iPhone 8, Note 8 headline 2017 smartphone releases

Alex Elchev, Reporter

In this Friday, March 24, 2017, photo, new Samsung Galaxy S8, left, and Galaxy S8 Plus mobile phones are displayed in New York. The Galaxy S8 features a larger display than its predecessor, the Galaxy S7, and sports a voice assistant intended to rival Siri and Google Assistant. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Apple and Samsung aren’t the only companies releasing phones this year.

While the iPhone 8 may be the most hyped phone release of 2017, nearly a dozen other companies are set to release products. After their disastrous Note 7, Samsung hopes to relaunch their Note line with the Note 8. Meanwhile, Nokia hopes to corner the nostalgia market with their new Nokia 3310. With these releases and many more, 2017 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years in smartphone history.

Leaks released on April 23rd, 2017 show that the iPhone 8 could be very different from its predecessors. Embracing edge-to-edge displays first employed by Samsung with their Note and Edge lines, the new design gives a full screen experience. The leaks also imply a fingerprint sensor built into the front screen, or placed on the back. Samsung has also agreed to build specialized OLED screens for Apple, meaning the screens could match those of the S8. It is also clear that the iPhone 8, along with most future Apple products, will lack a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Besides this, the iPhone 8 will also be faster and technologically superior to its predecessors.

Samsung managed to survive the Note 7 catastrophe, and hopes to regain its foothold against Apple with the Note 8. While the Note 7 was better than its iPhone counterpart, it was hindered by its battery; Samsung has promised that those problems are now solved, and that the Note 8 will be even better than the 7. Leaks released on May 29th, 2017 show a screen larger than that of the S8, yet similar to it by design. Samsung has also addressed the S8’s fingerprint scanner issue, and hopes to imbed it into the display. Details on weight, size, or the S-Pen are still unknown, while internal technology will also be boosted.

Google entered the smartphone market in October 2016 with the Google Pixel, a phone with specifications directly rivaling those of the iPhone 7. Google has also chosen to place a large focus on virtual reality, making their flagship phone capable of working with most headsets, much like Samsung. The Pixel 2 is set to be released in late 2017, and could establish Google as a worthy competitor to Apple and Samsung.

LG has largely sat behind the Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market, yet has consistently been making new phones every year. Their latest installment, the LG G6, is being hailed as the Samsung Galaxy S8 at half the price. It boasts an edge-to-edge display similar to that of the S8, and has a statistically better camera and battery. On top of this, it costs about 24% less than the S8. This phone, along with G-line phones in the near future, has the potential to push LG into the forefront of the smartphone market.

Like LG, Nokia has stood out of the limelight since their early success. The Nokia 3310, originally released in late 2000, has gained cult status on the internet because of its infamous durability. On February 26th, 2017, Nokia announced their bid to corner the nostalgia market with the new 3310. Despite having a full color digital display, the Nokia 2017 lavishes in its relative obsolescence, boasting terrible specifications in relation to its contemporary devices. With only 16MB of RAM, it can’t even access the internet, and takes outdated photographs with its 2 megapixel camera. Nokia knows that competing with larger companies would require major investment, and this phone might be its stepping stone to higher ground. For only around $100, the Nokia 3310 is cheap nostalgia.

When choosing a new phone, it is helpful to consider all options before making a decision. While Apple and Samsung will continue to be the kings of the mobile market, a new iPhone or Galaxy might not be the best phone available.