If there is one thing we love about smartphones, it's that there is always something awesome just around the corner. No matter how good you thought last year's phone were, this year's phones are bound to be better again.
This list is a mix of the phones we know about, the phones we'll soon learn about, and phones we'd love to see in the future. Some are certainties, like a new iPhone in September, and others are wishful thinking.
So, peer into the crystal ball with us as we take a look at the best new phones money can't buy (yet).
iPhone 6s and 6 Plus... s
The 6s and 6 Plus s are expected in September 2015. Nothing right now suggests that it will be anything other than the same incremental upgrade that we've come to expect from Apple's two-year cycle. The only problem currently foreseen is that "6 Plus s" is a bulky name. There's also no guarantee that the larger Plus model iPhone will survive in to a new generation. The affordably-aimed iPhone 5c was never seen or heard from again after its one-time appearance.
Physical design should be identical to the current generation, although there may be differences in color and highlights.
We hope to see the smaller iPhone 6 make the jump to full 1080p like the 6 Plus, although that seems unlikely. The displays will probably remain the same.
Cameras will be improved, although megapixel (MP) count will likely remain at 8MP. Processing power will make its annual jump and there will be a new version of iOS to accompany the launch.
Right now that's it. No saucy leaks or fancy new bells or whistles. Just another yearly step in the direction of technological improvement.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
If there is a phone as big, or bigger, than an upcoming iPhone it's got to be the Samsung Galaxy Note. This year we'll see the fifth iteration of Samsung's now-famous phablet, and it looks on course to be yet another great phone.
We expect to see everything we love about the Galaxy Note series, but with each component tweak and refined in some meaningful way. The S-Pen stylus is due for improvements, with rumours suggesting a spring-loaded housing for easy access.
Samsung will keep the screen at its super-high quad-HD resolution, but if you know Samsung, you know there will be an Ace up its sleeve in the display department. No word yet on whether there will be a variant with a curved screen, ala the Galaxy S6 Edge, and in a way we hope there isn't one. The Galaxy Note Edge was a disappointment this time last year, and we imagine it would be equally disappointing this time around.
Sony Xperia Z4 and Z4 Compact
The Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact were a good team. It’s understandable to
assume that the upcoming Z4 will also sport a plucky little sidekick. And
wouldn’t you know, they’ve both turned up in leaks. The Z4 was expected as early as January 5 2015 with the Compact may be delayed until as
late as Q2. This is no longer the case.
The Z4 gossip now slates it for a Q4 release, possibly in September, with no mention of a Z4 Compact.
The full-sized Z4 has been said to boast both a 5.2 inch 1080p display and a 5.4 inch 2K one. A Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM. Storage is expected to have been doubled to 32GB with a microSD slot for optional expansion.
The smaller of the two, the Compact, is slated to have a 4.7
inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM. This, along with the
predicted 32GB of storage and 20.7MP/5MP front/rear camera combo would
definitely make it the best Android phone of its size on the market. This rumor is now a little old, so don't wait up based only on these specs.
OnePlus is a small Chinese company that made waves with its first phone in 2014: the OnePlus One. It was a high-end phone for a very low price (less than half that of the Galaxy S5) that came running Android via Cyanogen, making it highly customizable.
The problem with the OnePlus One, and why you probably haven't heard of it, is that its manufacturer is so small that it could only sell phones by invite. The capacity to churn out devices en masse simply wasn't there.
This year that's expected to be less of a problem, although don't expect massive availability. While OnePlus has reportedly decided to ditch the invite system in 2015, it's unlikely we'll see huge global availability.
Right now everything is rumor. Sources tend to agree that it will come running a powerful Snapdragon 810 processor, putting it in line with other flagships. It's also expected to sport a new user interface called Oxygen, severing ties with Cyanogen.
Microsoft Surface Phone
OK, this way is waaay out there in rumour land, but what a great idea it would be for Microsoft. You take the success Microsoft has had with its Surface range of tablets, you add in the fact that it needs a win in the smartphone space, and the rest is a no-brainer.
A Surface-styled phone would address one of the major problems Microsoft has had with handsets since penning its now infamous partnership with Nokia -- childish looking phones. Not, that all of the Lumia handsets looked like toys, but there was enough fluoro colors in that range to decorate a warehouse rave party.
What Microsoft needs is something sleek that will appeal to C-level executives as much as to trendy college students. Of course, there is a fine line between cool and drab, as BlackBerry discovered, but it is essential that Microsoft get this right in its next phone release.
Huawei Google Nexus
Huawei might be the last name you'd have guessed to be working on the new super-secret Google Nexus phone, but with leaks already leaking, it seems like the Chinese manufacturer is ready for its time in the Google limelight.
As the rumours have it, the Huawei Nexus will be phablet-sized, with a 5.7-inch Quad-HD display and the latest Qualcomm processors. The picture above is only an artist's concept, but we imagine it is pretty close to what we should expect. If based on the design of the Huawei Mate 7 (also a phablet with a 5.7-inch screen) then the Huawei Nexus will be super slim and pleasingly powerful.
We loved the Mate 7 when we reviewed it at the end of last year, but we would love to have used it with stock Android installed. The Huawei Nexus might be our chance to do just that.