While Google is a dominant name globally, the company is not as powerful in China. Yes, its Android platform is the most used OS in the country, but many of the devices running Android in China are forked and not linked to Google's services (the way the company makes money from Android). The company's Nexus devices have never really been popular in China either, but that could be changing this year.
Acer's quest to join the smartphone elite will continue at the Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona next week when the Taiwanese company launches new handsets. There are reports that the company will debut a new Windows Phone smartphone, while the familiar Android toting Liquid series will also get some new additions. On top of that, Acer is also set to showcase its new wearable device.
I have written before that the continuing decline in Samsung's smartphone business will ultimately have an impact on the company's employees. Certainly, rumors have been circulating for some time that the South Korea giant will cut jobs during 2015. That would follow up on 30% of the smartphone division being cut last year, but Samsung has taken another drastic action of freezing employees' salaries this year.
The recently launched LG G Watch Urbane, a wearable that may have a claim to being the best looking smartwatch yet. The Urbane will have some other calling cards too, including LTE and from what LG says, the best battery life we have seen before in such a wearable. There will be two versions of the G Watch Urbane, a regular one, and one that is packing LTE, allowing it to make calls.
The more cynical would say it was inevitable that Samsung would explore a payment system, especially now that Apple has one. Samsung is known to be interested in setting up its own Apple Pay style product and Samsung's heir Lee Jay-yong met with PayPal founder Peter Thiel yesterday about linking together on Samsung's payment system.
Apple's first wearable, the Apple Watch, was announced back in September, but the company left plenty disappointed by saying the actual launch of the product would not happen until 2015. The actual launch date is still not clear, but it is expected for April and there were some good reasons why Apple waited. Chief among those was to allow develop interest to grow, a plan that seems to have worked.
Samsung and HTC will be the ones to watch at MWC next week, but there will be other major companies launching smartphones at the event. Chief among those is Microsoft, with Redmond likely to announce a number of new handsets from its Lumia range. However, if you are pining after a flagship device from the company, then you may be left wanting.
HTC's aging One M7 is starting to get its upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop, at least if you have the unlocked and Developer Edition version. Now, users of the handset rocking the European version will also be treated to the latest and greatest on their One M7, a smartphone that is now nearly two years old.
In one week's time the Samsung Galaxy S6 will be out in the wild and we will all be discussing whether it is the device to help the company in its most testing period in years. It is accepted that Samsung has to change some things, which is why the South Korean giant is expected to unveil a radical overhaul of its flagship series.
Motorola has announced a new smartphone today, a sequel to the 2014 budget device, the Moto E. The second generation Moto E is another entry level attempt from the company and like the original handset, it comes with modest but appealing specs for its affordable price. Interestingly, the device is launching in both LTE and non-LTE forms.