In the smartphone ecosystem, no brand can rely on a particular version for more than 8-10 months. And buyers aren’t averse to jumping ship, should the competition offer better specifications at a lower price. Not surprisingly, then, all the major smartphone makers are lining up new big guns for 2015:
Xiaomi shipped 61.1 million phones in 2014, an increase of 227% over the previous year. These numbers tell just one side of the story. In reality, it was the combination of powerful specifications and affordable prices which made Xiaomi’s phones so popular. Let us look at it this way—the Mi3, with a Qualcomm processor and a full HD IPS display, cost around `15,000, while other more established smartphone brands were charging upwards of `30,000. The Mi5, it has been suggested, will sport a 5.5-inch screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and a Quad HD display, which will bring it on a par with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
HTC One M9
The HTC One M8 is still the best looking Android smartphone money can buy. The fine speaker grille on the aluminium chassis is the single biggest indicator that a lot of thought has gone into the design. Expect the M9 to carry on with the trend. There will be pressure on HTC to increase the screen size, but we expect it to remain at 5 inches. We’ll have to wait and watch whether HTC retains the full HD screen or upgrades it to quad HD. The UltraPixel camera does a steady job, but cannot match to the rivals’ improved optics (Xperia Z3 and Galaxy Note 4, for example)—expect a 13-megapixel or 16-megapixel snapper.
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung has recently indicated a change in design philosophy, with the Galaxy Alpha and Note 4 being prime examples. Criticism of not-so-exciting designs may a thing of the past: The Galaxy S6 will have sharp looks. The interface is also being redone, to bring it in line with the Android 5.0 operating system. Internally, the company is calling this phone “Project Zero”, because it is being designed from the ground up. It will again be a tough battle between Samsung and HTC, because both flagships are expected, at around the same time.
Microsoft Lumia 2020
Last year, the switch to Microsoft ownership took up most of Nokia’s time. Which is why it has been a year and a half since the Lumia 1020 was launched. We are simply speculating on the name, but it is expected to further improve the excellent camera performance of the 1020’s 41-megapixel PureView camera. With Microsoft in charge of the operating system, expect this to come preloaded with Windows Phone 8.1, along with a bevy of services such as Skype and OneDrive.
Moto X (3rd generation)
Motorola truly turned over a new leaf with the 2013 Moto X (and the more affordable Moto G). Last year’s X improved on the first generation, with boosted specifications and general performance improvements all round. The unique battery cover options (wood, leather, etc.) added a dash of uniqueness. This year’s iteration will be released under the ownership of Lenovo. We expect top of the line specifications, with a price tag a notch more affordable than other Android flagships, and better battery life too.