Robots, smart cars, flying drones, 3D printers, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and 4K curved TVs: all of this and more are presented annually at the CES, Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show. The 2015 CES (Jan 6-9, 2015) will see another flurry of new gadgets. Here are our predictions and the rumors of what we’ll see there. Update: There is speculation on whether we will see the Galaxy S6, Xperia Z4 Compact, and Xperia Z4 Ultra make an appearance at the 2015 CES. Head to the updated Sony and Samsung sections to learn more.
CES 2015: Smartwatches take center stage
If you thought that the 2014 CES was full of smartwatches and smart bands, this was only the beginning. At the start of the year, the general masses weren’t really as ready to get into wearables for one main reason: the existing products didn’t really enrich their lives. Sure, there are wearables to monitor speed, heart rate, calories etc, and the Galaxy Gear from last year had more to offer, but it really isn’t up until now with Android Wear (presented at the Google I/O) that wearables have a real chance at making it in the consumer electronics market because of the huge array of functionality they actually bring. In short, 2013 was a joke: 2015 is when wearables will begin to shine.
There is an overwhelming demand for wearable technology in the marketplace right now and smart watches are quickly becoming the accessory to have.
- Karen Chupka, Senior Vice President, International CES and Corporate Business Strategy, CEA.
Motorola will potentially show off the metal band version of the Moto 360, which may or may not get some internal upgrades at the same time (a new processor and better display and battery wouldn't go astray). We doubt that the company will come out with a second generation smartwatch so soon, especially considering how long the 360 took to appear, but it would sure be nice to have one that uses the entire screen as opposed to the current Moto 360 which is missing a part of the display at the bottom. We may just have to keep waiting for that though.
LG is unlikely to present an updated LG G Watch R at CES 2015, but there could be some tech on show that will make its way into the next G Watch variant: we're thinking flexible batteries and displays. We're confident that battery life will be the major battleground for smartwatches in 2015. Android Wear will improve at its own pace, but battery life is where its at right now and LG is already at the front of the pack.
Lenovo has confirmed it will be presenting its first smartwatch at CES 2015 too. With the sale of Motorola finally going through, we need to think of Motorola (and the Moto 360) in the same breath as Lenovo's efforts. Lenovo has been working on the wearable space for three years now, but it will only be at CES 2015 that we will finally see what the company claims will be a standout device.
Apple will loom large over any other smartwatches presented at CES 2015 because the launch of the Apple iWatch, I mean the Apple Watch, is scheduled for early 2015. Knowing Apple, that date will coincide with the start of CES, even if it doesn't make an appearance. While the merits of the Apple Watch are yet to be seen, the wearable will definitively mark the entrance of the wearable into the popular imagination.
Samsung: new tablets and smartwatches
Samsung presented a new family of tablets last year: the Note Pro and the Tab Pro series, super high-end Android devices with radiant displays and a bunch of great new software features. There was, however, no new flagship smartphone to be seen. The IFA 2014 brought the Galaxy Note 4, and we can be quite certain that the Galaxy S6 will be revealed at the Mobile World Congress in February 2015. So what’s left over for this year? Likely yet another Galaxy Tab S tablet, Samsung’s super thin, metal framed tablet with its most radiant display yet. But we're also wondering if we might just see Samsung's first flexible tablet display...
Update: Maybe we can't be so certain about the Galaxy S6 after all! A recent report informs us that we could see the new Samsung flagship at the Las Vegas tech event. We aren't holding our breath, but head here if you want to read the original story.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 review: super thin and dazzling
- Samsung Galaxy S6 price, release date, specs, rumors
I for one hope that Samsung will present more than just tablets, perhaps the company is ready to show off yet another curved or flexible phone to make use the the Youm technology it first showed off at CES 2013 to compete with other bendable and even roll-up displays, from companies like LG, which will also be unveiled at CES 2015. Samsung could also present a new version of the Gear S, its smartwatch running the Tizen operating system, or even a new generation of the Galaxy Gear.
- Hands on Samsung Gear S review: Samsung's Tizen smartwatch
Sony: a new tablet?
The Xperia Z1 Compact that was shown off last year was the first time that we’ve really seen a full-fledged miniature smartphone that compares to the original version in tech specs and quality. Unlike the Galaxy S4 mini, which is a toned down version of the Galaxy S4, the Z1 compact had all that the Z1 could offer, but in a smaller package.
At IFA 2014, Sony skimmed over the Xperia Z2 Compact and brought out the Xperia Z3 Compact alongside the Xperia Z3. This sort of messes up any logical smartphones progression, making it a lot more difficult to know what will come next. Perhaps a new tablet, considering the Z2 Tablet was the last 10.1 inch tablet presented in February 2014. This would likely come with the new Xperia Z3 design which is a lot more rounded and ergonomic.
Update: We've recently heard that an Xperia Z4 Ultra and Xperia Z4 Compact may be on the cards for a 2015 release. With the international version of the original Xperia Z1 Compact finding its first appearance at CES 2014, there is some speculation on whether the the Z4 Compact will follow suit for the 2015 CES. For our money, this looks very unlikely, as its already thought that both this, and the Z4 Ultra, will be released after the regular Xperia Z4, and we doubt we'll see that until MWC at the earliest.
- Sony Xperia Z4 Compact price, release date, specs, rumors
- Sony Xperia Z4 Ultra price, release date, specs, rumors
LG: the LG G Flex 2
2014 brought the LG G Flex to the CES in Vegas, and though it was innovative with a bendy, curved chassis and battery, as well as a self-healing resin plastic, the display was lacklustre: only being boring old regular HD as opposed to the higher resolution displays presented on other flagships of the moment. That may have been due to technical limitations rather than any particular choice that LG made, but it seems that the G Flex won’t be a one hit wonder.
LG has confirmed that the LG G Flex 2 will have a smaller screen than its predecessor, meaning it would be smaller than 6 inches. This means that the device would have a higher pixel density for sharper and more detailed images. The LG G Flex 2 is likely to go to Korea first, but the Western world may have their first glimpse at CES.
HTC: HTC One (M9), or the HTC One Watch?
We don't really expect the HTC One (M9) to appear at CES, as it usually appears on its own right in between CES and MWC, but we do know that HTC will deliver their smartwatch in 2015: could CES 2015 be the time to do it? Or will HTC reveal the One Wear watch alongside the One (M9) in the same way that Sony and Samsung typically do?
- Everything we know about the HTC One (M9)
- An interview with HTC's Jeff Gordon (including the HTC smartwatch)
Huawei: an American debut?
We were really impressed with the Huawei Ascend Mate 7, presented at the IFA 2014, which scored 5 stars in our review. It looks like Huawei is making great efforts to make a bigger impact in the US market, so the CES could be yet another chance for the company to do so. At this point, an American debut - possibly with a new device - is almost guaranteed for CES 2015.
- Huawei Ascend Mate 7 review: the best finger scanner on Android
At the Google I/O 2014, Google showed off Android TV, its latest set-top-box-come-built-in-platform which is yet another step in bringing the Android and Google ecosystem to the living room. It differs from Chromecast in that you won’t need a smartphone or tablet to make it work, and has the advantage that it could work on any television, regardless of the manufacturer (although Android TV is being built into TVs as we speak).
Users can access thousands of compatible games from the Google Play Store, as well as take advantage of other video-on-demand services, like Netflix for example. The CES 2015 could be the market start for the Android TV, seeing as the developer kits have already been made available and considering that CES is heavily centered around TVs.
We're also expecting to see virtual reality come into more focus at 2015 (puns about the Gear VR fully intended). Oculus Rift will certainly be there - probably with a major announcement - and Sony's Project Morpheus may well get a commercial debut too. We're not expecting anything else out of Samsung, but it's possible there could be some other VR-related things happening in Sin City. We'll just have to wait and see.
What do you hope to see at the CES 2015? We hope more than last year!