New iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S21 and other top gadgets to watch out for in 2021

Dubai - Tech world set to dole out more innovations next year after a rather slow 2020



By Alvin R. Cabral

Published: Mon 28 Dec 2020, 4:32 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 Dec 2020, 4:43 PM

2020 was a wonderful year for gadgets, despite coronavirus wreaking havoc on everything. And it proves that you can't stop innovation.

That said, here are a number of interesting nerdy things we're looking forward to in 2021, expected to be another year of wild launches — and, we pray, in a more suitable, virus-free environment, so that all of us can enjoy the latest. We'll also pitch in some 'wishes', if we may call it that way.

Samsung Galaxy S21

Apparently, Samsung will be kicking off 2021’s major announcements, and looks like they don’t want to be one-upped, considering that the next Galaxy S is coming a month earlier than usual.

There's no official word yet, but Samsung is indeed slated to launch the Galaxy S21 series in mid-January. Purported actual images have been leaking out, which is normal at this time of the year for them.

LOOKS: While up front we’ll see the same Infinity-O punch-hole display, the most notable change is on the rear: A camera block with a wrap-around design that extends over the upper-left edges. We’re used to those blocks, so this one’s a welcome change given we’re getting a bit monotonous with this aspect. If the leak of Samsung’s own teaser video making the rounds coupled with reputable renders, most notably from @OnLeaks, are any indication, that’s that.

KEY SPECS: Of course, cameras are the main draw (again). The S21 and S21+ will get a three-camera setup with a main 64MP sensor, while the Ultra version has a quad-lens config with Samsung’s signature 108MP snapper. Their sizes are 6.2, 6.7 and 6.8 inches, respectively.

But perhaps the biggest add-on — exclusive to the Ultra — is S Pen support. No videos or renders explicitly show it (nor a slot for it), but a US regulatory filing has confirmed this.

WISH WE'D SEE... An improved Space Zoom, particularly that 100x thingy seen in the S20 Ultra 5G. That was a novel idea, but in order for it to be less of a gimmick, its reliability needs to be hiked up.

Again, that S Pen bit is interesting, especially if you consider what that would mean for the next one on this list.

Samsung Galaxy Note21/Note30 and/or Galaxy Z Fold3

Reuters has reported that Samsung is considering to end the Note series next year, and others suggest that the Fold will be replacing this line. But one thing is clear: There's Samsung is hell-bent on pushing the envelope on foldable devices.

The Note20 and Z Fold2 were impressive. And while the latter cured the original's flaws, it's still expensive, which is why commoditising foldables will be crucial not just for Samsung, but for the rest of the world.

LOOKS: There are no clear-cut details on what to expect at this point in time.

KEY SPECS: Ditto.

WISH WE'D SEE... A more affordable price. This one's going to be tough, considering all the R&D and components built in.

Then again, there are variations floating around regarding the next Samsung foldable, including one that has a 360-degree hinge and another that has a scrolling screen, which leads us to the next one.

Oppo X 2021

It's a rollable phone; pull it and watch the screen expand, from 6.7 inches at its smallest to 7.4 inches at its largest. Wow. With no “hard folding” involved, Oppo says they've developed an innovative multi-layered rigid metal to support the display.

LOOKS: It looks... awesome.

KEY SPECS: As Oppo describes it, its screen includes "high-precision sensors that conduct real-time monitoring, enabling it to be positioned precisely, and retract and extend smoothly".

WISH WE'D SEE... An affordable price? If we take the foldables from Samsung and Huawei, you know anything this new and wacky will cost you quite a lot.

And if that isn't enough from them, here's the latest...

...an Oppo x nendo-designed phone with a 'sliding' screen.

Ring Always Home Cam drone

What's better than a boring security camera sitting at home waiting for some action? Something that actually tracks down any fishy activities.

That's the Ring Always Home Cam drone, which, as its name implies, is a

LOOKS: It's an unassuming block that looks like some Apple-designed thingamajig with a fan grille on top. But once Ring equipment triggers an alarm, that grille — which is the drone — starts up and flies out in hot pursuit (in Away mode).

KEY SPECS: For all intents and purposes, it can replace all other security cams at home given it can move around.

WISH WE'D SEE... Some really great-quality images and recording; you'll never know when you'll need this for any reason at all.

Microsoft Surface Neo

First slated for a 2019 release. Then, holiday 2020 (the present time). Now, it's 2021. Whatever the case, Microsoft's looking to finally give that next big oomph to its great Surface line with the Neo.

LOOKS: It's a laptop that has a foldable screen — think of it as a gigantic Galaxy Fold.

KEY SPECS: It's basically two nine-inch tablets slapped together with a 360-degree hinge so you can swivel it any which way you want. And it will run on Windows 10X.

WISH WE'D SEE... An ASAP release, given that it's been delayed a whole lot now, and that Lenovo has seemed to have beaten them to the draw with the ThinkPad X1 Fold. We're hearing March or April.

Air Jordan 11 'Adapt' (and more self-lacing sneakers)

Sorry, but yours truly, a sneakerhead, can't help but include this.

Not the first pair of self-lacing shoes, thanks to the Nike MAG from the Back to the Future fame and, more recently, the Nike Adapt BB basketball kicks.

But 'adapting' this to His Airness' line just hypes it up several notches. Yours truly admits to have queued up for the Air Jordan 11 'Jubilee' a couple of weekends ago, so we have an idea how this one may pan out when it drops on December 30 (that's this weekend).

LOOKS: It's the iconic Air Jordan 11 in a rather futuristic design. Its signature patent leather, coming in white, looks immaculate.

KEY SPECS: It's a self-lacing shoe, and with the Nike Adapt app, it can be customised on the fly for maximum performance (and bragging).

WISH WE'D SEE... More colours, maybe? And more alternatives, not just from Nike, but from other brands as well.

Air Jordans — especially the hyped ones — normally fetch Dh999 in this part of the world, but this one will cost you double, because it has a tag of $500, which is almost Dh1,900 (surely it's going to be more than that). Ready to queue up?

The next iPhone

Whether or not it will be called the iPhone 12s or XIIs or 13 or XIII or whatever, the biggest news by far is that Apple is apparently going to bring LTPO — low-temperature polycrystalline oxide— tech to its next flagships.

This is a big deal. In the simplest terms, LTPO panels help reduce power consumption by up to 20 per cent. It can also dynamically change refresh rates, allowing things from adjusting rates for low-key processes to the Apple Watch's always-on display. Samsung was the first to implement this tech on the Note20 and Z Fold2 this year.

LOOKS: Revered Apple tipster Ming-Chi Kuo has said that the 2021 iPhones will come in the four sizes launched this year, so that's practically guaranteed.

KEY SPECS: A quad-lens setup hasn't been ruled out, but Kuo's note says the cameras will be 'significantly' upgraded.

WISH WE'D SEE... Exactly that: A four-lens setup. Apple's triple snappers are already a force to reckon with, so it'll be interesting to see what they'd do with a fourth.

— alvin@khaleejtimes.com


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