Concept phones: dreams and prospective realities

As mobile technology breaks new barriers every day, every hour, even every minute, a keen, palpitating anticipation persistently prevails in the hearts of consumers and enthusiasts alike. With anticipation, naturally, comes dreaming, and that is where the most wondrous of ideas take root, often blooming into concept models. Some of these are certain future releases, some believable rumors, and others a logical extension of a company’s present offerings.

Here is a look at the five most eagerly awaited phones in the upcoming list across all the three categories. A wish-list of smart phones for the future:

1. The iPhone 5

It is an error to use this name for Apple’s next generation of the iPhone, for nothing much about it, including what it will be called, is known. This is in keeping with Apple’s tight-lipped tradition and hype-building strategy, but the successor to the iPhone 4S is expected to be a tradition-breaker in many other ways. First, the screen size is rumored to undergo an unprecedented change, from the trademark 3.5 inches to 4 inches or more. This means more pixels will now to accommodate in the display: a development that many users have been praying for. And the aspect ratio, 3:2 before, will most likely change to the more standard 16:9. This might initially prove a headache for app developers, but adjustments won’t take long. Also, the dual-glass panel of the 4S’s body may be replaced by metal; and not by plain old aluminum, but an extremely rare alloy called liquid metal, which feels just like glass. As for the hardware specs, they are anybody’s guess. Whether Apple finally shifts to quad-core to outdo Samsung’s S3 isn’t clear, but one thing definitely is: the bigger, better iPhone 5 (or the new iPhone, or whatever name Apple pulls out of the hat) is sure to be worship-worthy for the millions who practice the religion widely known as the Cult of Apple.

2. HTC One XXL/ HTC One Note

HTC’s One series has proved to be a lifesaver for the company, particularly the One X and the One XL. The tech-vine is now abuzz with talks of a next generation Smartphone being built by this Taiwanese giant, to be introduced in direct competition to Samsung’s Galaxy Note. Needless to say, this new model, variably titled the One XXL and the One Note, is going to emerge with a giant screen, anywhere in the range of 4.8 to 5.5 inches (the former, if leaked photos are to be believed). What truly humbles the techie’s soul, however, is a listing of the XXL’s other specifications: a Qualcomm S4 processor, a 1080p LG True IPS display, 4G connectivity, NFC, and a 10 MP camera with dual LED flash. And, of course, a la the Galaxy Note, the XXL will come equipped with a Magic Pen of its own, one that uses both the display and magnetic fields. The OS will most likely be the Android Jelly Bean, laid over with the HTC Sense 4.0 UI. If these are indeed factoids and not just the whims of the vine, the One XXL a.k.a the One Note might just give the Galaxy Note and its upcoming successor a good run for their money.

3. Samsung Galaxy Note II

It hasn’t even been one year since the Galaxy Note came out, and Samsung is already ready with its sequel. If rumors (some well-founded) are to be believed, the Samsung Galaxy Note II will see light of day in September this year. The display is expected to magnify to 5.5 inches, with the overall screen size and form-factor not undergoing major changes. A little more of curves might be visible though, keeping in tune with Samsung’s changing trends evidenced by the S3. The specs are, as expected, other-worldly: a quad-core Exynos processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, 4G LTE, 1680 x 1050 screen resolution and, the mother of all things worth snapping, a 13 MP camera. Some of these details might not actually turn up, but even if a fraction do, the Note II is likely to keep Samsung’s reign of the 5+ inch niche market intact.

4. The Facebook Phone

Ever since Facebook became the behemoth that it is, there has been hushed expectation of Zuckerberg’s baby using its expansive social network to burgeon into the hardware sector and come up with a phone of its own. Since the manufacturing part might turn into a needless liability, it is likelier that Facebook will tie up with a leading phone-maker to achieve this. And the most probable partnership, according to the incessant whispers, is that with HTC. If the Facebook phone does indeed turn from dream to handheld reality, the design is expected to be classic HTC, with a polished finish to increase its high-end feel. The screen could be around 4.5 inches, and the OS will most probably be a highly-altered version of Android’s Jelly Bean. The core of the phone, as if it needs evocation, will be geared towards one thing and one thing only: highly interactive social networking.

5. The Amazon Phone

The Kindle series and the Kindle Fire put one thing beyond doubt: if Amazon dabbles in hardware, it dabbles with purpose and panache. Especially with the Kindle Fire, which doesn’t hold a candle, specifications wise, to high-end tablets like the iPad or the Galaxy Tab and is yet selling like candy, the company demonstrated that price and ergonomics alone can make a model successful. Amazon’s strongest asset, of course, is its unparalleled repository of knowledge, information and entertainment media. Backed by this and its enviable cloud technology and server space, the next product logically in line is the Amazon Phone. As with the Fire, this phone, which could run with the Kindle tag, is expected to carry a stripped-down and multimedia-centric version of Android, with extensive access to Amazon’s store. And it will hardly be surprising if the Amazon Phone comes with a dedicated Buy button.

The heart wants what it wants, and a gadget enthusiast’s heart is bound to yearn for offerings like the above. Whether the heart gets what it wants is another matter, and this is when the answers will emerge: the iPhone 5 is expected to launch in October 2012, the Galaxy Note II in September, and the One Note possibly even earlier. As for the Facebook Phone and the Amazon Phone, they still rest firmly in the realm of rumor. The coming years will most likely see them land on store-shelves, years that will without doubt be marquee for the entire technology world.