10 3D holograms
Straight out of leftfield this one, admittedly. But according to mobile communications futurologists, there could be eight million handsets worldwide capable of projecting 3D images out of the screen by the end of the year.
Sounds fanciful doesn’t it? Perhaps not as much as you’d think. Back in 2008, Infosys of India patented a handset that can show 3D movies and games. And it’s planning to bring it to market by the end of 2010.
9 Google phone
It’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure. And there’s been no shortage of official denials of its existence from the ‘Don’t Be Evil’ boys. But going by the fevered speculation that a Google phone seems to attract, all that seems to have done is further aroused phone fans’ ardour.
For what it’s worth, we’re not convinced by rumours that the device will be data-only. And that's simply because networks would refuse to carry it. But we can say that we’re expecting Google to pull out all the stops to distinguish its own Android mobile phone from the slew of competitors.
How to do that, though? Well, that’s the multi-million dollar question. For a start, it could launch with an upgrade of the OS that’s been hitherto unavailable. But we’re predicting that its real USP will be a massively powerful processor that will dwarf that of the iPhone 3G S.
What it'll look like is anyone's guess. But if it's even half as purty as this concept knocked up the chaps at DogorGod, we're in for a treat:
8 Better iPhone deals
So, the price war we'd all hoped for hasn’t materialized. But come January when Vodafone enters the market there'll be a new iPhone carrier to challenge new boys Orange and old hands O2.
We can probably rule out a price cut for the launch on the grounds that Voda will do well enough out of pent-up demand to make such a move a commercial non-starter. But if Orange’s example is anything to go by, Voda will almost certainly pack its offering with sweeteners to attract custom. In turn, O2 and Orange will be compelled to do the same. Happy days ahead, then.
7 Palm Pixi
Thus far, young smartphone fans on budgets have been priced out of buying high-end iPhones and the Palm Pre. But the Pixi, which retains its predecessor's advanced multi-tasking capabilities while downgrading non-essential features such as the camera, is set to change all that. The only downside? You’ll no longer be able to lord it over your little brother with your super powerful next-gen communications device.
6 Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
With its super-fast 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, UX user interface and four-inch high resolution screen, the Xperia X10 already has the Fandroids slavering. And no wonder. The question is, do you plump for this bad boy or wait until the Google phone arrives?
5 Rolando 3
The drop-dead-brilliant first two installments comprehensively rebooted mobile gaming. And the third coming of our bouncy chum sounds even better. As well as the cocktail of quirky ragtime toons and smart cartoon graphics that are the series trademark, this time out we're also getting a co-op multi-player option. Does gaming come any sweeter?
4 Android Market gold rush
The sheer pace at which the range of Android phones is expanding is staggering to behold. So, it's a no-brainer that the Android Market will explode this year, as developers look to get on the gravy train.
3 A proper iPhone upgrade
If you listened to some former iPhone fanboys, the incremental differences between the 3G S and its forerunner were proof positive that Apple has been resting on its laurels at the top of the smartphone tree. That’s certainly not an option for the tech giant any more, with both the Pre and the higher-end Android phones having proved themselves more than viable challengers to Apple handsets' supremacy.
Consequently, it’s fair to say we can expect something a bit more spectacular this time out. On a purely cosmetic level, we’re forecasting a slimmer, sleeker look and praps a few colour options.
Elsewhere, we’re betting on a significantly more powerful processor which will bring proper multi-tasking to Apple mobiles - and end forever the oft-cited bugbear of having to close one app before opening another.
2 The future’s Orange (and T-Mobile)
With approval granted for these two giants to merge, T-Mobile customers are sitting pretty. Not only can they look forward to an expanded network and enhanced indoor and outdoor network quality for 2G and 3G services, but they'll be able to upgrade to an iPhone by 2011, to boot.
If this were a World Cup we’d be describing Israeli mobile manufacturer Emblaze Else as the ‘dark horses of the competition’. Having seen its debut mobile the Else in action, we can report that it’s got stand-out looks. But it’s the user interface that promises to be a smartphone game changer.