It's nice that Apple, Samsung, and others are continually updating their flagship phones, but let's be honest: it can get a little boring when it seems like the only thing changing about your phone is the number at the end of the name. Here are a few upcoming options that should appeal to those who want to carry something a little different in their pocket.
If you love the cloud, you'll probably love Robin. This phone is designed from the ground up to back up everything to cloud storage, from apps to photos and music. The phone should keep everything you need accessible but delete anything you don't use or look at — until you want it. The design is fresh and new as well. There's still time to back the phone on Kickstarter, and it starts at a reasonable $350 unlocked.
Some people are bothered by the fact that most phones are made in huge factories in China, where labor and environmental regulations are more lax. They might want to check out the new Fairphone, which is intended to address those ethical scruples. The company makes sure all workers are paid a living wage, the materials are carefully sourced, and the phone itself is designed to be easy to repair or upgrade. Pre-orders are open, though a clean conscience will set you back at least $600.
Looking to really set yourself apart from the crowd? Check out the Runcible: half smartphone, half pocket watch. This diminutive device has a circular screen and wooden back, and is meant to connect you to others and the web while being a minimally "smart" experience — you won't be playing the latest games or watching 4K movies. It's still very much in development, but we expect updates any day now.
It's hard to impress smartphone aficionados these days, but the Turing Phone ought to do the trick. It's equipped with flagship specs and a strong body made from "liquidmorphium," a cool new alloy. Its creators also claim to provide a serious boost to security that eschews third parties like Apple and Google and connects directly to trusted devices. It even has a cool magnetic charge cable! Just be ready to shell out: $740 will get you the 64GB version.
DJs and music lovers rejoice: here's a phone just for you! The London is the first smartphone from Marshall, famous for its guitar amps and, lately, headphones and speakers. There are extra-large front-facing speakers for jamming while out and about, and the two headphone ports can carry different signals — one for the hi-fi and one for beat-matching the next track. It's not going to be quite as durable as the company's amps, and the specs aren't that impressive, but you have to hand it to the designers. It'll cost around $580 if anyone in the states decides to start selling it (you can always import).