11 hottest gadgets to look forward to in 2012
The start of a new year means the chance to get excited about another batch of gadgets that will come our way over the next 12 months.
There will be hundreds of gadgets, loads of phones and tablets, and even more cameras to tickle our interest. This time next year you might have a completely different phone than you do now, a new games console, or even a new computer.
While some are still hidden from us waiting to appear like a jack-in-the-box we already know some that will be gracing the shop shelves in the coming months ahead.
Here at the start of the year are the ones we are waiting for:
Due out in February in the UK and the US, the PlayStation Vita will be Sony's return to the handheld space in an attempt to fend off the continual rise of the smartphone and the tablet. But will a dedicated 5-inch handheld gaming console be enough to tackle the Samsung Galaxy devices and Apple iPads of this world? Sony certainly hopes so and we get to find out in a month's time.
iPhone gossip dominated 2011 and there is nothing to suggest that it won't dominate proceedings until Apple reveals an iPhone 5, possibly in September 2012 - the rumours have already started.
If the fanboys felt cheated out of the new device with the reveal of the iPhone 4S, imagine how they will feel if Apple skips 2012 altogether. Remember there was a 16-month launch cycle between the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Ouch.
The iPad 2 was launched at the start of 2011 and the year before saw the launch of the iPad in 2010. Taking that launch pattern as gospel, we should see an iPad 3 launched and in shops in the first couple of months of 2012.
In reality Apple has, of course, said nothing, confirmed nothing, and acknowledged nothing.
Still, that hasn't stopped rumours flowing out of "those familiar with the matter" and "sources close to the product" as if it was champagne at a New Year's Eve party.
If you are to believe all the gossip, Apple will launch a third iPad, called the iPad 3, that will have a faster processor and higher resolution. If you really believe everything you read, and we recommend you don't, there will also be a 7-inch version too.
Samsung Galaxy S III
The Samsung Galaxy S II was one of the biggest phones of 2011 winning numerous awards, including Phone of the Year in the 8th Pocket-lint Gadget Awards, and ending up in many people's pockets.
Since then Samsung has launched the more powerful Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Google. That combined with the launch of Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, means that the Samsung Galaxy S II is now looking old. Rumours have it that the SGS III will be faster, quicker, and more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
Expect a February Mobile World Congress 2012 reveal.
Intel is throwing a lot of weight behind the MacBook Air challenger and with plenty of support from Asus, Acer, Toshiba, Lenovo and others like LG and HP. Expect there to be plenty of Ultrabook announcements over the next 12 months. Your next laptop is going to be thin.
Not that Apple TV, but the other one, currently dubbed iTV. If that doesn't make it even more confusing then here is the lowdown.
Apple is, if rumours become true, expected to launch a television that has the power of its Apple TV set top box within, which should revolutionise the television industry the same way it changed the mobile phone market. The bonus, however, is that Apple already has an army of users with devices (iPhones and iPads) eager to connect via AirPlay.
The TVs, currently rumoured to be 32 or 37 inches in size, might also have Siri support so you can talk to your TV, with it possibly moving into your kitchen before gunning for your living room in 2013.
Nintendo Wii U
Shown off at the E3 gaming trade show in LA in June 2011, The Wii U is the follow-up to the hugely successful Wii console and hopes to revitalise Nintendo's fortunes in 2012.
The console promises to be more powerful than the current Xbox 360 and PS3 as well as include a tablet-like controller. Nintendo has said that the Wii U will be launched some time in 2012.
Expected at the tail end of 2012, Windows 8 will promise a wrath of new features and excitement for Windows users on their PC.
From the early public preview, that has already been made available, expect a two-pronged computer and tablet attack. 2012 is the year Microsoft tries to crack the tablet market once again.
Windows Phone 8 (Apollo)
We've already started to hear rumblings of Windows Phone 8 and the new features it will add. If, like other product life-cycles, Microsoft follows suit with updates to its mobile phone operating system, we will see an announcement in February with a roll out of the new features to the general public in October 2012.
Even better, with a new OS will come new phones from the likes of Nokia, Samsung, LG, and HTC hopefully.
Kindle Fire in the UK
The Kindle Fire has already launched in the US, but could 2012 see the launch of the colour tablet from Amazon in the UK? Rumours suggest so, but it is also worth bearing in mind that Amazon took over 2 years to get the Kindle from the US to the UK.
Sadly, Amazon hasn't officially said when or if it will be launching the Kindle Fire internationally.
Asus Transformer Prime
Due to go on sale in the next couple of weeks, if not days, the Asus Transformer Prime is the follow up to the Transformer Prime launched in 2011.
The Honeycomb (Asus have promised it will be getting an Ice Cream Sandwich update) tablet packs a powerful punch with its Nvidia quad-core processor and means it will dominate proceedings for the rest of the year when it comes to Android tablet competitors.
You can read our review of the new Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime when we got to play with it extensively in 2011.
Image credit: Archman from BigStockPhoto.
What gadgets are you most looking forward to in 2012? Let us know in the comments below.