New and upcoming phones: Galaxy Note 9 and others we're expecting in 2018

Most major flagship smartphones are now on a fairly regular release schedule and leaks are a part of this cycle. It is rare for a phone to be released today with any surprises so let's take a look at what is coming soon.

top picks

The 10 best smartphones of 2018

CES and MWC are over and it's time to clear the dust and see what smartphones are leading the pack this year.

Read More

All major smartphones have been announced for the first half of 2018 and our 10 best smartphones list gets refreshed with new releases, when they are worthy of consideration. There are also many low-cost smartphones with more likely to come from Honor, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and others.

Some phones are on a fairly regular release schedule, but others appear out of the blue. As we look across the next few months, there are five likely new phones coming soon.

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung is pretty regular around a late summer/early fall release cycle for the Note series and as reported yesterday on ZDNet the Galaxy Note 9 will be announced in NYC on 9 August.

We expect the Note 9 to follow one of the significant design changes seen in the Galaxy S9 Plus; a central rear fingerprint scanner. It is unlikely to have the fingerprint scanner under the glass and with its focus on enterprise users there is little chance of radical design changes.

The Galaxy Note 8 was a solid release after the Note 7 failure and Note fans are sure to like the newest flagship from Samsung. I hope to see some new uses for the fantastic S Pen, but don't care much for what Bixby 2.0 may bring.

2. Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL

Google I/O is where Google provides glimpses of what is to come with its next mobile operating system, followed by public betas that people can test on various phones. Android P has not yet been named, but that will change when Google takes the wraps off of the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL. These new Google phones should be revealed in the September/October time frame.

Given what we see in Android P, it is possible that the next Pixel will have a dual camera setup, although Google has also showed it can make a fantastic camera with just one lens. More improvements in processing may be presented, whether this is through one or two cameras.

A version with a notch is likely, along with increased storage capacity and battery life. Apple set the bar for 3D face scanning and it is possible Google will release a similar system this year.

LG, HTC, Huawei, and Samsung have made past Google Pixel devices and rumors indicate HTC may be the ones making these Pixel 3 devices.

3. Apple iPhone XI

Apple's iPhone X set the bar for high priced phones with starting prices of $999 and $1,149. I typically give up on using an iPhone after a couple of months, but with the iPhone X my primary SIM card keeps finding its way back as the iPhone X sets the bar for power, portability, and capability.

While most new smartphones are revealed early, Apple does the best at keeping a lid on things. Rumors are all over the place with possible multiple phones in up to three variations, including a low-cost model with a mid-level processor, that indicate we really do not know what to expect as the successor to the iPhone X. I'm not interested in a larger one as a primary reason I keep using it is for its pocketability and form factor.

No other phone has launched at a price as high as the iPhone X, but indications are that this did not deter Apple fans from buying the phone. Apple, through its iPhone Upgrade Plan, and wireless carriers make it easier to swallow such an expensive phone with monthly payment plans and upgrade options. It is likely we will see at least one iPhone XI variant launch at this same price or more and iPhone fans will still buy it.

The iPhone XI will obviously have the next version of the Apple processor and some kind of upgrade in the cameras. We may see continued storage capacity increases although we have reached fair capacity so this may not happen.

4. Apple iPhone 9 and 9 Plus

While the iPhone X is the phone with all of the latest design features, Apple is likely to continue upgrading the mainstream line with an iPhone 9 and 9 Plus. It may not need to have the flash and innovation of the X series, but still will offer an improved processor, more internal storage, longer battery life, and improvements found in iOS 12.

These new iPhones may not be the iPhones of our dreams, but they will improve upon the current generation. Despite the availability of the iPhone X, most of my family and friends upgraded last year to the iPhone 8 series so there is clearly still a need for continuing with the more tradition iPhone form factor.

5. LG V40

LG continues to release excellent phones without gaining much respect from the smartphone market. The V series focuses on media creation and the LG V30 was an excellent video creation device. The latest rumors indicate the LG V40 may have five cameras; three on the back and two on the front.

LG sets itself apart with the second camera supporting wide-angle situations. A third lens on the back could add in telephoto capabilities and make portrait mode better while also still having a lens dedicated to wide-angle photography.

The LG V40 may look a lot like the V30 since that form factor with a rear fingerprint sensor was nearly perfect. Like the LG G7, it will most likely have a notched display on the front.

Android P must launch on the V40 if the device is released around the time of the next Google Pixel. LG has a tight partnership with Google and has done well at releasing phones with the latest OS and also some Google-specific features on non-Pixel phones.