Best smartphones to look forward to in 2014

With the pace of smartphone evolution moving so fast, there's always something waiting in the wings. No sooner have you spied the latest handset, then there's anticipation of something else, the next big thing.

We've rounded up the best smartphones for 2014, those we consider to be the best across all platforms, and we've regularly updated that list as the smartphone world has evolved over the last year from 2013 in to 2014. You can find those in our Best smartphones 2014 feature.

READ: Best smartphones 2014: The best phones available to buy today

Here we're looking at those phones that haven't yet launched, those we know are coming, or are anticipated. Some will be rumour, some will be fact, but here we'll cut through the speculation to highlight those phones we really want to see.

We'll be updating this list on a regular basis, with those device rumours we think are credible and exciting, and devices just announced but yet to hit the shelves.

Sony Xperia Z3

That's right, there's a Sony Xperia Z3 in the works, as Sony Mobile continues its aggressive march towards smartphone supremacy. Typically, Sony Mobile has launched updated devices at IFA, and 2014 shouldn't be any different.

Appearing in a leaked photo, claiming to be Sony's next-gen smartphone, there's little to go on by way of specs, but there's expected to be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset with 3GB of RAM.

We'd be surprised if Sony didn't stick to the 20.7-megapixel camera, but we'd guess that the aim would be to try to reduce the bezel slightly, to result in a device that's a little more manageable.

READ MORE Sony Xperia Z3 leaks

Apple iPhone 6

There's little to nothing that we know about the iPhone 6, except that there will be one, or two. Following Apple's patterns of iPhone naming, the next iteration of device should take the name up to iPhone 6, and we should be looking at a new design to move beyond that of the iPhone 5 family.

There's rumour of two devices, one measuring 4.7-inches and one at 5.5-inches. There's little to substantiate these claims, except for leaked case shots and leaked component shots.

However, the chap who has leaked a number of recent devices - popstar Jimmy Lin - has just posted pictures of what he claims is the iPhone 6 on his Weibo page. We're inclined to believe it.

What also know that the iPhone 6 will launch with iOS 8, previewed at WWDC 2014, bringing with it a whole new range of features, like enhanced notifications and widgets, support for third-party keyboards and more functions for Siri.

The iPhone 6 launch is likely to be in October 2014 if Apple sticks to its release cycle. But unlike other manufacturers, Apple tends to stay on top of leaks, so you're likely to be in for a long wait before there's anything solid to go on.

READ MORE Apple iPhone 6 rumour round-up

Motorola Moto X+1

While Motorola has been beavering away at the budget end of the scale with the Moto G and Moto E - as well as being sold to Lenovo - things have gone rather quiet on the flagship front.

Enter the rumours of the Moto X+1. This new handset is said to have a 5.2-inch display, with a 1080p resolution. That's some step up over the 4.7-inches of the original. Other specs look par for the course, although the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor might set it slightly behind rivals, if true.

But growing to 5.2 inches might upset the Moto X cart a little: one of the popular things about this handset, aside from being good value for money, is the size. If it becomes a phablet, it might just lose the X factor.

Motorola has confirmed an event on 4 September where we're expecting to see a number of updates, with both the X and G mentioned, along with the Moto 360 watch. Stay tuned, as there's definitely something going down in Moto town.

READ MORE Motorola news and reviews

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be launched at IFA 2014 in 3 September, updating the best phablet around. Samsung has already invited press to the media event, so it's really just a case of waiting to see what extras the new device will bring.

Fortunately there's been a run of leaks, so we have a good idea of what to expect. You're looking at a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, 515ppi.

Not only will you get a great big display, but there's said to be the new generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core chipset at the heart, along with 4GB or RAM. Nothing should standing the way of the Note 4's power!

You can look forward to a 16-megapixel camera on the rear and all the normal stylus action, if leaks are to be believed.

However, one of the shining elements of the Galaxy Note in the past as been software and the optimisation to make it a great multi-tasker. It's here we don't have too many details, so there are sure to be surprises come launch day. We'll be at IFA 2014 to bring you all the details as they happen.

READ MORE Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date, rumours and everything you need to know

Tesco Hudl smartphone

When Tesco said it was planning to launch a tablet of its own, no one was to know just how popular and successful it might be in the UK. The announcement that there would be a Tesco Hudl smartphone might be greeted with a snort of derision, or it could be a disruptive devices - like the Motorola Moto G - that offers good specs and an even better price.

Tesco has declared that the device will be aggressively priced, but sit at the higher end of the spectrum and run on Android. Whether it's an OEM device with Tesco branding, or something that's sourced and designed to Tesco's specifications remains to be seen, but it could be the sleeper hit of 2014.

READ MORE Tesco Hudl smartphone news

HTC One (M8) for Windows

The HTC One (M8) now comes in a Windows Phone variety, meaning you get all that premium metal body with a dab of Microsoft inside.

It's a Verizon exclusive at launch, sadly, with no word on when the exclusive will lift - however we suspect it will see wider availability in the future.

The HTC One (M8) for Windows comes with the same hardware load-out as the Android version, so there's a powerful 2.1GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset with 2GB of RAM. You get 32GB of internal storage with the option to expand via microSD.

You also get HTC's hallmark BoomSound speakers, offering excellent audio. They flank the 5-inch full HD display, which is bright and vibrant.

Perhaps the only dubious point is the Duo Camera on the rear, which hasn't been as widely praised on the Android version as HTC might want. It offers the UltraPixel sensor with a second sensor to capture depth data. This can be used for a range of photo effects.

There are some software additions, such as highlight videos and the BlinkFeed content aggregator, meaning you get something to differentiate it from the ex-Nokia rivals.

No word on internal release, but a bonus for Verizon Wireless customers.

READ MORE HTC One (M8) for Windows 

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

When the SGS5 launched, there was a sharp exhalation as a slew of expected spec points weren't met. Rumours talked about a metal body and now those have surfaced with the launch of the Galaxy Alpha.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is Samsung's first foray into a metal-bodied device, but it's not an out-and-out flagship, instead offering a 4.7-inch 720p display. That will lead to a smaller frame and longer battery life, so may be welcomed by some.

It has a 2.5GHz quad-core, or 1.8GHz octa-core chipset, and 2GB of RAM. There's a 12-megapixel camera on the rear.

It offers 32GB of internal storage, but doesn't appear to have microSD card support for storage expansion. The 1850mAh battery sounds on the low side too by modern standards, making for a slightly unusual device.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha will be widely available, but there's no confirmed price or date yet.

READ MORE Samsung Galaxy Alpha news and reviews

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

There was always going to be an SGS5 Mini to sit alongside the regular model launched back in February. We doubted whether there would be an SGS5 Active, but Samsung has even specced up that model.

Now the SGS5 Mini is official. It retains the same design as the SGS5, with its dimpled Band-Aid esque rear cover, but also comes with the fingerprint scanner, heart rate sensor and IP67 protection rating.

This is all crammed into a smaller package fronted by a 4.5-inch 720p AMOLED display. There's a step down in internal specs, with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and a 2100mAh battery. You get 16GB of internal storage with support for microSD card.

READ MORE Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini news

Google Project Ara

Created by Motorola, and now shifted over to Google after the sale of Motorola to Lenovo, Project Ara isn't due to early 2015 but is essentially an exoskeleton that allows users to modify what parts they want. That way someone that wants to spend the bulk of their budget on the camera, but doesn't need as much storage, can chose to upgrade that way. Perhaps one person will skip NFC in favour of faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, for example.

There should also be third party components on offer that will allow for competitive pricing as well as new types of parts - like sensors. A person with diabetes may want a blood sugar sensor where another may not.

Users can also looks forward to different texture options that they can 3D print off at home themselves. The speed this phone can develop at, without costing us as much, is very exciting indeed.

READ MORE Google's Project Ara modular smartphone: Everything you need to know