Here’s some advice. Don’t — unless you really, absolutely have to — buy a piece of mobile tech until at least the end of March. If not longer. Yes, it’ll be difficult, and yes, you’ll probably be tempted. A lot. But abstinence is character building, and in this case, it’ll be a very sensible decision. Why hold off? It’s because of what’s likely to come over the next few months.
On March 2, Mobile World Congress 2015 opens its doors, and the world will be introduced to a huge and hopefully incredible selection of new mobile hardware and software. It’s like CES, only without all the TVs, computers, or household appliance nonsense. This is all about mobile, and we can’t wait to get there and wallow in a sea of glorious tech.
Mobile World Congress is set to be the bombastic opening act in a mobile launch extravaganza.
Last year, the show was greeted with a similar level of anticipation. However, it didn’t quite live up to the expectation. It’s not going to be like that in 2015. Mobile World Congress is set to be the bombastic opening act in a mobile launch extravaganza lasting several months.
If MWC 2014 were a Star Trek film, it would be Nemesis. Safe, familiar, grey around the edges, and a bit rubbish. MWC 2015 is going to be like JJ Abrams’ Star Trek — awesome. All the things we love will be there, but in new and interesting ways, probably with more laser beams and explosions. Plus, the wait for the equally awesome Star Trek Into Darkness will only be weeks, and not a year or so.
Don’t buy a smartphone until after March
At this point, whether you’re a fan or not, everyone should be thanking Apple. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have sold in astonishing numbers, and like the LG G3 last year, the iPhones don’t really have much competition out there. That simply must change either at MWC, or in the weeks afterwards. Left unchallenged, the iPhone is going to win 2015 — in terms of being the best, most popular phone on sale — before we’re even halfway through.
Samsung has been floundering since the Galaxy S5 (one of the damp squibs at MWC 2014), to the point where no one even paid much attention to the Note Edge, despite it being the first really jaw-dropping phone Samsung has announced in years. The Galaxy S6 has to be the star of the show. If I don’t hear whispers of trouser-related incidents following its announcement, then it’ll be a disaster.
HTC’s sharing the MWC stage with Samsung, and we’re expecting its 2015 flagship Android phone to be revealed on the same day. Sony may have a wide range of Xperia Z4-branded products, from smartphones to tablets and music players. Huawei, Asus, ZTE, Acer, Alcatel OneTouch, and others will also be vying for our attention. However, LG may decide to hold back until the G3’s one year anniversary arrives this spring to show off the G4. But then, we’re still lusting after the G Flex 2, so we’re not too upset.
The choice for anyone considering a new smartphone right now is about to become a dizzying and difficult one. Don’t make the mistake of picking the first one you see.
Don’t buy a smartwatch until after April
Once Mobile World Congress closes down for another year, attention will turn to the Apple Watch. It’s launching right after MWC ends, on March 9, and coming to stores in April, at which point it will cost anywhere from $350 to $ridiculous, depending on which model you choose. The smartwatch may not be the most desirable piece of tech out right now, but the Apple Watch is going to change all that.
The Apple Watch will inevitably poke smartwatches right in the public eye, like a sharp stick, and it’s great news.
Research carried out in the UK recently showed wearables in a particularly poor light. Apparently, 35 percent would be embarrassed wearing one, 32 percent said they make people look stupid, and 17 percent said people became less attractive by strapping on a piece of wearable tech. It’ll be very interesting to see how these numbers change following the Apple Watch’s release.
The Apple Watch will inevitably poke smartwatches right in the public eye, like a sharp stick, and it’s great news — whether you own an iPhone or not — because other smartwatches will have to compete with it. Up until now, they’ve all been off to a slow start, waiting for a leader to chase. Well, here it is. Now let’s get on with it.
We’ve already seen the new Pebble Time, and witnessed its success on Kickstarter, plus LG has given us two new Urbane watches. Samsung, Sony, Motorola, and even Swatch and TAG Heuer won’t want to be left behind, either. The quality, feature set, design, and overall choice in smartwatches is about to be dramatically increased. Buying one without closely examining all the options would be a very rash decision.
It’s a great time to be alive, provided you have patience
That’s a lot of potentially very exciting new smartphones coming out very soon, but it’s the addition of the Apple Watch that makes this early 2015 period in mobile tech perhaps the most varied we’ve seen in several years.
This means we’re all about to be faced with a hard choice. Buying one smartphone, and matching it with a smartwatch, is an expensive proposition — $1000 or more is entirely possible, depending on brand and specs, making it a buying decision which must be viewed in the long-term, unless you’re fabulously wealthy. Your allegiance to a brand or OS will perhaps be questioned.
Hence the reason why patience is needed now more than ever. Last year, the major phones were announced over a wider period of time. This year, there’s a whole stack of them expected in just a few weeks. It’ll be tempting to just say stuff it, and buy the one which gets the most hype (that’d be the Galaxy S6), and a Tizen smartwatch to go along with it. You’ll probably be happy, but maybe the HTC, Sony, LG, or even a new OnePlus phone will turn your head the week after. “Oh,” you may sadly say, “If only I waited just a little longer.”
MWC 2015, the Apple Watch launch on March 9, and all the others that will follow — which we don’t know about yet — will be like that scene in They Live, where some of the ads have the subliminal messages like “Buy,” or “Consume,” hidden inside. You’re going to need a feat of almost superhuman strength to resist the temptation of all these shiny toys, but you really should. Before the summer arrives, a glut of awesome new phones and watches will be on the shelf waiting for a loving new owner. Make sure you take the right one home.