There are some around the net that have recently suggested that we are fast approaching the era of Peak Mobile. They reason that with the recent arms race in the exploding smartphone industry we’ve swiftly reached the point where phones are so powerful (eg: sporting quad core processors and upwards of 3 gigs of RAM) that users will no longer have a compelling reason to upgrade when the latest and greatest phone comes down the pipeline. Their theory is a valid one, and I do believe we will get there in the not-too-distant future. But…we aren’t there yet. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Nokia and others have kept their Research and Development teams under the gun, and coming into 2014 they will be launching the next generation of smartphones that will have not only the tech geeks with a chronic case of “upgradeitis” rushing to buy their latest offerings, but the general public as well. Here are some of the most anticipated smartphones consumers will be clammering for in 2014:
7 – Sony Xperia Z2
Once known as the company when it came to consumer electronics, Sony has seen its star fade in many different markets, including the smartphone industry where it has been overtaken by Apple and Samsung. However, the Japanese company hasn’t been resting on its laurels and was a big player in 2013, releasing both the Xperia Z and Z1 in an attempt to make inroads in the competitive segment of Android smartphones. Not much is known about the upcoming Z2 at the moment, though it is expected it will be unveiled at CES 2014 this upcoming January. Don’t be surprised to see Sony squeeze in 3 gigs of RAM and introduce 4K video capture which would align nicely with their flagship line of 4K televisions.
6 – HTC M8
Though this will not likely be the ultimate name of the product (HTC One was codenamed M7 during its development) you can bet that consumers will be eager to get their hands on the successor to the sleek HTC One, whatever the company ultimately decides to name it. The HTC One was arguably the most underrated phones of 2013, sporting perhaps the most beautiful chassis available in a smartphone this past year. It also introduced HTC’s revolutionary ultrapixel camera, which while only a 4 megapixel shooter, produced shots that competed nicely with those captured by stellar cameraphones like the iPhone 5S, Nokia Lumia 1020 and Samsung Galaxy S4. Early rumors point to a 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset and a “Full HD” 1080P 5 inch screen. We fully expect to see a return to the sleek metal body that was such a hit on the HTC One, and further spec hikes to the ultrapixel camera as well.
5 – Samsung Galaxy Round
Another “Giant” phone, the Samsung Galaxy Round will match Samsung’s Note line with a screen size of 5.7 inches. Of course it is more the screen shape than the size that is relevant to this release and why this phone counts among the most anticipated of 2014. With the Round Samsung will depart from the typical flat screen, and will introduced – as the name suggests – a curved screen. Whether or not this will make the viewing experience any better remains to be seen, but at least manufacturers are getting creative in their offerings. Look for the Round to have plenty of power under the hood, as well as the faux leather backing that was introduced with Samsung’s Note 3.
4 – Nokia Lumia 929
The lone Windows phone on this list, Nokia’s upcoming flagship smartphone will be eagerly anticipated by fans of Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS and shutterbugs alike. The 929 will sport a 20 megapixel PureView camera that should compete admirably with the best standalone point and shoot cameras on the market. The phone will also feature a full 5 inch screen, which will slide in nicely in Nokia’s product line, between the Lumia 1020 (4.5 inches) and Lumia 1520 (6 inches). As of now it looks like the 929 will be a Verizon exclusive, but hopefully that will change, allowing more people to get their hands on Nokia’s beautiful five incher in 2014.
3 – LG G Flex
Like Samsung, LG is eschewing the traditional flat screened phone with their introduction of the LG G Flex. However, their upcoming product is even more compelling than Samsung’s in that the Flex will not only sport a curved surface but will also be (unsurprisingly) flexible, giving users a whole new experience not only when speaking but when navigating its touchscreen as well. This will be more of a phablet than a phone, with a full six inch screen, so those who like their devices a little more compact might want to wait until the technology trickles down into a more conventional form factor.
2 – Samsung Galaxy S5
Though the S5 probably will not be as innovative as others on the list no one can dispute that it will be the most eagerly awaited of Samsung’s offerings in 2014 and will likely sell in the tens of millions like the s3 and s4 before it. Rumor has it that the device will be a five incher and will feature a shockingly crisp 560 PPI display (2560 x 1440). It will also likely equal the Note 3 in terms of memory with a hefty 3 gigs of RAM. Samsung is also expected to introduce a metal variation of the phone, alongside one sporting its traditional plastic chassis. No doubt there will be a price premium for the metal version, but they will likely capture a chunk of potential buyers from HTC who might otherwise opt for the HTC M8.
1 – Apple iPhone 6
No big surprise that Apple hits the number one spot on the list of the most anticipated smartphones of 2014. Ever since the introduction of the original iPhone, Apple’s smartphone offerings have been gobbled up by the millions with each an every iteration. Not much is known about the iPhone 6 as of yet, but rumors are rampant that Apple will finally introduce a larger form factor, and might actually release the phone in multiple sizes to try and capture as many different segments of the market as possible.