The OnePlus One is a new Android phone that could make a splash in 2014.
Looking to buy a new business phone? You might want to wait. A slew of hot new smartphones are set to launch in the coming months.
Sure, 2014 has already seen its share of major releases. This spring, HTC unveiled the new HTC One M8, which packs a slick all-metal body, and Samsung debuted the featured-packed Galaxy S5. Nokia also released the Lumia Icon, its new flagship Windows Phone. But some of the year's biggest releases are still to come, including a new version of Apple's iPhone and a follow-up to Samsung's stylus-equipped Galaxy Note 3. Meanwhile, a new Android phone from startup OnePlus could make a splash. Read on for five of the best business phones to look forward to.
Apple's iPhone 5s is a great phone, but its compact 4-inch display could be too small for some people. Reports indicate that Apple might deliver a much bigger device in the iPhone 6, which is expected to debut this fall in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch variants. That's a big deal for business users who depend on their smartphone to stay productive but prefer a larger display. Both models are also rumored to include a blazing-fast A8 processor, an upgrade over the speedy 64-bit A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s.
The iPhone 6 is also expected to include the same fingerprint reader that debuted with the iPhone 5s. The reader is embedded in the phone's home button, and lets you unlock the device simply by placing your finger on the button. And, of course, the iPhone is the only smartphone that gives you access to Apple's App Store, which features the biggest, and arguably the best, library of business and productivity apps on any platform.
This spring, LG is preparing to unveil a successor to its flagship phone, the LG G2. The so-called LG G3 could be one of the year's most noteworthy business phones if it retains the G2's superlong battery life; the phone ran for up to 11 hours in tests that involved continuous Web browsing, making it one of the longest-lasting smartphones ever made. In addition to longevity, the G2 boasts a snappy quad-core processor, a roomy 5.2-inch display and a handy multitasking feature called QSlide, which lets you run a second app in a floating window over your main app. That's a plus for business users who need to juggle tasks such as responding to email while conducting research in a Web browser.
LG hasn't yet announced which features will get an upgrade for the LG G3, but fans won't have to wait long to find out. The company is expected to show the device off at a special press event on May 27, though it's not yet known when the phone will hit store shelves.
The OnePlus One, set to launch this June, is a powerful new business phone with a unique set of features. The 5.5-inch Android device packs a huge display, a top-tier processor and a high-capacity battery. But the phone also adds features you won't find in many flagship phones, such as always-on voice commands. So instead of fiddling with menus and touch-screen controls, you can set an alarm, place an appointment in your calendar or access turn-by-turn directions by uttering a few words — even when the display is off.
The OnePlus One also offers a few notable security features you won't find in most other smartphones. For instance, the phone's Privacy Guard setting lets you block individual apps from accessing personal information stored on your device. The OnePlus One also ships with built-in encryption for SMS text messages, to ensure your private business communications remain private.
This spring, Windows Phone fans saw the release of a new flagship device in the Nokia Lumia Icon. Now Nokia is following that up with the Lumia 635, a new midrange Windows Phone with a lower price point. That could make it worth a look for budget-minded business users, especially since the device runs on Windows Phone 8.1, a new version of Microsoft's mobile operating system.
One of the phone's standout features is Cortana, a voice-activated personal digital assistant that can notify you of upcoming appointments, flight information, weather alerts and more. Also new in Windows Phone 8.1 is the Action Center, which is similar to the notification hub found on both the Android and iOS operating systems. Just swipe down from the top of your phone's display to view all of your alerts at a glance. And like every Windows Phone device, the Lumia 635 is fully integrated with the desktop version of Microsoft Office.
Galaxy Note 4
This fall, Samsung is expected to launch a follow-up to the Galaxy Note 3, one of the best business phones ever made, thanks, in part, to the included S Pen stylus, which slides out from a slot on the phone's chassis, and turns the device into a note-taking machine. The phablet also boasts a stunning 5.7-inch display that's big enough for real productivity tasks.
Samsung hasn't officially confirmed any details about the Note 3's successor, but there are a few safe bets. For starters, fans can expect the line's trademark stylus to return for the Galaxy Note 4. Its display, meanwhile, should rival the Samsung's newer Galaxy S5 in terms of brightness and picture quality. Finally, considering Samsung packed a fingerprint reader into the S5's home button, it's likely the company will do the same for the Note 4. A fingerprint reader can make your business phone more secure, since only you can unlock the device with a quick swipe of your finger.