The latest iteration of Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip is among the phones to watch for in 2021.
Smartphone shipments, although witnessing slackness due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have recovered and are poised to end the year flat to slightly higher.
Shipments are estimated to grow 4.4% in 2021, according to IDC, with an impressively quick supply chain recovery and significant incentives from both OEMs and channels on new 5G products likely propping up growth. 5G, according to the firm, will likely drive industry growth in the near-to-medium term. The firm expects 5G smartphone shipments to reach about 19% of global volume in 2020, and this proportion is said to increase to 58% in 2024.
Devices using QUALCOMM, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: QCOM) new SoC (System On a Chip) — Snapdragon 888 — are ones to watch for, as the chip will feature in top Android devices in the coming year. It has an integrated 5G modem and is built at the 5-nanometer scale, the latest level being achieved in chip fabrication for mass production.
Here are some of the smartphone models that are likely to launch in 2021.
Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) came up with 5G model iPhones in late 2020, with analysts touting the line-up as a defining moment in the company's history.
iPhone 13 In The Offing? Apple will likely launch four devices in 2021, including two high-end Pro models, while the remaining two will be positioned as budget models, according to Macrumors.
Design-wise and features-wise, major changes aren't expected, the report said. There is some contention regarding how the company might name the new line-up, with some reports suggesting it could be called iPhone 12S.
One of the four models could come with no ports, with the company relying instead on its MagSafe wireless charging technology.
South Korean electronics giant Samsung is the smartphone market leader, boasting about one-fifth of sales. The company is likely to have an announcement regarding its smartphones in January, judging from a blog post by TM Roh, head of mobile communications business at Samsung. He discussed the achievements in 2020 and gave a sneak-peek of what's in store for 2021.
"I look forward to sharing more in January," Roh said. "And while we're already known for our revolutionary cameras, we'll never stop trying to outdo ourselves — so be on the lookout for super-intelligent, pro-grade camera and video capabilities in 2021."
Some potential launches from Samsung's stable include:
Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, Galaxy S21 Ultra: It is rumored that both could come in January, as opposed to Samsung's customary practice of unveiling in February and making the product available in March, according to Pocket-lint.com. The company may price the newest version of its flagship phones slightly cheaper, a move prompted by softer sales of Galaxy S20 in 2020.
Galaxy Z Flip 2, Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Fold Lite: Samsung's foldable phone panoply could boast three more foldable phone variants in 2021. The Fold Lite is expected to make its appearance first and is seen as an affordable phone, featuring a 7-inch internal display and a 4-inch external display.
Galaxy A22 5G: Samsung is also expected to release a budget-friendly A22 5G, the successor of the A21 launched in April 2020.
It's widely speculated that LG, also based out of South Korea, will launch three phone models in the first half of 2021.
LG Rainbow, LG Rollable, LG Q83: Its flagship LG Rainbow smartphone is expected to be unveiled in March, according to Korea IT News. The LG Rollable, the second product developed under the company's Explorer Project, could be stretched out to 7.4 inches from 6.8 inches. It is likely to be launched in the first-half of the year.
A budget phone, the LG Q83, also is expected to hit the market.
Mi 11 and Mi 11 Pro: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is planning to launch its flagship Mi 11 series phones, the Mi 11 and Mi 11 Pro, on Dec. 28, the company confirmed on Weibo. These phones, which are expected to be available in 2021, will be the first ones to come with the new Snapdragon 888 SoC. There could be a Lite version of the phone as well. It is also speculated that Xiaomi will launch an inward-folding foldable phone, codenamed Cetus, in the new year.
The year could also see the launch of the next iteration of Xiaomi's other models, such as the Redmi Note 10 and Redmi Note 10 Pro.
Chinese smartphone maker Oppo also has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Oppo X 2021, Reno5 Pro+ and More: Oppo's X 2021, which was unveiled in November, has a rollable screen, with a 6.7-inch panel that can stretch up to 7.4 inches when required. This is expected to be available next year.
The #OPPOX2021 is the latest achievement from Oppo's constant exploration into mobile phone form factors. It is built with a rollable OLED display measuring 6.7 inches which expands to 7.4 inches. #OPPOINNODAY20 pic.twitter.com/T96DOQ8KZm
— OPPO (@oppo) November 17, 2020
The company is scheduled to launch the Reno5 Pro+ 5G, which will have a Snapdragon 865 chipset on board and a curved Super AMOLED display with a punch hole in its corner.
Alphabet Inc Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL) isn't likely to lag far behind.
Pixel 5A, Pixel 6 Models, Foldable Pixel All In The Mix: A foldable Pixel Phone, codenamed Passport, plus a Pixel 5A, speculated to be a lower end mid-year offering, and two more devices, codenamed Raven and Oriole, are among the likely launches in 2021, according to 9to5 Google.com. The Pixel 5A could be released in the second quarter, and the other two devices in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Nokia's 9.3 PureView: Nokia's new flagship smartphone, 9.3 PureView, is likely to be launched in the first half of 2020. The launch was postponed from the initial schedule of Nov. 2020.
Photo courtesy Samsung.
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