HOA Weekly Wrap: 2016 Flagship Rumors Inbound!

Galaxy S7 Lineup Allegedly has 4 different SKUs

Welcome back to another edition of the HOA Weekly Wrap! As 2015 winds down, we’ll of course be taking a look at all of our favorite phones, smartwatches, accessories, and devices of the past year. Before we could even get to that, the 2016 flagships rumors started pouring in over the past week. We heard rumors regarding Xiaomi’s Mi5, HTC’s Perfume (possibly the M10 or a different flagship line), and the entire lineup for the Galaxy S7. Before we dive deeper into the biggest rumors and stories this week, have a look at our excellent video coverage from the past 7 days:

The Xiaomi Mi5 should be one of the first phones to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor. Originally the device was expected to bring a 5.2″ QHD display, but leaks this past week have shown those plans may have changed to a 5″ 1080p display. We still expect 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, 16mp rear camera, and 8mp front facing camera, USB Type-C port, and the latest version of MIUI over Android 5.1.1. It is pretty disappointing if the device indeed launches with Lollipop this far into the Marshmallow release cycle. I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on a device with the 820 inside so I hope Xiaomi will launch the Mi5 soon.

It was reported this week that HTC has sold a decent number of A9 smartphones and it has turned around there Q4 profits as a result. While this is certainly good for the struggling OEM, they are going to need a big flagship hit in 2016 to truly make a comeback in the Android space. We heard earlier this week that the original HTC O2 flagship with a 6″ display had been scrapped, and replaced with a device with codename Perfume. There was not a lot of information immediately available about Perfume, but it is said to release with Android 6.1 on board. This means likely that the device will not see a release until Mobile World Congress. I personally hope that HTC releases a large phablet device in 2016 as I was a fan of the original One Max. One thing is certain, HTC needs at least one big hit for its flagship lineup in 2016.

Samsung is widely expected to release the Galaxy S7 earlier than usual in 2016. Typically we see Samsung announce their Galaxy S lineup at MWC with retail availability around a month later. In 2016 it looks like Samsung will announce the phone a week or two before MWC to accelerate retail availability. Over the past week we’ve begun to see several Galaxy S7 rumors. Popular mobile leaker Evan Blass tweeted that the S7 release will feature 4 separate SKUs-S7, S7 Plus, S7 Edge, S7 Edge Plus. It certainly seems strange that Samsung would release a S7 Plus that might eat into sales of the Note lineup, but they have done crazier things in the past. In addition to the multiple SKUs, several renders from case manufacturer Olixar and Onleaks/uSwitch surfaced this week. The renders show very minimal changes from the design language of the Galaxy S6. The power button appears to be wider, but more narrow, and the front facing camera has moved to the far right of the top bezel. We should definitely keep seeing S7 leaks in the coming weeks, so it will be interesting what changes Samsung has changed to entice us to upgrade.

In addition to all of the hardware rumors this week, the Moto X Pure Edition began receiving the Android 6.0 OTA! Users that have a Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular, and AT&T sim in their Moto X Pure edition have begun receiving this OTA. I personally received this OTA on Moto X and it is incredibly smooth! It appears Motorola did a great job this year by waiting a few extra weeks to get out the Android update on their flagship. We also received word that the DROID Turbo 2 is receiving a soak test that may contain Marshmallow-it appears Motorola is making it a priority to get their big phones update right away.

That’s about it for this week. If you’re in the market for a Chromecast, remember that Google is offering $20 Play Credit with purchase until January 2, 2016. Stay tuned this week for our coverage of Best of Android 2015, and stay HIGH on Android!

 

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Jeff Springer

"I am currently a researcher and Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University. I fell in love with Android with the Nexus One release and realized that it was superior to iOS in all the ways I care about. I still use a Mac (and an iPhone for the camera), but my Apple tech products pale in comparison to my number of Android devices (watches, tablets, and phones). When I’m not rooting/modding one of my many Android phones or doing math/programming, you can find me taking in Phoenix Suns/Arizona Diamondbacks games in downtown Phoenix, and drinking good beer!"