Everything you need to know about CES 2015The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show doesn't kick off until January 6, but our thoughts are already straying to the biggest tech gathering of the year.
Over the space of four days (January 6 - 9), many of the world's biggest tech companies will descend on Las Vegas to reveal what's in store for the coming year. Preceding the show, January 5 will likely act as a press day, with the likes of Samsung, Sony, LG and co all holding dedicated conferences to make major announcements.
Historically a show for the TV industry to show off its coming wares, CES has expanded to be so much more. It's still too early to say exactly what products will be hitting the show floor come January, but here are some of the tech trends to look out for during CES 2015.
Smart TVs with Android TVAt Google I/O back in June, it was revealed that the next version of the Android OS had been designed to scale to the Smart TV form factor.
Android TV offers the tantalising promise (admittedly not the first time) of an intuitive and widely adopted Smart TV UI standard, rather than the largely rubbish individual manufacturer efforts we've been putting up with for too long now.
Google's new solution will allow you to initiate media content searches using your phone, using both text input and voice recognition. You'll also have access to a whole heap of apps and games, through it'll ship with its own app store rather than simply having access to the Google Play Store.
Google also announced at the time that it had reached agreements with Sony, Sharp, and Philips to include Android TV in their 2015 HDTV ranges. As such, we're expecting to see a whole bunch of top end TV sets running on Android TV at CES 2015.
Don't expect Samsung and LG to join the Android TV party just yet though. Both Korean manufacturers are keen to push their own platforms. With Samsung known to be looking to reduce its reliance on Google, LG last year introduced its new webOS TV platform, the undoubted leader of the current group.
More, and cheaper, 4K TVsThis year's CES brought a lot of 4K or UHD TV sets, sporting four times the pixel density of your bog standard 1080p Full HD telly.
With IFA 2014 expected to follow suit next month, we're not expecting anything radically new on this front - as we noted above, the big advances should be in UI and smart features rather than core tech.
What we can expect to see, however, is more practically priced 4K TV sets as manufacturers look to bring the new resolution standard within range of your average punter. To that end, we're expecting more 40- and 50-inch efforts this time around.
One trend that doesn't look likely to go away just yet is curved TVs. Both Samsung and LG still appear fixated with these bent screens, so there'll probably be more on show in 2015.
Following January's Michael Bay blunder, hopefully Samsung will push another inexplicably successful film director out to humiliate themselves whilst pushing a 105-inch 4K TV no one can afford. Our money's on Zack Snyder.
New tablets to rival the iPadSpeaking of Samsung, this year's CES saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Pro range. This added the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro lines to an already dizzying array of sameish Android tabs from the manufacturer.
Given Samsung's slightly predictable cycles, we're offering low odds on another batch of Pros coming in 2015. We're not sure our keyboards could cope with a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 2 12.2, but who knows?
Of course, with the slinky Samsung Galaxy Tab S now on the market you might argue that there's no purpose for a new set of Pros. But then that's never stopped Samsung before.
It's not just Samsung you need to watch out for on the tablet space either. Chinese manufacturer Huawei is alway keen to throw a new affordable take on a consumer hit into the mix, with Sony, ZTE and a host of others all likely to push new tablet offerings.
Steam Machines, finallyOne of the biggest disappointments of recent months was Valve's decision to delay its Steam Machine program until 2015, owing to issues with the design of the Steam Controller.
Stepping back a few months, CES 2014 had seen a big Steam Machine splurge, with a number of hardware partnerships highlighted and some preliminary Steam Machine designs outlined.
After this year's false start, there's a chance that the very same venue could be used to showcase Valve's finalised Steam Machine vision this coming January.
We can but hope.
Wearables, and plenty of themIt's a pretty safe bet when discussing any of the big shows set to take place over the next 12 months to simply say: "wearables."
Yes, it's still a hot topic for tech companies, even if it hasn't yet taken off with the general public. But while previous shows have had wearable devices that haven't particularly wowed anyone, CES 2015 should be different.
For one thing, it will be the first CES show following Google's unveiling of Android Wear, as well as the first smartwatches built to run it. In six months time, we're expecting more manufacturers to have joined in.
Also consider the fact that Apple will probably have launched its iWatch a few months prior to CES 2015. There's a general feeling that this will be the point at which the smartwatch market truly kicks off - whether due to Apple coming up with something amazing, or simply due to the fact that all the major players will have played their hand, allowing informed choices to be made by consumers and manufacturers alike.
This is also an area where we actually have confirmation of one manufacturer's plans. Lenovo has confirmed that it will be showing off some new wearables at CES 2015 - and it has nothing to do with Motorola (which it now owns) and its stunning Moto 360.
3D printing steps to the fore3D printing will be big at CES 2015. The organisers are reportedly doubling the floor space for this intriguing field at next year's show.
Apparently, more than 30 companies will be present with their latest advances. And if you think this technology is still at the experimental stage, well, think again.
Reports suggest that sales of desktop 3D printers will have hit 67,000 by the end of 2014. True, that's a pretty small number compared to the number of ink jets out there, but it's enough to tell you that things are moving rapidly in the field.
Bookmark this page for all the latest breaking and developing news of what to expect from CES 2015.