Nokia, Samsung and Google want your gadget dollars come Black Friday and beyond. By design or leak, the devices they plan to wow consumers are coming to light as makers try to avoid Apple's iPhone launch.
Will Watches Be Back in Fashion?
With Sony already out there on the streets with its own SmartWatch 2, Samsung plans to follow shortly, under the moniker Galaxy Gear, if reports are accurate. The Android-powered watch will help users interact with their phones, allowing them to make calls, view websites and read e-mail. Hopefully it will act as a music controller and offer a few other features.
The device is likely to be unveiled a week before Apple's iPhone 5S/5C/iOS 7 event and just before the big IFA Berlin (Europe's version of CES) in early September. With Apple not expected to reveal a phone until 2014, it could give the Korean firm a useful edge, assuming it has developed the design experience to create something very desirable.
Analysts are expecting big things of the smartwatch market, but it could embarrass all players by failing to take off (Sony's SmartWatch sales aren't being revealed or hyped, suggesting a slow uptake) or remaining a niche for the geek community that fails to hit the mainstream like smartphones did.
Google's Five-Star Nexus
The increasingly brilliant Nexus line-up will soon be bolstered by the arrival of a new model to the smartphone family, with the Nexus likely to be built by LG. That's likely to follow on from the success of the the LG-built Nexus 4 which puts the LG G2 as the prime candidate to be the basis for the new model. Assuming it features a decent upgrade to the G2's spec, it would certainly pack plenty of appeal.
The G2 offers a 5-inch screen, 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, with either 16 or 32GB of internal storage, all running of a 3,000 mAh battery with a 13-megapixel camera and hi-fi speakers. However, with Google offering stock versions of other major Android devices on its store, will that take some off the shine off the Nexus brand? The Nexus 4 came out last November, so expect a similar timeline for the Nexus 5.
Nokia and the Case of the Wrong Tablet
While the previous devices are pushing forward and looking for big sales. Nokia seems to be taking a step back with leaked images showing a Nokia-branded Windows Surface RT tablet in the pipeline. Since Microsoft couldn't sell any of these things, failing to gain much market share, and had to resort to price cuts to try and shift the things, quite what Nokia could gain aside from further loyalty from Microsoft remains to be seen.
A launch event is planned for the end of September, with the device likely to be an LTE-enabled device running Windows RT on a Snapdragon processor, likely the 800 quad-core seen in current smartphones. But with Windows RT failing to take off in any numbers, it is hard to see how Nokia can make a case, unless it has exceptionally competitive pricing, which with that hardware configuration, plus a 10-inch screen, doesn't seem likely.
So, there's just three of the dozens of big-ticket gadgets that will be waving at us from the shelves this winter. Throw in Apple's offerings, Amazon's own-branded and ever-improving range and the choice for gadget buyers will never have been greater. Do any of them grab your attention? Or are we all gadgeted-out and looking to spend our money elsewhere?