Last weekend, in the 4,063rd instalment of Review of the week, I joked that we might be about to enter pre-CES/MWC hibernation. After some shower-based contemplation, I’m thinking I might actually be right – certainly as far as the big players in the west go.
It kinda makes sense, what with Christmas coming up ‘n’ all, but in any case, I figured I’d fire up the speculation machine and ask it: What’s next for the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google?
Having just launched the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and Apple Watch, don’t expect a great deal from the Californians in terms of hardware until the inevitable iPhone 6S, a phone that’ll likely be an enhanced iPhone 6 rather than a radical new phone.
Having said that, Apple’s imminent iSchedule isn’t completely empty. The long-rumoured iPad Pro will likely land in Q1 2015 with its 12.9in display, and a firm focus on the enterprise and education markets. And hey, Tim, how about split-screen multitasking?
Samsung is taking a bit of a pounding at the moment, thanks to the popularity of the iPhone 6, the relentless onslaught of affordable-but-decent Chinese phones, and the fact that people don’t seem too bothered about grabbing The Next Big Thing every friggin’ 12 months. Is there much point upgrading from a Samsung Galaxy S4 to a Galaxy S5, or a Galaxy Note 3 to a Galaxy Note 4? Probably not.
The next instalments of the Galaxy A-Series, the A3 and A5, realistically won’t change any of that. They look set to continue where the Alpha left off, and while the series supposedly marks the “evolution of Galaxy design”, that all-metal Samsung phone remains elusive.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 will likely show face at MWC 2015 (give or take a few weeks; it was nice to see Samsung slumming it in Barcelona this year rather than hosting its own ridiculous launch event), and chances are it’ll have a QHD display and faster processor. The Galaxy S5 is already looking quite humble by today’s standards.
Don’t be surprised if we meet several S5 Core/Plus variants in the meantime.
As such, one might’ve expected Google to take it easy until next October, but that’s far from the case.
Android One marks Google’s big push into emerging markets, and essentially sees phones with semi-decent specs being sold at reasonable rates, and with the software support side of things handled by big G. The program debuted in India in September, and will encompass the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka by the time 2014 bows out, and there's more to come - more countries, more manufacturers, more handsets - in 2015.
There’s also Project Ara, initially a Motorola hobby, now part of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group. Ultimately, it looks to offer consumers the option of building their own phone from scratch, including the display, processor, camera and RAM. ETA: 2015.
Android Silver, however, appears to have been canned. It aimed to kinda merge Android flagships, Nexus devices and Google Play Editions, and would’ve seen Google working closely with manufacturers on their hero phones. To be honest, we never quite understood it ourselves, and reportedly manufacturers and networks concur that it didn’t make much sense.
Still, plenty to be getting on with before Android M and the next generation of Nexus devices.