Google just put its cutting-edge camera software in a pair of affordable phones, the $399 Pixel 3a and $479 3a XL, available now. The two phones are available on more carriers than its predecessors, landing on Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular in addition to Verizon and Google Fi. You’ll sacrifice some premium features, such as a glass back and wireless charging, but the price trade-off might be worth it.
Device makers and wireless carriers are also racing to bring the first 5G phones to the market just as networks based on the new connectivity standard start coming online now. The Galaxy S10 5G will lead the charge, coming May 16.
Here’s a peek at new phones in store for 2019 and beyond.
Samsung Galaxy Fold (Spring 2019)
Samsung was eyeing an April 26 launch for its breakthrough foldable phone, though now those plans have now been shelved until the company can get to the bottom of the display’s fragility issues. The company says it’s found a way to address those flaws and that it will soon announce a new launch date.
When it does eventually come out, the $1,980 Galaxy Fold will combine a 4.6-inch Infinity Flex display on the outside with a massive 7.3-inch panel on the inside. Samsung is using software to make the transition of moving from the small display to the larger one as seamless as possible. Thanks to a feature called App Continuity, anything open on the exterior screen will immediately be shown when you open the device, for a bigger look.
There will be a combined six cameras across the inside and outside, 512GB of storage built in and 12GB of RAM to keep all those multi-windowed apps humming along. Pre-orders for the Galaxy Fold are already live, though you should certainly hold off on securing yours until Samsung can confirm the device is in good working order.
Huawei Mate X (Summer 2019)
Huawei threw its hat in the foldable phone race with the Mate X, announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Mate X features a single display measuring 8 inches from corner-to-corner, that dominates the surface of the device in a way those on the Samsung’s Galaxy Fold don’t. It also has one triple-lens camera module, rather than the array of rear- and front-facing lenses in Samsung’s handset. The result is a folding phone that, at least at the outset, looks a little more clever than its competitors from an ergonomics and design standpoint. Oh, and did we mention it’s 5G, too?
In fact, as far as we can tell, the only thing really standing in the way of what looks to be 2019’s most exciting new foldable phone is its astronomically high price tag. At €2200, it even puts the Galaxy Fold to shame. Although Huawei hasn’t confirmed a launch date, the company has commented publicly that if global 5G networks are properly up and running in the next six months, the device could make its debut sometime in the summer, possibly in June according to the latest reports. Good luck getting your hands on one in the U.S., though.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (May 2019)
Samsung’s trio of S10 phones may have already arrived, but that won’t be the last you hear from the S10 family. There’s also a 5G version of the Galaxy S10 coming May 16 that will be able to take advantage of the faster networks wireless carriers are beginning to launch.
Samsung did more than just stick a 5G modem inside the S10. The 5G model sports a massive 6.7-inch display that’s even larger than the 6.4-inch panel on the Galaxy S10 Plus. A 3D camera joins the triple lenses on the back of the S10 5G while the two front cameras include a time-of-flight sensor. Verizon gets first dibs on the Galaxy S10 5G in the U.S. — Big Red is actually accepting preorders now — but Samsung says the phone will eventually roll out to other carriers.
LG V50 ThinQ (Spring 2019)
Not to be outdone by Samsung, LG is planning a 5G-capable device of its own, based on last year’s V40 ThinQ. The V50 ThinQ derives many components and features from that device, as well as the recently-released LG G8 ThinQ, yet adds that all-important Qualcomm X50 modem for 5G connectivity. It also packs a larger battery to power those thirsty radios, yet still carves the same footprint and thickness as the V40 did. The V50 ThinQ will hit Sprint first, before it launches on other carriers later in 2019.
New iPhones (Fall 2019)
Yes, three new iPhones were unveiled only a few months ago. But this is the smartphone industry, and things move very, very fast. Devices are planned years in advance before they ever see the light of day, and so it’s not terribly surprising that rumors about new iPhones are already out in full force.
Analyst and all-around Apple soothsayer Ming Chi Kuo initially said Cupertino’s future handsets would continue the dual-lens camera setup and probably ditch 3D Touch in an effort to keep costs down. Lately, however, we’ve heard that Apple will instead include a trio of cameras on the back, on at least the XS Max successor, similar to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s elaborate imaging stack. And one rumor signals that Apple could embrace advanced 3D cameras from Sony in order to enable gesture control in games, sophisticated room scanning capability and more.
Sony Xperia 1 (Spring 2019)
To set this year’s flagship phone apart, Sony went wide, opting for a display with a 21:9 aspect ratio for the Xperia 1. To put that in context, the wide-screen phones popular today offer a 19:9 aspect ratio. Sony’s display is more like a movie screen, making the Xperia 1 ideal for consuming movies and playing games.
You’ll want to create content, too, though, thanks to the triple lens setup on the back of the phone, which includes a trio of 12-megapixel cameras that handle ultra-wide, telephoto and main camera tasks. A Cinema Pro mode adds plenty of settings to make your videos look big-screen perfect. We don’t have a price on the Xperia 1 yet, but we know the phone’s slated to launch sometime this spring.
Motorola Razr (Unknown)
Could the iconic Motorola phone be making a comeback? The Wall Street Journal thought so back in February, reporting that Motorola could reintroduce the Razr as a foldable phone this year. Given that Motorola didn’t make a peep about the device during Mobile World Congress, and subsequently squashed all Razr-related rumors around the time of the G7 series’ launch, we’re not quite as certain when we’ll actually see the device in the flesh — though the phone’s appearance in a Bluetooth certification document in April hints that it may be happening after all.
There are few details in the Journal report, other than the fact that the phone would be released in a limited run exclusively on Verizon and cost $1,500, which might dim your nostalgia somewhat. If and when it does break cover, though, the new Razr could potentially give Samsung’s Galaxy Fold a run for its money.
Pixel 3a and 3a XL (Available Now)
Google’s long-rumored cheaper Pixels are now here: The company took the wraps off its $399 Pixel 3a and $479 Pixel 3a XL at its Google I/O developers conference May 7.
Google sacrificed a few features to make its Pixel line more accessible. There’s no cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, no glass back, no wireless charging and no water resistance. But the Pixels 3a offer the Pixel 3’s 12-MP rear camera and its powerful camera software, which could make them among the best smartphone cameras on the market right now. They also sport a headphone jack and are available to buy on more carriers than the Pixel 3. Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular will now sell the Pixel 3a and 3a XL.