This summer is shaping up to be a busy time for phone releases, with a number of high-profile models hitting store shelves between now and the end of August.
I’m going to give a quick summary of the ones I know there are people eagerly awaiting, in case there’s anyone who has somehow missed out.
At the top of the list is the Palm Pre, which is set to launch tomorrow morning. The hardware on this model is fairly average, so what sets it apart will be its operating system: the new webOS. This will be able to wirelessly synchronize a wide variety of data with consumer services like Google and Facebook, as well as corporate ones like Microsoft Exchange.
This device will have an HVGA display, a sliding keyboard, wireless broadband, Wi-Fi, GPS, and 8 GB of internal Storage in place of a memory card slot.
The Pre will be released by Sprint, who is charging $200 with a two-year contract.
Apple iPhone V3
Apple is widely expected to announce the next-generation iPhone this Monday. According to leaks and rumors, this will be an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary model. Its feature set will be improved, but not dramatically so.
It will supposedly have twice the Storage capacity, support for recording and editing video, and a handful of other new features, some of which are long overdue, like MMS support.
Like I said, the announcement is expected to happen on Monday, but the release if the third-generation iPhone reportedly isn’t going to happen until July 17.
The next flagship smartphone from the Finnish giant, the Nokia N97, will hit world markets later this month. The second touchscreen-enabled Symbian S60 device from Nokia will feature a sliding QWERTY keyboard, 32 GB of internal memory, a 5 megapixel camera, a microSDHC memory card slot, and a host of other features.
This phone will be released in 75 countries, including the United States, where it will have the frequencies used by most carriers for their 3G networks. No U.S. carrier has announced plans to offer it, though.
It will have a 3.6-inch WVGA flip-up touchscreen, a landscape-oriented QWERTY keyboard, mobile broadband, GPS, microSD card slot… and that’s just the beginning. This smartphone will debut with Windows Mobile 6.1, but look for an update to Windows Mobile 6.5 after its release.
All four of the big wireless carriers in the U.S. are planning to release their own versions of the Touch Pro2, starting this summer.
All the details on this model aren’t known yet, but it will supposedly strongly resemble its predecessor, but be a bit thinner. Rumor says it will have Wi-Fi, unlike the current model, and the fate of the Storm’s clickscreen is uncertain.
Verizon is allegedly planning to release this BlackBerry this month. If not, it will certainly come later this year, as the head of Verizon has already committed to it.
One of the most popular designs for smartphones is a tablet shape with a QWERTY keyboard. A number of wireless carriers around the world are allegedly prepping a Windows phone using this design called the HTC Snap.
This slim device will be the replacement for the T-Mobile Dash, and offer Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard, wireless broadband, and Wi-Fi.
The Snap — under a variety of names — is supposedly in its way to T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon in the U.S. this summer.
HTC Magic, Hero, and Memphis
The HTC Magic, the second model running Google’s Android OS, is already available in Europe, and T-Mobile USA is rumored to have its eye on it for this summer. It is expected to be a companion model for the T-Mobile G1, as it lacks the current model’s hardware keyboard. It does have an HVGA display, 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
The next two Android-based models from HTC are expected to be unveiled in June 24. Details on these are a bit sketchy, but the Hero will have a tablet shape with a pronounced “chin”, while the Memphis will have a landscape-oriented sliding keyboard.
During the third quarter of this year, AT&T is reportedly going to release a version of the HTC Memphis, under a different name of course. Where the hero is headed is a bit murkier.
As I said earlier, the Palm Pre is going to be released tomorrow, and a follow-up is reportedly going to debut during the third quarter of this year, so it could be out this summer.
This smartphone is rumored to be headed to Sprint and AT&T, where it’s expected to sell for less than the Pre.