CES 2015 preview

CES 2015 preview

It's that time of year again. While most people are succumbing to the dreaded January Blues, us smartphone nerds are eagerly anticipating new wares from the annual CES conference in Las Vegas.

Here we're looking at what to expect at CES 2015 from Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, Asus and Archos. Chant it with me: We want stuff! We want stuff! We want stuff!

Apple @ CES 2015

Apple doesn’t do trade shows, silly. Next!

CES 2015 previewArchos @ CES 2015

French manufacturer Archos traditionally brings a big sackload of goodies to CES every year, and CES 2015 will be no different.

In fact, Archos has already lifted the lid on three new tablets it’ll show off in Vegas, namely the 70 Helium 4G, 80b Helium 4G and 101 Helium 4G, at 7in, 8in and 10.1in respectively.

We already know what the Helium tablets will offer in terms of specs. Hopefully we’ll learn more about Helium tablet pricing and availability at CES.

CES 2015 previewAsus @ CES 2015

The first Asus ZenFone range launched exactly one year ago at CES 2014, comprised of the ZenFone 4, ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 6. We didn't pay a great deal of attention to them, to be perfectly honest, but fast-forward to August 2014 and we learned that Asus was in fact struggling to meet demand, quietly churning out a surprisingly healthy 1 million units per month. Heck, Jeff Bezos would kill for those numbers.

At that time, CEO Jerry Shen (not to be confused with Chairman Jonney Shih) hinted that an Asus ZenFone 2 would inevitably follow, and it's all but confirmed for launch at CES 2015.

Asus has been indulging in a spot of YouTube-based teasing, with the message "SEE WHAT OTHERS CAN'T SEE" accompanied by a morse code message spelling out "optical zoom".

CES 2015 previewHTC @ CES 2015

Two schools of thought when it comes to the HTC Hima (M9) launch: it'll be CES 2015, or it'll be after Mobile World Congress (MWC) in mid-to-late March. Only, eh, 10 weeks between those dates, right?

As much as we'd love to meet the HTC Hima this coming week, we reckon - realistically - it's just a little too early. Indeed, HTC's CES 2015-related chat (on Weibo) sounds more like this: "Always desire more." Which means we can almost certainly expect to meet a new HTC Desire phone or phones in the desert. The Taiwanese recently launched the HTC Desire 620, so we're expecting something further down the spec ladder.

As for the HTC Hima, well, never say never, but don't hold your breath.

CES 2015 previewLG @ CES 2015

With the LG G2 having launched in August 2013, and the LG G3 following in May 2014, you'd be forgiven for expecting the inevitable LG G4 to launch any time now. Alas, we've heard nary a peep about LG's next flagship to date, and we'll eat our hats if it pops up at CES 2015.

The LG G Flex 2 is a more likely candidate. A recent rumour promised a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and LTE-A connectivity, building on earlier rumours of a smaller-than-6in display. Described as a "massive upgrade" over the original LG G Flex, we're hoping for a higher-than-720p resolution; even 1080p would do us fine.

The first-gen LG G Flex was curved around the horizontal axis, and in turn around the user's face, and it also featured a "Self Healing" rear that laughed off "daily wear-and-tear scratches and nicks". Expect the LG G Flex 2 to offer similar functionality.

CES 2015 previewSamsung @ CES 2015

The big question around CES 2015 is undoubtedly: "Will we meet the Samsung Galaxy S6?" Our heart pounds "maybe!", but our head sighs "probably not, dude".

Indeed, in mid-December, Kim Hyun-suk, head of Samsung's visual display division, told CNET: “There will be no surprise shows [at CES].” And that's the end of that, I suppose.

The Samsung Galaxy A7 is an outside possibility, but even then, it's been tipped to launch in South Korea on January 14. But hey, maybe we'll have our own launch party in the west. CES 2015? Not too outrageous.

Realistically, however, we expect Samsung to focus on other technologies, including a Tizen Smart TV. Remember Tizen?

CES 2015 previewSony @ 2015

Sony's CES 2015 could go one of two ways: the Japanese manufacturer might unleash a tidal wave of goodies, or it'll serve bitter pints of disappointment. Or, more likely, it'll be somewhere in the middle.

See, no less than four Xperia Z4 devices have been rumoured, including the Sony Xperia Z4 flagship smartphone, Sony Xperia Z4 Compact, Sony Xperia Z4 Ultra, and Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Ultra.

We're immediately thinking it's probably too early for the Sony Xperia Z4 and Xperia Z4 Compact, since the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact launched in September at IFA 2014, just four months ago.

As for the Sony Xperia Z4 Ultra, it's been more than 18 months since we met the original Xperia Ultra, and it wasn't exactly a huge success, but that doesn't necessarily rule out a successor.

Regardless, the most exciting device on that list is the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Ultra - if it's anything like it's been rumoured. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Ultra specs include (supposedly) a 13in display (3840 x 2400), Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, and 2x3GB of RAM. Yikes.

CES 2015 previewXiaomi @ 2015

For our money, Xiaomi is one of the most exciting manufacturers in the smartphone world right now, recently storming into third position behind only Samsung and Apple. There are rumours the Chinese manufacturer will attempt to break the US sometime soon, but a spokesperson tells BBC News: "We won't be participating [at CES 2015]." Son of a...

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