Time was, January and February were the blockbuster months for mobile announcements, encompassing both CES in Las Vegas and Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. But more recently, September and October have established themselves as the real headline makers, and this year’s month9 didn’t disappoint.
Before we embrace October madness, let’s take a moment to digest everything that happened in mobile in September. Or all the important stuff, at least.
How should we do this? Vaguely chronological order? You got it!
IFA 2014 (Samsung)
IFA is the spiritual home of the Samsung Galaxy Note, with every model to date having launched in Berlin, and indeed the Galaxy Note 4 debuted at this year’s show – much to no one’s surprise.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 essentially takes the Galaxy Note 3 and shoves in a bunch of top-of-the-range specs, while the Galaxy Note Edge has an additional portion of display along the right hand, er, edge.
While generally quite well received, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in particular appears to have been spooked by the iPhone 6 (more on that phone below), with the release date brought forward in Korea, and the price tipped to drop by as much as 34% within three months.
Meanwhile, the niche Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is expected to sell a modest one million units before the year’s out.
IFA 2014 (Sony)
Samsung remains the Big Daddy of the mobile world, but Japanese rival Sony arguably put on a more impressive show in Berlin.
Potentially the star of the show, however, was the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. 4.6in HD display? Check. Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor? Check. 2GB of RAM? Check. 20.7MP rear camera? Check. MicroSD? Check.
Incidentally, at the time of writing, we’re seeing the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact going for £344.99 SIM free @ mobilephonesdirect. Not too shabby at all.
IFA 2014 (Motorola)
Manufacturers across the globe appear to have signed a pact agreeing that smartphone names should be as baffling as possible, and Motorola didn’t disappoint with – no, not the Moto X+1, but – the Moto X. Consensus seems to be we should stick “(2014)” afterwards. Y’know, in order to differentiate between TWO DIFFERENT PHONES.
And how about technically the third iteration of the Motorola Moto G – the Moto G? Oh, sweet Moses.
Names aside, Motorola has – somewhat surprisingly – built a rather impressive portfolio of smartphones, with the Moto G continuing to dazzle at the low end, while the spanking new Moto X (2014) is way more flagship than last year’s model.
To sweeten the deal, the Motorola Moto X (2014) brings Moto Maker with it this year, and I was thoroughly impressed when I put together a phone with a white front, metallic orange trim and ebony rear, mmm…
IFA 2014 (the other players)
I’d be here all day if I were to detail everything that happened at this year’s show, so for the best of the rest, I’ll hand you over to our Review of the week (IFA 2014 edition).
Apple (iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch)
We’d been talking about them for, well, pretty much a year, and September 2014 finally saw the launch of the 4.7in iPhone 6, and the 5.5in iPhone 6 Plus (for an in-depth teardown, check out iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus: what's the difference?).
As per tradition, a relatively minor problem has been blown out of all proportion, with the “bendgate” hashtag used to spread word of the iPhone 6 Plus bending out of shape.
And for the first time in a while, we had a “one more thing” from Apple, this time in the shape of – no, not the “iWatch”, but – the Apple Watch. That name will take some getting used to, but the Apple Watch has gained a fair amount of praise for its Digital Crown, a dial on the side used for navigation purposes. Neat.
Finally, we turn our attention to the BlackBerry Passport, a fascinating device with a physical QWERTY keyboard below its square – yep, square – display.
With specs including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 3,450mAh battery, the Passport certainly ain’t no slouch, but it remains to be seen if it can have much of an impact on BlackBerry’s ailing fortunes.
Is the BlackBerry Passport an enterprise device? A consumer device? Both? Does BlackBerry even know? Answers on a postcard.
One thing’s for sure; Jan can’t wait to get his hands on it, and we’re equally intrigued.