We’d barely even had a chance to change our calendars when CES 2015 came along and spewed forth tons of new goodies (you can catch up at CES 2015 awards and Review of the week in mobile, if you missed it).
Now we’ve had a few days to kick back, settle into 2015 and think about what might be in store. Here, in no particular order, are five things – mobiles, tablets, stuff related to mobile – that we’re looking forward to in 2015.
1. Samsung Galaxy S6
In years gone by, the focus of Samsung Galaxy SX rumours has largely been specs: how many cores, how many megapixels, what size, what resolution, how much RAM?
But times are a-changing in the smartphone world, and while Samsung looked almost infallible at one point, its global market share is shrinking (thanks, China) and sales of 2014’s flagship – the Galaxy S5 – were reportedly disappointing.
As such, people aren’t asking about Samsung Galaxy S6 specs; they’re asking what Samsung can truly do differently with the Galaxy S6 that’ll make people think twice about straying to LG or Sony or HTC, and consider upgrading their S5s after just 12 months.
The answer here is twofold. The bog standard Samsung Galaxy S6 might finally rock the premium metal casing we’ve been hearing about for years, while a second model is tipped to have an Edge display – or even Edge displays plural.
One thing’s for sure: a Samsung Galaxy S6 with a perforated rear and Note 4-level specs won’t cut the mustard. Over to you, Samsung.
2. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Ultra
The Z4 name might appear on as many as five devices in the coming months, including the Sony Xperia Z4 flagship smartphone, the smaller Xperia Z4 Compact, the phablet-sized Xperia Z4 Ultra, and the Walkman-powered Xperia Z4 Music.
But the one we’re really interested in is the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Ultra. Something about the initial leak tells us this might simply be someone’s wet dream of a tablet, but we’re praying to the Dragon Lords it’s all true.
Rumoured Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Ultra specs include a 12.97in display with 3840 x 2400 resolution, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 2 x 3GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, PS4 Remote Play (ooh baby), and a big fat 12,100mAh battery.
With Sony arguably churning out the hottest big-screen Android tablets at present, and the industry moving back towards bigger display sizes, the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Ultra could well become a reality before the quarter’s out. *crosses fingers*
3. Apple iPad Pro
I generally find it quite annoying when people come out with stupid phrases like “iSheep”, or criticise Apple’s lack of “innovation” (ironically joining the crowd of anti-Apple sheep). But come on, Apple, it’s time to innovate!
People laughed when the first Apple iPad was launched in 2010. “It’s just a big iPod touch!” “It’s a giant iPhone that can’t make calls!” “Who in their right mind would buy a tablet?” And oh how Apple proved them wrong.
But what has Apple done for tablets in the five years since that game-changing launch event? One of the most notable advances was the introduction of the iPad mini range, which was really a necessary step to address the popularity of Android-based “tweener” tablets (and something Steve Jobs had always been opposed to), rather than something truly innovative.
This year, we’re hoping for a big giant iPad Pro (recent rumours suggest it’ll be 12.2in instead of 12.9, but that’s still massive), with split-screen multitasking (something that’s already possible via jailbreak) and perhaps a Microsoft Surface-style detachable keyboard/cover type accessory. If the iPad Pro materialises as “just a big iPad”, you can count us out.
4. Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015
There are three major annual conferencemajigs that typically play host to big smartphone and tablet launches, namely CES in Las Vegas in January, MWC in Barcelona in February/March, and IFA in Berlin in September.
MWC can be hit and miss, admittedly, depending on the wares on offer, but this year we could see the Samsung Galaxy S6 launch, and possibly some – if not all – of those Sony Xperia Z4 devices I mentioned above.
MWC 2015 opens its doors on March 2 this year, and while that sounds like ages away, it’s actually just over six weeks from now. True story.
5. The rise and rise of Chinese smartphones
Inexorable; that’s a word I’ve used several times of late on Mobot. It means “impossible to stop or prevent”, and it’s perfect for describing the rise of Chinese smartphone makers.
Xiaomi, for example, has gone from holding a mere 1% of the global smartphone market in Q3 2012, to a whopping 5.2% in Q3 2014. That puts Xiaomi behind only Apple and Samsung in terms of units shipped, and it’s barely moved beyond China. Yet...
But it’s not all about Xiaomi, no sir. There are countless other Chinese smartphone manufacturers vying for attention, including Lenovo and Huawei (both potential Top 5 players), and not forgetting Oppo, OnePlus, Meizu, ZTE, Gionee… The list goes on.
Incidentally, check out Best Chinese smartphones 2015 for details on the current crop of Chinese smartphone flagships. I want them all.