It’s hard to believe, but 2011 has almost wrapped. Of course, the latest, hottest gadgets don’t stop for recantations of Auld Lang Syne or annual Hootenannies, and 2012 will be packed with even more incredible kit. From the Samsung Galaxy S3 to a Kinect sequel, here’s what on our radar for 2012.
Steve Jobs left biographer Walter Isaacson several tantalising clues that a flatscreen Apple TV really could be happening, and the latest reports suggest Sharp is set to manufacture the screens for a summer release. We’ve already outlined how we think Siri could be used to control an Apple iTV, but as yet no-one’s peeped a glimpsed of what it’ll look like. The money’s on a gorgeous aluminium frame and not many buttons.
Samsung Galaxy S3
With Samsung hard at work on a quad-core chipset for mobile phones already, we’d have to figure the Samsung Galaxy S3 Android phone will be appearing soon – perhaps at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. While details are scant right now, it seems highly probably it’ll run Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, overlaid with TouchWiz, and use a 720p AMOLED display, as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus already does. If so, it’s almost certainly going to be the only smartphone worth your time until the iPhone 5 rocks up. Speaking of which…
Apple’s nomenclature is significant. The iPhone 4S isn’t the iPhone 5 because it’s still by and large the same design – its only real differentiator is Siri. But make no mistake, Apple is already hard at work on a successor: whether this one ends up being the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6, we’re expecting an even sharper display, and maybe even some tight Apple TV integration.
The first Sony Android phone
Earlier this year, Sony finally got its act together and bought out telecoms partner Ericsson: Sony Ericsson is no more. The Japanese gadget giant has already said we’ll see the first Sony branded phones again next year, and it seems highly likely that they’ll pick up where SE left off, and run Android. Whether they’ll offer a better PlayStation experience than the lacklustre Xperia Play remains to be seen, but here’s hoping.
Microsoft has wisely realised that Kinect, its motion sensing console add-on, is bigger than Xbox. It’s promised new Kinect hardware for PCs next year, and as you can see from its videos, it’s promising much more accuracy. You’ll even be able to play a virtual instrument, the trailers suggest. We hope so, and we’d love to see how a Kinect 2 could be used to give Windows 8 a real Minority Report vibe.
We know for sure that dual-core, 4G BlackBerry phones are on the way next year. Supposedly, what you see here will be the first of them: the BlackBerry London, a Porsche Design-inspired followed up of sorts to the popular Torch series of emailers. It sure looks tasty, but there is a question of timing: RIM says we won’t be seeing its new BlackBerry Ten models until the end of 2012. Humbug.
The Facebook Phone
Yes, yes, we’ve seen phones touted as that before, from the INQ1 to the HTC ChaCha and its rather superfluous physical F button. This time though, it really will be a Facebook Phone. The Wall Street Journal says that it’s coming next year, and will run a heavily modified version of open source Android – and it’s being built by HTC. Could this be how HTC competes against Samsung’s mighty Galaxy line this year?
We’ll be honest, we’d be surprised if the Xbox 720 goes on sale in 2012. Both Microsoft and Sony have been telegraphing that they’d quite like a detente for a little while longer in the console arms race. But consoles have long lead times to build anticipation and get games ready to go: it’s not out of the question that we’ll see an Xbox 720 at CES, as rumours have suggested. Hell, if Microsoft is happy to have the brand appearing in films set in the future, that’s as good a sign as any it’s coming.
Come on. We all know the iPad 3 is a shoe-in for next year. The only question is how thin will it be, and how sharp can the screen go? Don’t rule out an iPad 3 of a different size and form factor either, mind – there’ve been too many reports and rumours of a smaller, more portable seven-inch iPad to ignore.
Amazon Kindle Fire 2
Word out out the Far East is that a follow up to Amazon’s successful but US-only Kindle Fire tablet is due around April – and as we’ve suggested before, that could give Amazon enough time to sort out its contents rights agreements to launch in Europe. A Kindle Fire 2 with Lovefilm built-in? Don’t rule it out.