Smartphones 2012: The Best Are Yet to Come

Thinking about buying a new mobile phone? You may want to hold off, once you see the amazing array of phone options arriving later this year.

So Many Phones, So Little Time

In the market for a new smartphone? Consider waiting for a few weeks or even a few months before buying. Plenty of interesting phones are available now, but even more are coming--and soon--from the likes of HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony.

We've rounded up the latest announcements and rumors so that you can decide whether to take the plunge now or to delay your purchase in anticipation of a new phone that will be perfect for you.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE

Carrier: Verizon Wireless

Launch date: June or July 2012

Why you'll want it: Verizon Wireless recently announced the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE. If you can get past its mouthful of a name, you'll find that this follow-up to the popular Droid Incredible 2 is a worthy successor.

It features a slim and sleek design, an 8-megapixel camera, high-quality audio and video, and support for Verizon's speedy 4G network. And since the carrier plans to launch this phone "in the coming weeks," this is one device you can get your paws on soon.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon

Launch date: June or July 2012--check with your carrier for date

Why you'll want it: The Samsung Galaxy S III has already launched in Europe, where it's earning rave reviews for its spacious 4.8-inch screen, 1GB of memory, 8-megapixel camera, and quad-core processor. If you just can't wait until late June or early July, you can snap up an unlocked version of the Galaxy S III for $800 on Amazon, as of June 1.

Nokia 808 PureView

Carrier: Unlocked

Launch date: Summer 2012

Why you'll want it: Nokia's 808 PureView has a 41-megapixel camera whose image quality some sources have compared to that of digital SLRs.

Other 808 PureView features include a 4-inch touchscreen and 3G support. Nokia has confirmed that it plans to launch an unlocked version of this phone in the United States this summer or fall.

Samsung Galaxy Appeal

Carrier: AT&T

Launch date: June 5, 2012

Why you'll want it: Opting for a no-contract, prepaid phone can save you big bucks on your monthly bill. And you don't have to settle for a plain-Jane flip phone to take advantage of these prepaid plans.

The Samsung Galaxy Appeal is a case in point. This Android-based, slider-style smartphone's specs are adequate though not flashy: a 3-megapixel camera, Android 2.3, and a 3.2-inch screen). But what you sacrifice in specs, you get back in pocket change, since you can use the Appeal with AT&T's affordable GoPhone voice and data plans.

[Related: "12 Tips to Cut Your Cell Phone Bill"]

Apple iPhone 5

Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, ???

Launch date: To be determined

Why you'll want it: Apple says that it will "double down" on secrecy with regard to upcoming products, but the company can't stop the iPhone 5 rumor mill. Since last year's launch of the iPhone 4S (and even before that product was announced), iOS enthusiasts have been awaiting the iPhone 5.

Will it include 4G support? Will it have a redesigned case? Will it come with a Liquidmetal design? Will it launch in September or October? Who knows? We sure don't. But we do know that plenty of folks will be lining up to buy one, whenever it reaches stores.

Photo: Courtesy of 9To5Mac

Sony Xperia Ion

Carrier: AT&T

Launch date: By end of year, 2012

Why you'll want it: Sony's Xperia Ion debuted at CES 2012, and turned heads with its 4.6 "HD Reality" display, 12-megapixel camera, and support for AT&T's 4G LTE network. You also get PlayStation compatibility, so you can use the phone to play some of your favorite games.

Samsung Omnia M

Carrier: TBD

Launch date: TBD

Why you'll want it: The Windows Phone platform may lack the buzz of iOS and Android, but it has some dedicated fans--and they will surely appreciate this budget-friendly smartphone. The Samsung Omnia M was recently announced in Europe and has been cleared by the FCC for launch in the United States. Samsung hasn't set a date for its arrival on our shores, but when the phone debuts here you can expect it to sport a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1GHz processor, and 3G support.

Motorola Droid Razr HD

Carrier: Verizon Wireless (rumored)
Launch date: Summer 2012 (rumored)

Why you'll want it: It's been called the Motorola Vanquish and the Droid Fighter, but now, according to the Cellebrite system that Verizon uses to keep track of its retail items, this phone has an official name: the Droid Razr HD.

People have spotted the Droid Razr HD in Verizon's system, leading observers to believe that this device, which is rumored to include 4G support and a camera with a resolution of up to 13 megapixels, will reach store shelves soon.

Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate

Carrier: AT&T

Launch date: June 10, 2012

Why you'll want it: Announced at CES 2012, the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate and made a splash with its eco-friendly design and bargain-basement price of less than $50 with an AT&T contract. Additional features include a 4-inch Super AMOLED display and a 5-megapixel camera.

Huawei Ascend Y200

Carrier: TBD

Launch date: TBD

Why you'll want it: The Huawei Ascend Y200, which debuted at CTIA 2012 in May, isn't the latest and greatest Android phone. But its entry-level specs (which include a 3.5-inch screen and a 3.2-megapixel camera) are likely to appeal to young and first-time smartphone users.

That same crowd will probably appreciate this model's bargain price, as this phone is expected to be offered on prepaid plans.

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