The iPhone XS (L) and XS Max
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  • Samsung and Huawei recently unveiled new foldable smartphones launching this year.
  • Apple, Samsung, and Google typically launch new smartphones in the late summer and autumn, and that tradition is expected to continue in 2019.
  • These are our most-anticipated smartphones of the year.

Those planning to upgrade their smartphone this year will surely have plenty of options to choose from.

From Samsung's and Huawei's new foldable phones unveiled last month to devices made by Apple and Google that are rumoured to arrive later in 2019, this year is shaping up to be a promising one for smartphone launches.

See below for the phones we're most looking forward to seeing this year, some of which have already been announced and others which are only rumoured at this point.


Samsung Galaxy Fold

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Samsung's first foldable smartphone, the appropriately named Samsung Galaxy Fold, is launching on April 26. The $1,980 (R28,000) device can open like a book thanks to its flexible screen and hinge. When closed, the Galaxy Fold offers a smartphone screen measuring 4.6 inches, which then unfolds to function as an 7.3-inch tablet.

The company says it has been working with developers to ensure that apps transition smoothly between phone and tablet mode. The phone can also run three apps simultaneously on screen at once.

Samsung unveiled the phone during an event on Feb. 20 alongside its new Galaxy S10 lineup. But since Samsung didn't make the phone available for media to try following its keynote, we still don't know much about what it's like to actually use the Galaxy Fold.


Huawei Mate X

Not to be outdone, Huawei unveiled its own foldable smartphone, the Mate X, just days after Samsung's Galaxy Fold debuted.

But there are some key differences between the two, especially when it comes to design. Unlike Samsung's phone, the Huawei Mate X features a wraparound display, giving it a paper-like crease that more naturally blends into the screen. It offers a 6.6-inch screen on the front and a 6.38 screen on the back when in phone mode, and an 8-inch tablet display when unfolded.

The Mate X will cost around R43,000 and is said to launch in the middle of 2019.


Motorola Razr

Your favourite flip phone from the early 2000s is slated to make a comeback this year, but with a very 2019 twist: it will have a foldable screen.

The Wall Street Journal reported in January that the Lenovo-owned company plans to launch a new foldable version of the Razr that will cost around $1,500 (R21,000) - which would make it much cheaper than both Samsung's and Huawei's foldable phones.

It's unclear exactly when the device will launch, but it seems plausible that it will come in 2019 considering the report said it could debut as soon as February. Motorola has yet to unveil the device.


New iPhones

Apple has historically unveiled new iPhones every September, and it looks like 2019 is shaping up to be no different.

Apple is reportedly planning to release three new iPhones this year to succeed the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, according to reports from Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

The sequel to top-of the line iPhone Xs Max is expected to have a triple-lens camera, similar to Samsung's recently announced Galaxy S10, while the next edition of the iPhone Xs will likely have an improved OLED screen. Apple's updated version of the iPhone XR is expected to have a better LCD screen and a double-lens camera, just like the current iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max.


Google Pixel 3 Lite

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Google may launch a less expensive version of its flagship premium smartphone this fall, following in Apple's and Samsung's footsteps. Details on the new phone are scarce, but a report from Nikkei Asian Review indicate the phone will be less expensive than Apple's R14,799 iPhone XR.

Several leaks have indicated that this cheaper Pixel phone will look similar to its pricier siblings, but with a plastic body and a headphone jack. Google typically debuts its new gadgets in the fall, but Android Police has reported that the Pixel 3 Lite and its larger counterpart, the Pixel 3 XL Lite, will be launching this spring.

The launch would provide Google with a smartphone lineup similar to those offered by Apple and Samsung, both of which offer alternate versions of their flagship smartphones that compromise on certain features and cost less.


OnePlus 7

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The OnePlus 6T is one of our favorite smartphones of 2018, and it looks like the Chinese startup may have a successor in the works.

The company is working on a new device powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855, which is expected to be the OnePlus 7. And while Samsung's recently announced Galaxy S10 features a new display design with a hole-punch cutout for its selfie camera to minimise the bezels framing the screen, OnePlus may take that concept one step further. The OnePlus 7 might have a pop-out camera instead of one that's embedded above the screen like most traditional smartphones, according to reportedly leaked photos from Indian tech news blog Pricebaba.

OnePlus is also working on a 5G-enabled smartphone, but it's unclear if this is going to be the OnePlus 7 or a separate device. The company has not said when it plans to launch any upcoming devices, although it debuted the OnePlus 6 in May and the OnePlus 6T in October.


Samsung Galaxy Note 10

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Samsung only just unveiled its new Galaxy S10 phones last month, but we're already looking forward to what it may have in store for its next Galaxy Note later this year.

Samsung usually differentiates the Note from its Galaxy S lineup by giving it a larger screen and an S Pen, and the company will likely maintain that pattern in 2019. The Galaxy Note 10 is rumored to have an even more massive 6.66-inch display, making it bigger than the iPhone XS Max, Samsung Galaxy S10+, and Samsung Galaxy Note 9, according to Korean media outlets.

Samsung typically unveils its larger, stylus-toting Note smartphones in the late summer timeframe.

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