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New Android phones to get excited about in 2016

Update: Another phone makes the list

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 4 weeks ago

There were a number of excellent smartphone releases in 2015, which we'll no doubt be discussing for a long time. But as we begin 2016, our attention is turning to the smartphones which lie just around the corner. Here are the new Android phones to get excited about in 2016, now featuring Project Tango. 

nextbit side volume buttons
The Nextbit Robin is one of the Android phones you should be excited about for 2016. / © ANDROIDPIT

Project Tango

Project Ara isn't the only new Google phone/prototype/thing that's set to arrive in 2016. There's also Project Tango, for which Google has teamed up with Lenovo to transform "your smartphone into a magic lens that lets you place digital information on your physical world". OK...

What this means is that the Project Tango smartphone is equipped with extra sensors that enable its camera to perceive depth, expanding the opportunities for what app and software developers can achieve with a smartphone. 

Lenovo hasn't finalized the design yet – the image below shows a number of possibilities – but we do know that it will arrive in the summer and will cost less than US$500. Check out some of these Play Store apps to see the kinds of things the technology can be used for.

Approximate release date: Summer 2016

lenovo project tango smartphone 1
Project Tango: it's going to look something like this. / © Google

Motorola Moto G (4th gen)

Motorola's G series made its name by producing low-cost handsets with good specs, but this year's Moto G (3rd gen) failed to strike the same price/performance balance as its predecessors. Will Motorola's fourth-generation Moto G reclaim the budget Android crown? 

If that is indeed its aim, the Moto G (2016) might need to include a Full HD display. Sony released the expensive Xperia Z5 Compact with a 720p display only a short time ago, so it may still be too soon to expect this technology on a budget device like a Moto G, but if Motorola did manage to include such a screen on a low-priced device, the Moto G (4th gen) could be an awfully compelling handset. 

Approximate release date: July 2016

Moto G 2015 hero 1 2
We're hoping the fourth generation of the Moto G will improve on the third gen handset. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge changed a number of important aspects of the Galaxy S series design. They lost the removable battery and expandable storage, and a lot of people fell out of love with the Korean manufacturer as a result. However, Samsung still produced two fantastically fast handsets, with delicious displays and compelling cameras, things that Samsung rarely gets wrong.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are likely to be only incremental upgrades to their predecessors, with a similar glass and metal designs. This time though, there are rumors that Samsung will implement its own 3D touch technology.   

Approximate release date: April 2016

androidpit Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge plus 5
What's next for the Galaxy Edge? / © ANDROIDPIT

LG G5

LG has made some seriously good phones in the past couple of years, along with some seriously weird ones. But its flagship G series has been consistently high quality.

While LG hasn't pursued the glass and metal design like most of its competitors, and many see this as a flaw, we called the LG G4 "impressive in all the right places" in our review. What the G4 lacked in premium materials, it makes up for with premium features.  

We hope the LG G series stays on this path. If the LG G5 manages to deliver in the important areas once again, it should be one of the best phones to come out next year. You can read more about why I would be keen to buy a new LG flagship at the link.

Approximate release date: Q2, 2016 

lg g5 diseno
An unofficial concept for the LG G5. / © NxtPhone.com

Sony Xperia Z6

Sony is now approaching the sixth device in its Xperia Z series and like the HTC One M10 (see below), it could be a make or break device.

The Xperia Z devices are based around Sony’s OmniBalance principle: a water-resistant, dust-proof, aluminum and glass body. The devices have changed very little between each generation, but as the sixth iteration approaches, we wonder if it's time for a refresher.

We noted in our Xperia Z5 review that, despite the presence of a MicroSD card slot, fingerprint scanner and water-resistant design, the Z5 isn't superior in enough ways to justify its steep asking price (£549 or around US$850). The Z series is becoming less and less relevant and Sony needs to act quickly to turn things around with the Xperia Z6. 

Approximate release date: Q1, 2016 

sony xperia z5 premium compact 2
Top to bottom: Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Premium. / © ANDROIDPIT

Project Ara

Project Ara won't produce a flagship phone, instead, it will allow you to create a flagship yourself, to your own specifications. The core components of the device – the display, camera, battery, etc – are all interchangeable and can be easily swapped out of the device and upgraded. 

We've already had a glimpse at some of the capabilities of Project Ara – as well as unique components such as an X-Ray camera module – and the range of design opportunities that it presents are extremely exciting.

Consider this: typical smartphone manufacturers must include components that attract as wide a demographic as possible. It's not built for you, it's built for everyone. Project Ara asks: "What are you into? What do you want to see from a smartphone?" and will let you create your own answers.  

Though the Project Ara team has now ditched its electromagnetic component design, you can get an idea of why Project Ara is so interesting in the video below. 

Approximate release date: Q1, 2016 (pilot) 

HTC One M10

HTC hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire recently. The HTC One A9 looks like an iPhone knock-off, and the company itself was valued as worthless by investors. Its profits have been in decline for years, and HTC badly needs to produce a big-selling phone. Will the HTC One M10 be it? 

Little is known about the HTC One M10 yet, but we can only hope that HTC addresses some of the concerns of its predecessor. A device redesign may be in order, and we hope it drops the HTC bezel that has plagued the bottom of the display since the One M7.

HTC played it safe with the One M9 and it has been a relative failure. HTC's next handset may need to be something radical.

Approximate release date: April 2016

IMG 1004
The HTC One M9 (above) and the HTC One M8.  / © ANDRODIPIT

Nextbit Robin

The Nextbit Robin could really shake things up in the world of Android. It's made by a company comprising Google, HTC, Amazon and Apple employees, and is a bold new device that's looking to do things a little differently.

The design is an interesting one, with its round buttons and eggshell color, but the real originality lies in the cloud functionality. The Nextbit Robin's cloud-integration means it’s always backing up your data to keep space available on your device for the files you need most, archiving those you use least. This means that file transfer could become completely automated. 

The Nextbit Robin is already taking pre-orders – find out more over at its Kickstarter page.

Approximate release date: February 2016

nextbit headphone jack
If nothing else, the Nextbit Robin is a unique-looking handset. / © ANDROIDPIT

Asus Zenfone 3

The Zenfone 2 was notable for a number of reasons. With 4 GB of RAM and a low price of admission (US$299), it was a cheap and powerful handset. The design was a tad boring, and the display could have been better, but with a 64-bit CPU and fast-charging, the Zenfone 2 was a great mid-range offering.

It was first introduced at CES 2015, so we hope to get a glimpse of the third generation of the device in January. If Asus can include a more impressive display on the Zenfone 3 while keeping the price low, it could be a superb smartphone.

Approximate release date: Q2 2016 

asus zenfone 2 front box
The Zenfone 2 got a lot of things right for a low-cost handset. / © ANDROIDPIT

Those are the devices that we're looking forward to right now, but we'll add to the list as we edge closer to the release dates of others. Let us know in the comments what phone you're most excited about in 2016. 

Originally from the UK, Scott graduated in Popular Music Studies at Newcastle University and attributes most of his success there to his beloved Samsung Galaxy S2. A dedicated Android fan, Scott has never owned an Apple device, of any kind, and doesn't see this changing anytime soon.

27 comments

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  • "What the G4 lacked in premium materials, it makes up for with premium features". You can build the phone using gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. If it doesn't have a removable battery, then I'll take a plastic cover 1000 times before I'll take your "premium materials".

  • Samsung phones already have something comparable to 3D touch. It's called airview, and it has been a feature since the S4 has been around. Check it out.

  • **Apple iPhone 7**
    We are very curious if we will see an edge display on Apple's phone.
    **Samsung Galaxy S7**
    Hopefully they will implement some of the old features from galaxy s5.
    **LG G5**
    The company is planning to introduce an iris scanner as part of the security feature, and the G5 will also come with a 21 MP camera for 4K resolution pictures.
    **Microsoft Surface Phone**
    Has the ability to compete directly with the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7.

  • Check out the new phone range by iDROID USA. They have recently launched iDROID Majesty which is a majestic super phone. It has a classy design with reliable software built into it. It comes in three beautiful colors - Royal Black, Royal White and Majestic Gold. Visit their official website to see what it looks like.

  • Absolutely looking forward to Zenfone 3....

  • Mark 4 weeks ago Link to comment

    I am now looking to the LG V11 since it is looking bad for the G5. Most say it will not have a removable battery and will still be using the Snapdragon 808 because the 820 still not ready. If that is true I think it will be an epic fail, lets hope not.

  • Hey Scott! Great compilation of phones you put up in this article. Project Ara is the one that gets me most excited, even though, as a design lover, I can't wait to get my hands on a NextBit too :)

  • i love the LG G5
    from Loverberry.Tk

  • Why rubbish adds on Androidpit?

  • red mi and other chinese phone will be winner in big market like india

  • storm 4 weeks ago Link to comment

    I'm looking forward to the Asus Padfone S2. SD820, plenty of RAM, high spec camera, SD card storage and all the rest of the goodness. Plus a tablet dock. Supposed to be released in March.

    But it looks like it isn't coming to the US. No coverage of it in CES, no US announcements yet. AT&T had exclusive rights to the earlier version, but this one should be sold unlocked. Just apparently not in the US.

  • Luka 4 weeks ago Link to comment

    I'm not really excited about any of these phones.
    Sure, I'd like to see the successor of my Galaxy S6, but I'm notsure if I'd really buy it. Same goes for the HTC One M10. As for G5, Z6 UI of these phones puts me so off that I avoid seeing these phones as much as I can. OK, seriously, it's ugly. Before anyone mentions TouchWiz, it's great now and I can't believe what I'm saying, but I love using it. For the first time on a Samsung device, I didn't go to Play Store and downloaded Now Launcher right away.
    As for the phone I'm really excited about and can't wait to see, it's the next Nexus device(s).
    I'd really like to see a new tablet and I'd try a 6" phablet (although coming from a 4" phone to the S6 was really something I needed some getting used to). So I think I'm not the only one and that this list is missing the Nexus(es)

  • Thanks for sharing nice blog ! Once Letv launches its superphones, they will be one of the best budget phones in the market.The budget phone does have a lot of unique features to offer.

  • Recently, I suggest LETV phones from China ,With TYPE C fast charging port,support HML function to HDTV ,Fingerprint Unlock function...

  • Nextbit Robin interesting design, in a world of design based devices it really stands out, clean and simple, not sure if the cloud based software will make a difference, I've never had storage problems, but its definitely an interesting idea.

  • Mark 3 months ago Link to comment

    Once again, you always talk non premium materials on LG-G4. The exact complaint that got us the Samsung S duds. I will buy a plastic back phone with a removable battery and micro SD. Try to give me an all glass slipperier eel S__t phone with out those features and I will hand it back to you. The specs on the phone are what counts the most not it's back cover. The only reason I did not buy the G4 was the 808 processor. I still have great hope for the G5

  • Christopher Silva
    • Admin
    3 months ago Link to comment

    You seem to have focused on the the popular phones from 2014-15. I think the new action will come from China. Not Japan or South Korea. The phones coming from China are looking more interesting every quarter. Also they have some very cool chipsets. (Kirin, Mediatek etc.). What do you think? Think Huawei Mate 8!

    • I was about to order a mate 7 when I saw the mate 8 was released in China. Huawei needs to improve their support in the states. Other than that I am all in. Fantastic specs with Android 6 and the best fingerprint unlocking system available.

  • Yaaawn! Nextbit is a "square" phones , Samsung is old story (like a cowboy reruns), HTC is a "dead end", LG has gone bananas!, Project Ara is a lot of "Air-raah", Asus is another Tom, Dick and Harry , dont talk about Nexus it is just about Android nothing but Google, whats there to be excited about? Nothing gets my hearts racing like a 7inch phablet , even a gold plated phone doesnt make my cut.

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