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July 17, 2017

Just when we thought it was ‘slow’ … we have a few strong months of Android ahead

by John_A

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Don’t be lulled into thinking the year is done — we have several big phone launches left in 2017.

On the media side of things, we usually refer to the time after the spring smartphone launches as a “slow” period. Samsung, LG, HTC, OnePlus, Sony and others all launched flagship phones across April, May and June — that gave us plenty to talk about, but we also had lots of time to talk about it as we waited for the next cycle of releases in the fall.

Well it’s just the middle of July, and the next few months are already looking rather interesting. Motorola, Samsung, LG and Google all have big time phones to release, and those are just the ones we know about. The second half of 2017 is shaping up to be almost as big as the first.

Motorola kicks off the second half of 2017 with its highest-end phone.

On July 25, Motorola is going to let the other shoe drop with the Moto Z2 Force after launching the Moto Z2 Play considerably early. The Moto Z2 Force is expected to pull double duty as the tough, shatterproof phone and the high-end mainstream flagship — that’s not easy. At the same time, we’re still waiting for more details on the mid-range resurrection of the Moto X brand with the Moto X4 — that could be at the same event, or it could require its own bespoke unveiling, we don’t know.

Samsung is gearing up to launch the much-anticipated Galaxy Note 8, presumably in the last week of August but at the latest the beginning of September. After about 10 months with the Note 5 as the latest Note model available following the final Note 7 recall, people are itching to get their hands on something new. Word of a Galaxy S8+-like experience with an even bigger display and dual cameras are good, but we can expect Samsung to show off something altogether new as well.

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LG is going to try and make big splash at the IFA trade show with the LG V30. There’s a launch event scheduled for August 31, which of course could end up being just a week after the Note 8 is announced. The V30 leaks we have show a device that borrows a lot from the LG G6, including its tall screen, small bezels and more “traditional” design. That’s mildly disappointing to those who liked the quirks of the V10 and V20, but I think LG realizes it has to go a bit more mainstream if it wants any real number of people to buy a V-series phone.

Thought we were done there? Ha! Google still has to play its hand, and we expect it to do so in October once again. Details have started to leak about the new LG-made Pixel XL 2 (or whatever it will be branded), pointing to a really nice hardware upgrade. And that’s just half of it — we still need to learn about the successor to the smaller Pixel. It seems at this point that the third Google-branded device of the year, which was apparently being developed with HTC, has been shelved for now. Phew.

Google will be the last, but certainly not least, in 2017.

Then there are others still. We know Sony’s usually good for a phone launch (or three) at IFA as well, presumably further iterating on its low, mid and high-end phones from MWC earlier in the year. There’s a good shout that OnePlus could even do something else this year, considering it has released two phones in each of the past two years. Huawei is due another high-end Mate, presumably the Mate 10, by the end of the year also.

So yeah, how about that “slow” period? It’s going to be a pretty wild ride from the end of July through November in the world of Android. A few more thoughts on the week:

  • Mixed bag of comments in my article about financing a phone somewhere other than a carrier. Yup, I know you can get a good deal from a carrier sometimes — but there’s value in giving your money directly to the manufacturer, too.
  • Damn that Solar Red HTC U11 is beautiful.
  • Everyone should be using two-factor authentication with their Google account. Yes, even you. And as a smart person who uses two-factor, you should take it upon yourself to get your friends and family on it as well.
  • This week will mark three months since the Galaxy S8 and S8+ went on sale. I’ve hopped around to a lot of phones, but the GS8 is still really solid. I’ll be back on it tomorrow to wrap up some thoughts on how it’s aged since launch.
  • RIP, Vertu. Very few people will miss you, really.

That’s it for now — have a great week, everyone!

-Andrew

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