Year-end rundowns and recaps would be nothing without previews and rumor roundups, and so, after compiling lists with the Android best of the best and also the worst of worst in 2013, it’s time to look ahead at what’s coming in 2014.
Hopefully, less flops, more home-runs. As we’ve learned, the leading candidate for both is Samsung, simply because the Koreans have more guts and money than possibly all other big (and small) fishes in the Android business combined.
If there’s one thing we know about Sammy, it’s they’re going to roll out dozens of new products over the course of the next 12 months, intending to conquer each and every niche of the mobile market, even those that we had no idea existed.
Be that as it may, guessing what the Galaxy architects have planned for a full year is downright impossible, so instead let’s see what we can make of the recent speculation bonanza in regards to devices expected out between January 1 and June 30. In other words, H1 2014.
Q1 or Q2? Before, during or after MWC? Metal or plastic? Hard to say. But the S5 is coming in H1, and it’s going to be outstanding. Plenty of things have changed since the last time we summarized S5 gossip, yet no believable render is out.
So maybe the “next big thing” is a little ways down the road. Or, and this is much easier to buy, Samsung has put a stop to the wild leakfests of 2012 and 2013 and aims to keep a tighter lid on the future big guy’s design.
Hiding the specs is a much more difficult feat, as an SM-G900S has already surfaced online with a list of features that puts it in pole-position as a GS5 candidate. The theory is corroborated by notorious Twitter tipster @evleaks and now AnTuTu, so it’s not set in stone, but it’s close enough.
As a quick refresher, the S5 is tipped to sport a 2K 5 or 5.2-inch display, 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 and/or 64-bit Exynos CPU, 3 or 4 GB RAM and 16 MP rear-facing camera. The exterior is likely made of plastic, however…
Super-premium F Series
However, the “standard” GS5 will not necessarily be the top stallion in Samsung’s stable. Instead, an ultra high-end member of the Galaxy family could see daylight with aluminum and curved display versions, probably a Snapdragon 805 SoC running the hardware show and the best Sammy has to offer in the imaging and battery departments.
The “when” part of the equation is the most difficult to untangle, albeit my guesstimate is the Galaxy F (or however it’ll end up being called) will break cover a good month or two after the S5. Ergo, April or May.
Other Galaxy phones
Just because Samsung has two top-shelf handhelds in the pipeline, it doesn’t mean they’ll neglect the low-end, low-cost class. No sir, as they draw profits almost equally as hefty from there. And thereabouts, as mid-range slabs are too worthy of a separate mention.
While we’re a little light on specifics in this section, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict some sort of Galaxy Fame and Young follow-ups are in the cards, as well as washed-out Lite variants of the Note 3 and Grand. Maybe a Galaxy Xcover 3, upgraded Megas and a few “Plus”, “Advance” and “Pro” flavors of existing devices.
Bottom line, nothing fancy, but cool and cheap enough to keep Nokia and Motorola at bay.
Tablets: Galaxy Tab 3 Lite, Note 12.2, GTab 4 and more
The slate department is actually the one Samsung wants to tweak the most in 2014, if we are to believe, well, everyone. And not a day too soon, as, in all honesty, Galaxy tablets, be they part of the Tab series or Note family, have never made big waves or sizable profits.
Can the GTab 3 Lite turn things around? Not dramatically, despite its unbeatable $100 price point. What about the Note 12.2? Now you’re talking. As far-fetched as it may sound, pundits forecast an immense growth for large slates, including those north of 10 inches.
Combine that with the functionality of the GNote line, massive marketing and advertising investments, top-of-the-line specs and a touch of extra productivity with keyboard docks and other accessories, and you get a smash hit. Just don’t forget the docking station, Sammy, or else Apple will beat you to the punch with the oft-rumored iPad Pro.
What else? Oh, yeah, a pair of Super AMOLED display-toting tabs is also reportedly in the works, one a compact 8-incher and the other boasting 10.5 inches of sweetness. And a mystery 13.3-incher, and some sort of hybrid with both Windows and Android on-board. Too much to take in all at once?
Well, we’re not done. Aside from the $100 Lite thing and AMOLED players, the Tab series is due for a couple of additional refreshments (under the Tab 4 moniker), to follow on the footsteps of the 8 and 10-inch Tab 3. Also, it’s safe to assume the Galaxy Note 8.0 will itself get a sequel. I lost count, how many are there? Ten, twenty, a hundred?
Wearables: Galaxy Gear 2? Gear Glass?
Forget what they say, the first-gen Galaxy Gear is nowhere near a slam dunk. But you’d have been crazy to think the first stab at such a delicate concept would hit the jackpot. Since there’s nothing wrong with the actual concept, Samsung should try again and a more basic, functional, sleeker and elegant Galaxy Gear 2 is probably due sometime in May or June. Maybe sooner.
A Gear Glass to take on the Google Glass? Don’t count on it… yet. It’s another intriguing concept, don’t get me wrong, however it needs work. A lot of work. And time.
Right, this is it, and now you have the floor. What are you dear readers most excited about? Least excited? I have the F and Note 12.2 in the former and the Gear 2 in the latter.