Despite the coronavirus pandemic, phone companies still plan to release new phones. While many of us are are operating under a budget, companies such as Apple and Samsung are at this very moment still building phones and still hope you’ll buy them.
We’ll see how well that works out. Phones sales were down by 20% so far this year by the end of March.
Samsung Galaxy Fold 2
Samsung is one company betting that foldables are the future of mobile devices. It worked on foldable displays for years before unveiling its Galaxy Fold in February 2019. Samsung’s device, which expands from a phone into a tablet, captured the world’s attention, but it quickly ran into troubles.
The company delayed the launch of the $1,980 Fold by five months from April to September after some reporters found screen defects in their review units. This year, it’s expected to launch Round 2, with what we’re currently referring to as the Galaxy Fold 2, building on what it learned from last year’s disaster and February’s Galaxy Z Flip. Samsung is expected to unveil the Galaxy Fold 2 on Aug. 5 at a virtual Unpacked event.
Notable updates to the Fold could include a glass display instead of plastic and a bigger internal screen. Some rumors even suggest it will come with an S Pen stylus, and others say Samsung will introduce a cheaper Fold E or Fold Lite alongside the pricier Fold 2.
Expected release date: August
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
The fate of Samsung’s annual stylus-bearing flagship phone for power users is up in the air. Typically, we’d expect the new Note to arrive in August, guns blazing, to much fanfare and a splashy launch event. This year, who knows? An early rumor suggested that the Note 20 — following Samsung’s new naming convention for the Galaxy S20 phones — would appear as early as July.
That seems wholly unlikely as the world hunkers down to weather this coronavirus pandemic. It’s possible that Samsung could host an online event like rivals instead of the usual stadium or music hall venue. The company didn’t reply to a request for comment on the topic.
What is likely is that the Note 20 will build off the Galaxy S20’s key features, from 5G data speeds and a fast 120Hz screen refresh rate to those high-resolution cameras — whenever and however it’s eventually unveiled.
Expected release date: August 2020
Samsung Galaxy A series
Samsung is going all-in on budget phones with its new Galaxy A series lineup. And when we say “budget,” we mean downright cheap in some cases. We have yet to actually use these phones, though, so hopefully that’s cheap in the best possible way.
The 4G LTE lineup, which includes four phones, consists of the $110 Galaxy A10, the $180 Galaxy A11, the $250 Galaxy A21 and the $400 Galaxy A51, which is the followup to 2019’s Galaxy A50. Then we have the two 5G phones: The 5G version of the Galaxy A51 will cost $500, while the new Galaxy A71 5G comes in at $600.
Again, that’s some really aggressive pricing from Samsung, and over the coming months we’ll know if they’re worth it even at the lowest prices.
Expected release date: Available now through the end of the summer, depending on model
Galaxy A51 review: A worthy Android iPhone SE alternative
Google Pixel 4A and 4A XL
Last year, Google debuted budget versions of its Pixel phones, the Pixel 3A and 3A XL. The devices turned out to be a success for the company, so we expect follow-ups this spring. Rumors for the Pixel 4A and 4A XL include the same $399 starting price for the Pixel 4A (or perhaps even cheaper), a headphone jack and a new front-facing hole-punch camera. And in case there was any doubt, Verizon debunked a previous claim that it is dumping Pixel phones — it won’t, and said it will “continue to work with Google.”
Expected release date: July
After months of rumors about a possible new midrange OnePlus phone, the company confirmed it will be announcing a “new, more affordable smartphone product line.” The phone will be available in the UK and India, and it will be called the OnePlus Nord. Despite not releasing any specs, the company has already kicked off three limited rounds of preorders for some European countries. The phone is expected to cost under $500, but will not come to North America.
Expected release date: July
Apple iPhone 12
The upcoming iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Max (Apple has not confirmed the name of the phones, but we’ll go with that for now) face unknown waters ahead — suppliers in China have already shut down or are operating on limited capacity because of the outbreak, which may impact inventory in September when new iPhones are typically launched. Rumors for the devices are all over the place, with some stating the phones will have a radical new design and other leaks suggesting it will likely look similar to the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. Some models could have 5G, others might not.
Expected release date: Early September
Sony Xperia Pro
In February, Sony teased the Xperia Pro, a 5G phone aimed at professional video shooters. This could be the phone that knocks Apple’s iPhone off its video-prowess throne. It has the same triple-camera rear setup and Alpha camera features as the consumer-focused Xperia 1 II, and like its sibling packs a 6.5-inch, 21:9 ratio, 4K OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and 8GB of RAM. The Pro also has 512GB of storage, and an HDMI/USB 3.1 port for outputting video. The Pro will support all flavors of 5G. The Xperia Pro doesn’t have a price yet, but will likely cost more than the Xperia 1 ii.
Expected release: Summer
With its raindrop camera, curved screen and vertically stacked cameras, the Velvet marks a new design direction for LG phones. The 5G handset launches in Europe first and will come to countries in North America (including the US), Asia, Latin America and other regions at a later date. Though the company hasn’t released pricing yet, the phone is expected to fall in the $600-$700 range.
Expected release date: July