Rumours of wow smartphones in 2014

2014-01-13 11:05
Smartphones. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Smartphones. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - While the year 2014 has just begun, the rumour mill for hot smartphones to be released this year has gone into overdrive.

We can expect that the big players will release a range of hot devices this year as they try to ramp up brand awareness and compete for your rand (although bring devices to South Africa is often delayed by weeks).

It is likely that Apple will release the iPhone 6 with a refreshed iOS 8 operating system in 2014. Some blogs indicate that the launch will come as early as June, rather than September.

However, the June date has resonance because the first iPhone was released in that month in 2007.

Some speculate that the new iPhone will have a bigger screen to match competitors from Samsung, HTC and Sony. It is also expected to feature NFC technology, widely touted to be essential to mobile payments.

Galaxy S4 criticism

Samsung is reported to be taking stock of criticism of the Galaxy S4 smartphone and the new version, the S5, will be encased in aluminium like the HTC One.

Bloggers have reported that the new Samsung will be released as early as March in London and feature a 64-bit processor.

The Galaxy S5 may also refine eye tracking and include a more friendly user interface, especially given that it is the de facto leader in the Android space.

The South Korean giant has deep pockets and it is expected to continue to push into developing markets in Africa to consolidate market share.

The problem for Samsung though, is that consumers in those markets are price sensitive and high-priced smartphones face challenges.

A low-cost manufacturer like Huawei might make inroads with its Ascend Mate 2 4G, release at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The phablet sports a 15.4cm display and a quad core processor. With the Chinese manufacturer's ability to undercut more prestigious brands, it might make a move in SA this year.

Sony Windows Phone?

HTC is expected to launch an update to its excellent One this year. The new device will also have a metal body design and will likely one of the first Android powered smartphones featuring Android 4.4 (KitKat).

Sony is rumoured to be in negotiations with Microsoft to produce a Windows Phone in 2014 with roughly similar hardware to the Xperia Z1. Also, it will also feature Sony's waterproofing as on the Z1.

This would follow manufacturers like Samsung and HTC - committed to Android, but have also released Windows powered devices.

One rumour related to Microsoft is that the company might release a Nokia powered by Android as a measure to bring more people into its mobile ecosystem.

The Microsoft version of Android could potentially be integrated into the US company's range of products and online services, but take advantage of Google's apps and operating system.

There is no doubt that Nokia has the expertise to build the hardware necessary for an Android powered device (rumoured to be dubbed Normandy), but such a project may fail to get a green light from the Microsoft board.

For itself though, Nokia will probably launch the Lumia 1820 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Spain during February. This device is rumoured to have a metal body design and will be accompanied with a 2020 tablet with a stylus.

It will likely include the similar 40+ megapixel camera as found on the Lumia 1020.

What do you think is the most likely of these devices to make it to the shelves in 2014.
Let us know.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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