­dragon 820 or Nvidia Te­gra X1 pro­ces­sor, 4GB of RAM, 4G sup­port and a 3000mAh bat­tery. The new Nexus 7 could even fea­ture a Force Touch sim­i­lar to that found in Ap­ple’s iPhones. It has to be said though, that’s an awe­some

– and slightly un­be­liev­able – spec­i­fi­ca­tion for what is ex­pected to re­main a bud­get tablet.

Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S3 8- and 9.7in

Re­lease date: March (TBC)

Sam­sung’s pre­mium Tab S line is among the very best tablets you can buy, and bet­ter than any­thing else we’ve seen in the An­droid world. We’re ex­pect­ing great things from the next up­date to the line-up, with the Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S3. Ac­cord­ing to Sam­mo­bile that should be in Q1 2017, and Sam­sung is ru­moured to be hold­ing an Un­packed event sep­a­rate to MWC in March.

We’ll more than likely see two Tab S3 mod­els, with a com­pact model mea­sur­ing around 8in, and a larger-screened tablet around 9.7in. Ru­mours abound that we could see a Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S

Edge, bor­row­ing from the curved-edge de­sign of the Galaxy S7 edge. How­ever, while a glass-rear tablet would be in­ter­est­ing, sketches of the Tab S3 found at the FCC sug­gest the de­sign will be re­mark­ably sim­i­lar to that of the Tab S2.

What­ever the Tab S3 is called, you can bet your last pound on the fact it will have a high-res­o­lu­tion dis­play and way more power than any­one re­ally needs. The Tab S3 is ex­pected to fea­ture a 1536x2048-pixel screen and Qual­comm’s octa-core Snap­dragon 652 pro­ces­sor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of stor­age. Cam­eras are likely to be 8Mp at the back and 2Mp at the front. Fol­low­ing on from the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, we’d ex­pect it to stick with a Mi­cro-USB port for charg­ing the in­ter­nal bat­tery, which is al­leged to be 4000mAh in the Tab S3 8in and 5870mAh in the Tab S3 9.7in.

Sony Xpe­ria Tablet

Re­lease date: TBC

There might be ru­mours fly­ing around that Sony has killed off its Z-se­ries fam­ily of phones and tablets with the in­tro­duc­tion of the Xpe­ria X and XA at MWC 2016, but Sony has never of­fi­cially con­firmed this is the case, in­stead tak­ing the line “never say never”. And its tablet se­ries is long over­due an up­date, hav­ing not been re­freshed since the Sony Xpe­ria Z4 Tablet – and the com­pact ver­sion is even older, hav­ing not been up­dated since the Sony Xpe­ria Z3 Tablet Com­pact.

Whether it ar­rives as a Sony Xpe­ria Z6 Tablet, Sony Xpe­ria Z6 Tablet Com­pact or even Sony Xpe­ria X Tablet, Sony’s new tablet is well over­due. We’d

hope to see one an­nounced at MWC 2017, which takes place at the end of Fe­bru­ary/early March.

Ex­pect the tablet to be a pre­mium model with a circa-£500 price tag if his­tory is any­thing to go by. This be­ing Sony, you can ex­pect an IP68 wa­ter­proof build and a sleek de­sign. Other fea­tures might in­clude a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor, a Quad-HD dis­play, 4GB+ of RAM and 32GB+ of stor­age with mi­croSD sup­port.

Smart­watches and ac­tiv­ity track­ers Bal­ance Run IQ

Re­lease date: TBC

An An­droid-pow­ered watch de­signed for run­ners, the Run IQ was shown off at CES 2017. It has builtin GPS (es­sen­tial for run­ners), an op­ti­cal heart rate

sen­sor and a 1.4in AMOLED screen. You also get a Strava app, which many run­ners and cy­clists use to track and share their ses­sions, and it has on­board stor­age for mu­sic (which you can lis­ten to on Blue­tooth head­phones of course).

It costs $299 and pre-or­ders will start ship­ping on 1 Fe­bru­ary. There’s no UK re­lease date at present.

Ca­sio WSD-F20

Re­lease date: TBC

This looks like a smart­watch Bear Grylls would wear. The WSD-F20 Pro Trek Smart is an An­droid Wear watch with built-in GPS. As the name sug­gests, it’s de­signed to be used – among other things – by hik­ers as a sat­nav and of­fers a full-colour off­line map. There are var­i­ous map de­signs, and you can choose be­tween roads, satel­lite or com­bined views. Plus you can “dis­play foot­prints of your ac­tions” on the map, record mark­ers and voice memos.

Clev­erly, the watch has two LCD dis­plays which are “su­per­im­posed”. A mono­chrome dis­play can be on all the time, show­ing the cur­rent time and other info. You just use the colour screen when you need it. It’s not go­ing to be cheap, with es­ti­mates of around $500.

Google An­droid Wear 2.0 watches

Re­lease date: TBC

An­droid Wear 2.0 has been de­layed, but Google will launch two of its own smart­watches in 2017. They’re re­port­edly co­de­named An­gelfish and Sword­fish and will in­cor­po­rate the Google As­sis­tant. Ru­mour has it

that Google isn’t go­ing to use the Pixel brand­ing for th­ese watches, but in any case we’re pretty ex­cited to see what th­ese de­vices are ca­pa­ble of, as well as what other man­u­fac­tur­ers will do with An­droid Wear 2.0.

Sam­sung Galaxy Gear S4

Re­lease date: TBC

It wasn’t un­til the end of 2016 that we got our hands on the Gear S3 Fron­tier (pic­tured). It’s a nicely de­signed and built smart­watch but the fact it runs Sam­sung’s own Tizen op­er­at­ing sys­tem is a neg­a­tive as there are still few apps for it.

Un­less sales re­ally tank, we’re sure Sam­sung will fol­low up with the Gear S4. The firm has al­ready an­nounced pro­duc­tion of the Exynos 7 Dual 7270 which is es­sen­tially a smaller pack­age that in­cludes the CPU, sen­sors and built-in LTE.

This could mean the S4 will be a bit smaller and in­clude LTE so it’s not reliant on your An­droid phone for its in­ter­net con­nec­tion. In the UK, the S3 has no LTE, but it does in the US.

Games Su­per Mario Run

Re­lease date: TBC

Su­per Mario Run caused a huge stir when it was first an­nounced at Ap­ple’s Septem­ber 2016 key­note,

as it’s the first time that Mario has left the Nin­tendo King­dom for a hol­i­day on iOS and An­droid is­lands, with a brief pe­riod of ex­clu­siv­ity for Ap­ple users. Fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful iOS re­lease, Nin­tendo has added a pre-or­der list­ing for Su­per Mario Run on An­droid, al­low­ing in­ter­ested users to sign-up for Google Play re­lease date no­ti­fi­ca­tions. There’s no word on a spe­cific re­lease date yet, but we imag­ine it’ll be made avail­able by Spring 2017, around three months after the list­ing ap­peared.

Mar­vel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Re­lease date: TBC

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of ear­lier games in the Tell­tale Se­ries in­clud­ing Bat­man and The Walk­ing Dead, de­vel­op­ers Tell­tale Games is now fo­cus­ing its sights on Mar­vel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. In

both iOS and An­droid gamers com­ing in Spring 2017, al­though An­droid users can par­tic­i­pate in the open beta right now. The game fea­tures games from the en­tire Trans­form­ers fran­chise, from the Gen­er­a­tion 1 char­ac­ters from the orig­i­nal car­toons to the up­dated Trans­form­ers in the re­cent movies.

Play­ers will build teams of Au­to­bots and De­cep­ti­cons to bat­tle against a group of cor­rupted Trans­form­ers and their evil over­lords, of course. Game­play is fo­cused on 1v1 bat­tles, but with an RPG-style sys­tem to level up char­ac­ters.

Ti­tan­fall: Front­line

Re­lease date: TBC

De­spite the luke­warm re­cep­tion that the re­lease of Ti­tan­fall 2 got, Ti­tan­fall: Front­line is an up­com­ing strat­egy card-based ac­tion game for iOS and An­droid com­ing in 2017. Play­ers will as­sume the

role of bri­gade Com­man­ders with Pilots, Ti­tans and tac­ti­cal Burn Cards at their dis­posal, and will go head-to­head against other on­line play­ers in real-time. De­vel­op­ers have said that there are hun­dreds of Pilots, Ti­tans and Burn Cards with users able to col­lect, up­grade and or­gan­ise their units as they progress through the game. The wide range of cards avail­able will pro­vide gamers with the chance to build a deck that suits their par­tic­u­lar style, im­prov­ing the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Bunker

Re­lease date: TBC

De­scribed as a live ac­tion game, play­ers will take the place of the last re­main­ing sur­vivor of a nu­clear bunker, 30 years after the blast de­stroyed Earth as we know it. All the bod­ies are stored in the cold stor­age room, with the daily rou­tine of check­ing the bod­ies the only thing keep­ing you sane. How­ever, when an alarm is trig­gered, you have to ven­ture deep into the long-for­got­ten bunker and re­veal its dark­est se­crets. The key to the game is ex­plo­ration and sur­vival, with gamers hav­ing to move fast and make quick de­ci­sions to es­cape the Bunker alive. The coolest part? As it’s a live ac­tion game, ev­ery­thing you see is real.

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