Forget Moto X -- Motorola has moved on to Moto Z, a totally new phone that includes a wide range of snap-on modular accessories, including a projector, a powerful JBL speaker and several battery packs. The Z comes in "standard" and "Force" versions, the latter of which adds a bigger battery, more durable screen and better camera. Look for the so-called Droid Editions of each phone on Verizon starting July 28, and unlocked versions that will work on other carriers later.
Samsung's next flagship phone is coming in hot: The company sent invitations for an August 2 "7 Unpacked 2016" event with an S Pen as a graphic. That effectively confirms that Samsung is skipping the Note 6 moniker -- jumping straight from last year's Galaxy Note 5 (pictured here) to Note 7 -- bringing its naming convention into line with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge from earlier this year. Expect a big Android phablet with a full range of bells and whistles -- and a high price tag to match.
The world's first Google Tango phone is coming in fast. In addition to a depth-sensing camera that enables an AR experience, the Phab2 Pro sports a 6.4-inch Quad HD display -- and a $499 (roughly AU$670, £340) unlocked price in the United States. Look for it in September.
Last year, Google delivered two Nexus phones, the 5X from LG and the larger 6P by Huawei. No matter what Nexus we get for 2016, it'll be upgradable to the latest Android operating system the minute it's released.
Of course, the most anticipated phone of the year will be the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. (The rumored "iPhone Pro," shown here in a photo leak from nowhereelse.fr, feels less likely at this point.) The current rumors suggest only a very subtle design change, with a vastly improved camera (and dual rear cameras on the Plus), plus possible waterproofing and extended battery life. Expect the phone to be announced the first or second week of September.
The original Apple Watch is more than a year old, and it's increasingly available at a discount. A second-gen Watch in the back half of the year feels likely. Expect a redesign or new features that take full advantage of the recently unveiled WatchOS 3.
Titans like Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and Google aren't your only choices for smartwatches. Upstart Pebble continues to offer cool alternatives like the new Pebble. It keeps the black and white display, but adds a durable Gorilla Glass face, heart rate monitoring and a microphone -- all for just $129 in the US. Look for it in October, or hold out for the fancier, somewhat pricier Pebble Time 2 that's coming in January.
Nougat, the latest version of Android, features the ability to reply to notifications in line, a new Google Assistant, multiwindow support and a Doze mode that promises better battery life. Expect it later this year.
The tenth iteration of Apple's iPhone and iPad operating system brings overhauled notifications and lockscreens, new 3D Touch shortcuts and many updates to Messages -- to name just a few of the changes. Look for it in September.
In addition to a retro name (MacOS replaces OS X), the free "Sierra" upgrade to the venerable Mac operating system finally brings Siri to the Mac. Meanwhile, iCloud Drive lets you share your desktop and documents across multiple devices. The free upgrade for Mac owners hits later in 2016 -- probably soon after iOS 10.
Mac users aren't having all the fun: Windows 10 is getting an update for its first birthday. Improvements in the so-called "Anniversary Update" include security upgrades, Cortana improvements, better stylus performance on touchscreens and improved Xbox integration. The update hits as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users on August 2.
At just 11.9mm thick, the Zenbook 3 is being billed as the thinnest laptop in the world -- yes, even thinner than the HP Spectre and Apple MacBook. It also sports a 12.5-inch full HD screen and a USB Type-C port.
With no changes since May 2015, the MacBook Pro is overdue for an upgrade. The latest rumor is that Apple's most powerful laptop will get an OLED control strip to replace the function keys, and possibly an iPhone-style Touch ID fingerprint reader.
And speaking of Echo, Amazon's voice-controlled speaker is a phenomenon, but it's been around since November 2014. In addition to improving its cloud-based smarts, rumored new Echo hardware could also deliver improved audio quality.
Amazon and Google are going all in on the connected home, but where is Apple? A so-called Siri Speaker is still firmly in the rumor stage, but we've heard that it might even feature a facial recognition camera.
Photo by: Oscar Gutiérrez/CNET / Caption by:
Xbox One S
The next Xbox is coming in August, and it's got a nice roster of improvements. It's 40 percent smaller, plays 4K Blu-Rays, offers HDR video support and will eventually start at $299 in the US. The one hitting on August 2, though, is a $399 2TB model.
An upgraded PS4 is coming, possibly by the end of 2016. The newer console won't make the existing PS4 obsolete, but is expected to offer 4K video support. And it may deliver better performance to Sony's upcoming PlayStation VR helmet, too.
The consolation prize for no NX in 2016? Nintendo will be delivering a retro version of the 1980s NES with 30 games built-in. Play classics like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Zelda and Excitebike on your HDTV for just $60 when it arrives on November 11.
HTC Vive's big advantage over the Oculus Rift is its handheld motion controllers, which are included in the box. But Rift will be evening the score later this year when its Oculus Touch controllers arrive. (Exact release details are still unknown.)
The rest of 2016 is looking promising, but 2017 already has plenty of top tech on deck, too. Look for Xbox's Project Scorpio, the Nintendo NX and Google's Project Ara (all confirmed for 2017), as well as likely sequels such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8.