2014 was the year of improvements on 2013’s achievements. After making a comeback with the HTC One M7 in 2013, HTC continued to polish their flagship with the new and improved M8. Samsung addressed many of the complaints voiced with previous Galaxy flagships by revamping the hardware design of, and smoothing out the rough edges of their “TouchWiz” user interface on their “Galaxy S” series. Motorola refreshed its wildly popular Moto G and Moto X phones released the year before last. Apple finally gave the iPhone a much needed change, as did Google with Android. Devices on which you can view and record 4K video have continuously gotten cheaper, Microsoft reduced the price of it’s expensive Xbox One console, Nintendo launched a few exclusive games the helped to jumpstart the sales of the Wii U, and all in all, that’s the pattern of what we saw in 2014. A few new interesting things announced, yes, (such as Wearables and the OnePlus One) but mostly just updates on things introduced in 2013 or 2012.
So, will we see a lot of awesome original new devices this year? That picture isn’t quite clear yet. But what we definitely will see are some awesome updates going from 2014 to 2015 devices – way bigger than from 2013 to 2014. Here’s a list of the top four things people can look forward to in the upcoming year.
Spoiler Alert: It looks to be a good one.
Sometimes it seems like just a few months ago, 4K was just beginning to garner attention. Devices which recorded and/or viewed video had gone from black and white with no audio, to black and white with audio, to color, to HD, and now the next step up seemed to be 4K. We were beginning to envision a world full of 4K screens everywhere from TVs to phones, and pocketable 4K point and shoots – dedicated and on smartphones. And we still are.
Mainstream 4K isn’t even a reality yet, and still, Samsung introduced an 8K TV in the second half of 2014, and it’s looking like this year, the three other big players on the TV scene – LG, Sharp, and Sony – are set to join in as well. Sharp’s and Samsung’s offerings come in at 85 and 95 inches respectively, while LG and Sony managed to cram their extremely high resolution panels into 55 and 65 inch screens. That’ll make for extreme pixel densities, and further shrink the distance from the TV one must be to not be able to discern individual pixels. Sharp, Sony, and LG’s TVs are all set to be fully unveiled at CES 2015. No word on the price yet – but I’d bet money they’ll be crazy expensive.
8K cameras have been around since 2013, but you won’t find them anywhere if you’re just the average consumer, and not a huge studio. Footage from said huge studios will be available to view in their full glory by sometime in 2015 however, by the looks of it.
3. Windows 10
You hear a lot that Microsoft seems to get every other version of Windows right, and, for the last 10-15 years at least, that seems to be true. Windows XP (2001) was received well, Windows Vista (2007) wasn’t, Windows 7 (2009) was received well, and Windows 8 (2012) received mixed reviews at best. Judging by that, Windows 10, set to be released in the middle of 2015, should hopefully give Window’s users something to smile about.
Microsoft is getting rid of the dual user interfaces, thankfully, and going back to the traditional “windows” based interface. The new start menu has familiar functions on the left, and a tile based interface for choosing apps on the right, making it easy for anybody, whether their first experience with Windows was from Windows 8 or from before, to immediately figure out what’s going on. They’re also introducing a feature similar to “mission control” on Mac OS, and there’s a tablet mode – a mode making the OS easier to use on touch devices – and it only activates on hybrids when the keyboard is detached. That’s nifty.
There’s no word on pricing – but easy upgrades will be available for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users. Windows 10 could even be available as soon as later this month.
2. HTC’s Next Flagship
HTC seemed to not be doing well a few years ago, but recently, it’s put out two new flagships in two years that are widely considered to be the best of their respective years; The HTC One M7 and M8. With the leaks we have now, it looks like HTC is going to do it three years in a row. And, while the past two only narrowly beat out their stiff competition like the Galaxy Note, iPhone and Moto X, the One M9 is looking like it may completely blow everyone else out of the water.
HTC’s new flagship, which is rumored to be officially announced at CES 2015 next week, will boast an all new 64-bit Snapdragon 810 series processor, with an Adreno 430 GPU, 3 GB of RAM, a microSD card slot, an aluminum silicon-carbide based body, and Bose -yes, bose, not Beats, audio speakers. It’ll do all this while keeping it classy with a 5 inch, 1080p panel. While sticking with that would help further increase the battery life brought to the table by the reportedly 2840 mah battery, and increase performance, there are additional rumors that suggest a 2K screen. Leaks also point to a 20.3 megapixel rear shooter (man, just imagine that paired with ultra pixel technology – that would possibly be the best camera on the market.), and a 12 megapixel front camera, because…. you know…. because selfies are that important.
Those are just the monstrous specifications under the hood, that’s not even including any cool software features HTC may choose to include with this. The One M9 looks like it’ll be a game-changing beast of a phone, and it may become the undisputed king savage, relentless dictator of the smartphone market for most of the year, at least until Google, Motorola, and Apple, and Samsung manage to get their new phones for 2015 out – though those won’t come out until the second half. (Yes, I’m disregarding the Galaxy S6, if anything comes close out of Samsung, it’ll be the Note 5.
1. The Next Wave Of Wearables
We saw some basic smartwatches here and there from the likes of Sony, Samsung, and Pebble before 2014, but smartwatches really started to take off last year however, when tech giants Google and Apple jumped in. Android Wear produced the relatively affordable Sony Smartwatch 3, and Galaxy Gear Live, as well as the more premium LG G-Watch R and Moto 360, both rich in eye candy. We of course can’t leave out the Pebble Steel, however, which has easily seen the most critical success, or the Galaxy Gear S, the closest we’ve gotten to an independant smartwatch that doesn’t need a phone to work. The Microsoft Band deserves mentioning as well, being the first smartwatch for Windows Phone devices.
2015 looks to be an even bigger year. Apple, who announced their smartwatch last year, will actually release it in the coming months, and it looks to be an excellent smartwatch (even though it’s limited to the latest crop of iOS devices.) The second generation Moto 360, which we can most likely expect to see launched this summer, will be exclusive to Android, and will build on the already great first generation Moto 360. The battle between these two will result in first round of two main bests on different platforms pit against each other, just like we see in a lot of other markets in the consumer tech industry.
The LG G Watch R2, rumored to have 4G connectivity, may also be a threat, and who knows? Maybe Pebble will surprise us this year, and maybe at some point we may see the first smartwatch truly independent of a smartphone. Among increasingly high resolution panels, Windows 10, and the One M9, most people into technology agree; 2015 will be the year of the wearables.
All these and more can expected over the next 12 months. What are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments below.