Smartphones and the Pathway into the Digital Age

A quick look at the best and most exciting smartphones coming in 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

In the almost nine years since the release of the first iPhone in June, 2007 cell phones have undergone massive changes. Gone are the times for bright colors, flipping screens, and physical keys; this is the time for touchscreens, fingerprint IDs, and more powerful processing than ever before. It seems as though every year cell phones take another step toward becoming something straight out of Star Trek, and 2016 will be no exception. As the release dates of new phones loom large on the horizon, we’ll briefly walk you through a few of the heavy hitters due out in 2016.

The first up on our list is the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The Galaxy Series has gathered quite the following, and with good reason. Perhaps the most serious of the challengers to Apple’s iPhone, the Galaxy series has always appealed to people who like to squeeze the maximum amount of power out of their phones, and it looks like the S7 is shaping up to continue that trend.

Features of the phone include a whopping 4GB of ram, technology similar to the Force Touch found in the Apple Watch, a return of both the fingerprint scanner and heart-rate monitor found in the S6, a micro SD slot, and waterproofing. All of this will be running on the latest version of Android, adorably named Marshmallow. With all of these features, the S7 is looking to be the mighty champion to hoist the Android banner high. All that remains now is to see whether the problem that has consistently plagued Android phones - battery life - has been solved. 

Nexus 6

Next, we will take a brief look at Google’s attempt to take over the world, currently ongoing. From search engines, to social media, to cars, Google just seems to be everywhere, including phones. Although hard facts around the Nexus 5 and 6 are hard to find, rumors abound that the pair will launch in October and be a running pair of smartphone and phablet, a mix between the smartphone and a tablet. The numbers after the name of the phone refer to the size screen on each device, meaning the Nexus 5 has a slightly bigger screen than the iPhone 6, which has a 4.7 inch screen, while the Nexus 6 would have a massive six-inch screen. That is really straddling the line between what is a phone and what is a tablet. Just for comparison, the smallest tablet Apple makes, the iPad Mini 4, has a 7.9-inch screen.

Although these new phones are exciting, even more so are the rumors that Google plans for these devices to be the launch platforms for the new Android N. This is just a placeholder name as all Android OS’s have been named after food (hence the current one being called Marshmallow) but it will be very exciting to see what Google, and other developers, can do once they’ve gotten their hands on the new OS.

iPhone 2016

And last, but certainly not least, we come to the iPhone. Apple revolutionized the smartphone industry with the launch of their iPhone in 2007, and Apple has been pushing the envelope ever since. It’s a new year, and that means a new batch of shiny new iPhones. While not the most powerful phones on the market, the iPhone makes up for it with a longer lasting battery and a more consistent experience than some of its Android competitors.

Like any Apple device pre-launch, the rumor mill is in full spin about what the new device will look like. Will it have a curved edge? Will the screen increase in size, perhaps to match the 5 inches of the Nexus 5? Will the display be entirely glass? Nothing’s for certain yet. Rumors have been flying that Apple is working on waterproofing the phone, an electronic simcard, as well as a new headphone jack. The new iPhone is also said to be sporting 2GB of ram and much faster processors.

The total impact of these features is unclear, but one thing is for sure: technology is constantly evolving and Apple has always been a leader in the evolutionary process. We may be in for a wait; historically the iPhones have been released in September, and the iPhone 7 will be a big deal for Apple, which has faced loss of market share to high-end Android phones. Only time will tell whether the iPhone 7 is going to be a shining star or another footnote in the company’s storied history.

There are many amazing smartphones coming out this year; far too many to even begin to cover here. Honorable mentions include the LG V10, the HTC One M10, and a mystery Windows phone that could be Microsoft’s big break into the smartphone world. The bottom line is, if you were ever on the fence about diving into the crazy world of smartphones, this year might be the time to take the plunge. Come right on in, the water’s fine.