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The Best Upcoming Cell Phones


The holiday season is typically a quiet one for mobile phone rumors. All the major manufacturers have put their best devices forward, hoping for big sales between now and the end of the year. In early January, the rumor mill will kick into high gear once again at the CES trade show, followed by the second whammy of the even-more mobile-focused Mobile World Congress (MWC) in late February. 
Now that we have the iPhone 5S, Moto X, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2, Nokia Lumia 1020, and BlackBerry Z30, what's there left to wait for? Rumors and mysteries, my phone-loving friend, rumors and mysteries. I've thought of seven potential phones which I'm going to be keeping my eye out for over the next few months, and you can guarantee that this list will grow and change after the two big trade shows of early 2014.
There are two kinds of phones you won't find on this list...yet. I'm very excited about hearing Windows Phone announcements at MWC, but I haven't seen any Windows Phone rumors that are solid enough to hang my hat onjust some really predictable guesses at upscaled Nokia Lumias. Also, there's no Apple phone here; we don't expect to see any new iPhones until September.
If you're interested in phone rumors and upcoming devices, I hope you follow Evan Blass on Twitter @evleaks. He's the master of mobile-phone mystery. Meanwhile, check out our picks for the top upcoming cell phones below.

The Amazon Phone
Kindle Fire Mayday

We know Amazon is working on a phone. The company confirmed that it wouldn't come out with a smartphone in 2013, but, of course, 2013 is almost over. As with a lot of rumored devices, there's so much noise around the Amazon phone that it's tough to separate the fact from really silly fiction.
Rumors so far include one phone, or two phones. One of them might have a simulated 3D UI created by tracking the user's head position. They might be sold at cost (although Amazon says they won't be free.) At the very least, they'll have a phone version of Amazon's new Fire OS, with its simple interface and "Mayday" customer service feature, shown on the Kindle Fire tablet on the left.
Amazon likes to go it alone with product releases, so it won't show these new phones at a trade show. If I were to guess an announcement date, I'd reach for March.

BlackBerry Q30
If BlackBerry doesn't stop selling phones, its next two major phones may be the Z50a yet-larger touch screen phoneand the QWERTY keyboarded Q30, according to CrackBerry. Just as I was more excited for the Q10 than for the Z10, the Q30 looks interesting because it keeps that niche, hardware keyboard flavor alive. The current rumor is that the Q30 will come out in the second quarter of 2014, likely at BlackBerry's annual developer conference in May.
The very existence of the Q30 is in question, though, because these new phones were creations of the previous Thorsten Heins regime at BlackBerry. With the new CEO, John Chen, all bets are off and all options are open. He could continue to release phonesor he could scrap the whole line and turn BlackBerry into a software company. We'll know that by May, for sure.

HTC Two (M8)
I hate code names. I like real product names. So I'm calling the "HTC M8" (that's now popping up all over the rumor sites) the "HTC Two," although others have called it the "HTC One Two" or the "HTC One+." With the flagship HTC One now almost a year old, it's clearly time for an upgrade.
What's in that upgrade? So far, it sounds like the Snapdragon 800 processor, another 4-megapixel Ultrapixel camera, and a 5-inch, 1080p screen, just like on the HTC One. It's likely topped by Android 4.4 KitKat and a new version of HTC's Sense OS skin. But HTC is going to need to do more than just bump up the power in its well-regarded, but financially unsuccessful flagship phone, to make a big splash.

LG G Flex
LG G FlexLG's curved smartphone will probably be the first curved-screen phone to hit our shores, since we haven't seen plans for the Samsung Galaxy Round to come here. Display expert Dr. Ray Soneira says the curved screen actually has a purpose: it reduces reflection and makes images more visible. LG's official preview sign-up page mentions all the major U.S. carriers.
The G Flex has a 6-inch, 720p screen, a Snapdragon 800 processor, a 13-megapixel camera, and a "self-healing" coating on the back that can fix scratches. The volume and power buttons are on the back of the phone, like on LG's G2. Thanks to a very slim bezel, it's relatively narrow for a phone with a 6-inch screen.
We expect to see the G Flex in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2014.

Verizon Wireless Motorola Moto G
Motorola Moto GMotorola gave AT&T and T-Mobile users a Thanksgiving gift by putting the GSM version of the low-cost Moto G phone on sale, but the Verizon Wireless CDMA version is still scheduled for January.
The Moto G has respectable specs, with a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, a 5-megapixel camera, a 4.5-inch 720p display and Android 4.4 Kit Kat. It will lack LTE, which might make it a tough sellexcept that it will be very, very inexpensive for a phone with this processor speed and build quality. I expect Verizon will sell the Moto G for $99 prepaid and free with contract. It's a step above the current phones Verizon is selling for prepaid plans, that's for sure.
We went hands on with the Moto G on its launch day, and we were very impressed with the materials used on this sub-$200, off-contract phone.

Samsung Galaxy S5
When, oh when, will we see the follow up to the wildly popular S4? Probably March; Mobile World Congress or even CES if we're lucky. Since this is a Samsung flagship phone, expect everything to be bigger, better, and more, more, more. Also, more.
Rumors have Samsung swapping out its traditional plastic shell for a metal frame, using an octo-core, 64-bit Exynos processor, 16-megapixel camera, and packing either a bigger, curved, or higher-def screen. At CES, expect to hear more from Samsung about how its cameras and TVs will work together with phones, as well.
If you're a spec hound who wants the most of everything, you'll probably want to keep your ear to the ground for this one.

Yotaphone
Hands On With The Yotaphone at CES 2013One oldie but goodie still on the want list: Yotaphone's dual-screen, e-ink Android phone is scheduled for a December release in Russia, which means we should have a chance to see it pop up in January in the U.S.
The Yotaphone is a curiosity, but it's a very interesting one. I love the idea of a phone that uses its back cover for good, in this case for custom wallpapers or to store maps, boarding passes, or other relatively static information you might need to consult throughout the day.
The phone's specs are still good for late 2013: Android 4.2.2, a dual-core processor, a 13-megapixel camera and a 4.3-inch, 720p screen. The big question now is whether Yota will keep its phone restricted to Europe, or whether it will make a version supporting U.S. frequency bands.


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