More flagship smartphones on the way with LG, Huawei next in line

PCWorld News

HTC and Samsung Electronics impressed Mobile World Congress attendees with new high-end smartphones, but they won’t be the only game in town for long: LG Electronics and Huawei Technologies are readying competing products expected to be announced next month.

The shortage of new flagship smartphones at the show last week was a bit of a disappointment. But for those who weren’t entirely convinced by the HTC One M9, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 edge, more devices are on the way for buyers who aren’t afraid of pricier products.

The most highly anticipated is the successor to the LG G3, which unsurprisingly is expected to be called the G4. LG has so far kept quiet on when the smartphone will be unveiled, but an event is expected to take place in April. To steal some of Samsung’s thunder, the company would do well to at least start posting teasers before April 10, which is when the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge go on sale.

In light of the growing focus on design at Mobile World Congress, it wouldn’t be surprising if LG uses better materials for the G4 than it did for the G3. But don’t necessarily bet on a nice high-end, all-metal design or a metal frame combined with a glass back (which the Galaxy S6 has).

The G3 might be made of plastic but it looked much better than the Galaxy S5. So, LG isn’t under as much pressure as Samsung was to update the looks of its flagship. Also, sticking with plastic allows the company to keep the price down.

The specifications for LG’s new smartphone are the subject of multiple rumors, and include a screen with a 1620 x 2880 pixel resolution. But I am keeping my fingers crossed for a 5.3-inch screen that keeps the G3’s 1440 by 2560 pixel resolution.

That would mean shrinking the screen size from 5.5 to 5.3 inches, which might seem like a strange move, but to me the G3 feels a bit too wide. Also, LG has shown it isn’t averse to the concept: the G Flex2 has a 5.5-inch screen instead of the 6-inch screen on the G Flex.

While LG is quiet on its plans for the G4 launch, Huawei has started to post teasers for an event on April 8. The date likely isn’t a random pick, since the company is expected to present the P8. It also comes before the Samsung ship date.

The Ascend P7 was a big step forward for Huawei in terms of both design and performance. The company, like HTC, is anticipated to stick with a full HD resolution, but with a screen that’s a bit larger than the P7’s 5 inches. The teasers Huawei have posted hint at a better battery life and an improved camera.

Meanwhile, Sony Mobile is also reported to have a new high-end smartphone up its sleeve. The Xperia Z4 was expected to premiere at Mobile World Congress, but the struggling smartphone maker announced the Xperia Z4 Tablet and the mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua instead.

Sony needs a hit if the smartphone division is to survive. Whether a device that’s expected to have a 5.2-inch, 1440 x 2560 screen and a Snapdragon 810 processor is enough remains to be seen. But the future doesn’t look very bright.

Sony said on Monday that up to 1,000 people at its Swedish unit would be let go. One of the areas the unit specializes in is software development, so the layoffs hint that Sony in the future will spend fewer resources on in-house apps and Android user interface customization. On Wednesday, the company also pulled the plug on the PlayStation Mobile platform.

So what’s the best strategy for the smart smartphone buyer? The One M9, Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge are all good-looking products with great performance, and they likely won’t disappoint fans. But for people who aren’t dead-set on getting an HTC or Samsung device, waiting one or two months is arguably the best plan.

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