Five smartphones to look forward to

The second half of 2015 looks as exciting as the first for smartphone buyers

The Fairphone 2 has a 5-inch, full HD screen and is powered by a Snapdragon 801 processor

The Fairphone 2 has a 5-inch, full HD screen and is powered by a Snapdragon 801 processor

If you're planning to buy a new smartphone this year, but haven't bought one yet it might be better to wait a bit longer: Apple, Samsung Electronics and OnePlus are all expected to launch new models in the next couple of months.

Here are some of the models you should see during the second half of the year:

OnePlus 2

While most of the products on this list (and their specs) are just rumors, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has been busy detailing its 2 model, which will be launched on July 27.

So far, OnePlus has revealed the phone will have a fingerprint sensor and be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810. The company is using an upgraded version of the processor, v2.1, that isn't susceptible to the overheating issues that the first version reportedly suffered from, it said.

OnePlus has also said the 2 will be the first high-end smartphone with a USB-C port, which is meant to be an all-in-one solution for power, video, and data delivery using a single cable with a reversible connector. There are already laptops that use the technology.

Some things OnePlus is still keeping some things under wraps, including what the 2 will look like and cost.

Fairphone 2

Just like OnePlus, Dutch company Fairphone has started to build some hype for its second product. The goal is to build a smartphone that won't easily break and can be easily repaired.

Hardware specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and a 5-inch, Full HD screen. The camera has an 8-megapixel resolution and there is 32GB of storage that can be expanded using a microSD card. The LTE smartphone also has 2GB of RAM and two SIM slots. The operating system will be Android 5.1.

The Fairphone 2 will be available for pre-order before the end of August, and then ship during the following couple of months.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

A new Galaxy Note model arriving during the second half of the year has become a bit of a tradition. A launch at the IFA trade show in the beginning of September looks likely. With the fifth version Samsung needs to step up its game if it wants to compete more successfully with Apple's iPhone 6 Plus, the upgrade of which before the end of the year is also a forgone conclusion.

Anticipated improvements include a new design that follows in the footsteps of the Galaxy S6. The Note 4 was with its metal frame and plastic back was a step in the right direction. But the metal frame and glass back on the S6 looks classier Another reported upgrade is a screen that's slightly larger than the Note 4's 5.7-inch display, with a 2K or 4K resolution.

LG G4 Pro

Launching a high-end smartphone during the second half of the year would be a departure for LG. That strategy has worked well for Samsung with the Galaxy Note family, so LG might want to emulate that to boost sales instead of just relying on dropping the price tag of the G4.

The G4 Pro is rumored to have some really impressive specs, including a 5.8-inch, 1440 by 2560 pixel screen, a 27-megapixel main camera, 4GB of RAM and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor.

Most of the parts to build a phone with those specs are shouldn't cause LG much of a problem. The big question mark is whether the Snapdragon 820 will be ready for use in a smartphone before the end of the year. LG was the first to announce smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 808 and the 810, so the company is a likely candidate to be among the first to get its hands on the new model.

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with its bigger screens have been unmitigated successes. The challenge for the company this year will be to come up with upgrades to continue to build on that success.

Cameras are one aspect the company is expected to focus on with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Upgrading the current 1.2-megapixel front camera makes a lot of sense since competing products launched this year have at least 5-megapixel cameras. To what extent an upgrade of the main camera to a reported 12-megapixel resolution will result in better image quality remains to be seen. The new models are anticipated to have a faster processor, more RAM and a speedier LTE connection.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Tags OnePlusAppleconsumer electronicsLG ElectronicssmartphonesSamsung ElectronicsFairphone

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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