Despite new technology such as tablets and more obscure items such as smartwatches and Google Glass garnering some attention at CES 2014, there is no doubt what the biggest and coolest gadget in the world remains. The smartphone, whose reign of popularity began with the BlackBerry and then spread like wildfire with the original iPhone, remains a must-buy for consumers all over the world. So here we look forward to the biggest smartphones of 2014, from the biggest manufacturers and discuss what can be expected from them.
2014’s Smartphone List
Apple iPhone 6
It’s impossible to even contemplate this topic without talking about the new iPhone, so this is the obvious place to start. Often imitated, but rarely if ever equaled, the iPhone remains the iconic smartphone, and one can guarantee that people will be queuing round the block when it is released.
Apple has made a habit of launching iPhones in September, but many analysts have suggested that this particular iPhone might be released slightly later in the year. When it is, you can expect a bigger screen than previous models, with a major redesign likely to accommodate this. Faster processing and more storage are certain, and it also seems highly likely that the iPhone 6 will be the first device to feature an iOS 8 operating system.
All other details regarding the iPhone 6 have been pretty hushed up, but we can expect more information as the year unfolds. There is no doubt that Apple will deliver some slick and attractive, despite their detractors they pretty much always do.
Samsung Galaxy S5
The latest in Samsung’s Galaxy range could hit the market as early as March, and Samsung has already expressed the aggressive opinion that they see it as an iPhone beater. The Korean company’s handset has achieved huge market penetration in the Far East and is seen as a serious rival to the iPhone in the West as well, even if Apple’s offering has a rather more glamorous image.
The Galaxy S5 will come in two versions, with a plastic and premium metallic model mooted. The S5 will be stocked with a powerful 64 bit-processor and a very high-class 16 megapixel camera, which will be capable of capturing UHD video. Additionally, the Galaxy S5 will be the first smartphone to feature a screen resolution superior to full HD.
This will sell like hot cakes, and it will be interesting to see whether Samsung can deliver all the functionality efficiently given the ambitious features set which the S5 appears to possess.
Google Nexus 6
Around about the time that the iPhone 6 is released, the sixth iteration of Google’s Nexus will also hit the shops. The Nexus 4 and 5 have been two of the best reviewed smartphones of the last couple of years, combining impressive specs and good build quality with competitive pricing. The Nexus 5 did pretty well, shifting 10 million units, but is not a serious competitor for the iPhone yet, which sold over 55 million.
In a market in which street cachet is everything, the Nexus is yet to truly create a buzz, but the new Nexus could be the first major smartphone to feature a 6 inch screen, which would certainly make it stand out to consumers. It may also be bundled with a new version of Android, and is likely to remain the third most popular smartphone in the world.
Sony Xperia Z2
It has been a good year for Sony, as the PS4 has cleaned up in the console wars. I’m sure that they wistfully remember the days, though, when they were the coolest name on the consumer electronics block. The days of the Walkman and Sony portable CD player are long gone, but emboldened by their successes with the Playstation, Sony is trying to gain a significant stake in the lucrative smartphone market.
Sony’s smartphone division actually did pretty well in 2013, and the Xperia Z2 will be looking to build on this. The fact that it is rumored to include a 20.7 megapixel camera will turn a few heads, while the 5.2 inch screen and new sleeker design looks to make this an attractive proposition for consumers wanting a diversion from the usual suspects.
HTC One 2 (M8)
Somehow HTC products haven’t quite caught on with the mass market consumer, despite the fact that the 2013 iteration of the HTC One received widespread critical acclaim. But the company isn’t letting poor sales figures dissuade them from their plans for the smartphone, and the unveiling of their next model is tipped to take place at next month’s Mobile World Congress
The device, which is internally codenamed the HTC One M8, will have a full HD resolution, while its screen size will be increased over previous editions. It will run off Android 4.4, but HTC’s own Sense 6.0 UI makes a serious contribution to how the phone operates. HTC is likely to try to jump the smartphone queue and get this out before the Galaxy, and any discerning consumer would be well advised to keep an eye out for it as this could be the best value for money buy available this year.
Finally, if you’re looking for a left-field selection then Asus launched a colorful range of smartphones at CES 2014, with 4, 5 and 6-inch models available. The premium ZenFone 6 has a pretty impressive spec list, including a 6-inch 1280 x 720 resolution display, a a 2GHz Intel Z2580 processor and 1GB of RAM. It runs off Android and will be extremely competitively priced, so if you’re on a budget this could be the smartphone for you.