Smartphone class 2014, get ready for graduation! And don't forget to step back to make way for the freshmen of smartphone, tablet, and wearables class of 2015
15 most anticipated gadgets of 2015
The smartphone wave of 2015 promises to bring us devices that are expected to come with more refined looks, perform faster, snap better images, and have longer-lasting batteries.
In 2015, we will see the beginning of the transition to 64-bit for Android, and Qualcomm - the largest chip maker on Android - has stepped up to the challenge with a comprehensive lineup of 64-bit chips covering everything from the high to the low-end and in-between. The Snapdragon 810 will be at the heart of many of the flagships, leading the way with impressive new features like higher clock speeds, faster, LPDDR4 RAM support, Adreno 430 graphics. The new chip will even outpace high-end cameras with its support for HEVC and the new h.265 codec that will make possible longer and more efficient recording in high resolutions like 4K.
2014 has also started a little revolution in battery life longevity with multiple devices now capable of running a full two days off the charger even under heavier use, and the introduction of ultra power saving modes help your phone last the night even when battery life falls in the single percentage zone. Expect this trend to continue in 2015.
However, this is just a part of what we expect to see in the smartphone class of the new year. Join us as we start our countdown for the most anticipated device of 2015 right below. Which one do you like best?
Expected release date: April 2015
The OnePlus One was unveiled early in 2014, showing us how Chinese smartphone makers can often do what seems impossible: put truly flagship-grade specs in a smartphone and adorn them with a price of a mid-ranger. The company, a spin-off of Oppo, however, seems to have launched the OnePlus One more for the hype that it generated rather than for the mass user. With a series of mishaps, a sexist marketing campaign, and a confusing invitation-based system, the OnePlus One quickly started becoming a OnePlus Annoyance for its wanna-be buyers. Rumors have been flying around for a follow-up, though, a OnePlus Two of kinds. Hopefully, the company has learned from its mistakes, and the rumored smaller (some say 5.2") OnePlus Two could finally offer us that lucrative combination of a good price and flagship-grade specs.
Expected release date: September 2015
The Moto X started a new chapter for Motorola under Google in 2013, and while it was not a technological wonder, it offered wonderous customization options - you could tweak its color and even the material of the back cover. In 2014, two things happened - the Moto X (2014 edition) showed that Google is learning from its mistakes, as it fixed the specs on the Motorola flagship, bringing it on par with the competition, and then... Lenovo acquired Motorola.
We're curious to see what the Moto X (2015 edition) brings as Lenovo has confirmed that it will continue using the Motorola brand in many markets.
Expected release date: Spring 2015
We've been waiting for a successor to the Nokia Lumia 1020 for nearly a year and a half now, as the 2013 Nokia flagship still has unmatched camera performance. After all the turbulence in Nokia Windows Phone land, though, it seems all is clear for launch: the Microsoft Lumia brand has killed Nokia, and the awesome PureView technology that has been years in development could finally grace more people.
In 2014, Microsoft has focused on releasing a huge Windows Phone 8.1 update, and with the software as a base, the Lumia 2020 PureView (or whatever the Lumia 1020 successor is called, we're just speculating with the name) is eagerly anticipated.
Expected release date: Late September 2015
Amazon's lineup of Kindle Fire tablets has performed strongly, competing with Samsung for the title of the most popular Android-based tablet brand, but as the future of tablets becomes less clear and more complicated it's hard to predict what the 2015 edition of the Kindle Fire will look like.
With rumors all around for a jump to larger screen sizes that allow for more laptop-like productivity, we would not be at all surprised to see the new Kindle Fire tablets jump to a 12" screen size, or even slightly more. As always, we also expect great price, top-notch hardware, and Amazon's heavy custom skin on top of (hopefully) Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Expected release date: Spring 2015
The Motorola Moto G started a little revolution in affordable devices back in late 2013 when the first generation of the phone launched, and this years, the 2014 edition of the Moto G also impressed with its continued focus on a great price-to-feature ratio.
However, times are changing and the Snapdragon 400 system chip in the Moto G phones of 2013 and 2014 is starting to show its age. That's why we expect Motorola/Lenovo to introduce a new, Snapdragon 410-powered and 64-bit-running Moto G in 2015 with the same great display, good battery life and camera.
Expected release date: May 2015
After Microsoft's first Surface laptop/tablet combo that finally hit a good vibe with customers, the Surface Pro 3, we have all reasons to expect that the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 will be even better.
Microsoft has perfected the hinge mechanism, and the add-on keyboards are a great addition for the Surface lineup, but the big novelty we expect in the 2015 Surface Pro 4 is a new and more efficient Intel Broadwell 20nm chip. This should contribute to an even longer-lasting battery, and improved performance, something that would add just one more reason to consider the Surface over a traditional laptop.
Expected release date: Late February 2015
Sony seems to have decided to stop releasing two flagship Xperia Z handsets every year, and instead focus on one device that will be great all around. In 2015, that device is expected to be the Xperia Z4.
Sony is rumored to have decided to go with a larger than before, 5.5-inch display and a Quad HD resolution to match the current trend. We're also hoping that it improves its camera interface (which is just too cluttered and complicated now), and why not, stuff the Z4 with the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 to make it a true rival to current flagships.
Expected release date: July 2015
Xiaomi, a tongue-twister of a name (it's pronounced as 'show-me'), has managed to somehow become China's largest phone seller in just a year, and it has for a short while enjoyed a place in the top 3 of 2014's world's biggest phone makers, but you might have not even heard about it. Yes, it has managed to do all this without official presence in the United States and most of Europe, relying on Asia and other markets. However, this does not mean it is lacking such ambitions - high-profile ex-Google and now Xiaomi marketing lead Hugo Barra sees Xiaomi's phones more fit for the developing world and markets like Brazil will get its phones in 2015.
The one Xiaomi phone that you should really care about in 2015 is the expected Xiaomi Mi 5. With a price for its flagships traditionally at half that of other, well-established companies, the Mi series still crams in the latest of specs in an impressive package.
Expected release date: May 2015
The LG G4 might be the first phone to launch with an in-house LG system chip, and continue in the footsteps of the LG G3 - continuing to improve on the 5.5" Quad HD display formula (the screen of the G3 was one of its weakest parts). LG has also traditionally maintained slightly lower prices than its rivals, so we expect to continue putting price pressure on the big ones like Samsung and force them to innovate more.