The holiday shopping season is often make or break for the latest tech gear.
And 2015 is expected to be hotter than ever as these technology giants duke it out for consumer shopping dollars.
To help you prepare for the coming rush — including the yearly holiday advertising blitz and Black Friday sales — we’ve put together a list of some of the cool gadgets coming out just in time for the 2015 holiday shopping season.
Start watching for sales, because the battle for your cash is about to begin.
Cool Gadgets Coming Out in Holiday Season 2015: New Apple TV
Finally, Apple is releasing a new Apple TV, and it will be available just in time for holiday shoppers.
The new one looks a lot like the old one — just a bit thicker — but it has been upgraded with an A8 processor, and the remote is now motion-sensing and sports a glass touchpad.
Siri is on board for voice commands, universal search hits up competing video services like Netflix (NFLX) as well as iTunes, and the UI is completely upgraded.
The biggest news is a dedicated app store and the ability to use the remote as a motion-sensing game controller, a la the Nintendo (NTDOY) Wii.
The new Apple TV is officially “coming soon” in $149 and $199 models, with the price depending on whether you choose 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage.
Cool Gadgets Coming Out in Holiday Season 2015: Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition
Amazon is not about to let Apple have its way in the living room. Days after the new Apple TV news, Amazon announced the Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition, designed to match the Apple TV’s new features.
Siri voice control? The new Fire TV has Amazon’s Alexa.
Games? Fire TV plays Android games (with over 800 titles in its app store). And because this is the Gaming Edition, it comes with two top-sellers for free and a specialized gaming controller.
While the Apple TV still maxes out at 1080p video, the Fire TV will now do 4K Ultra HD video.
The Fire TV has just 8GB of storage built in (compared to 32GB for the Apple TV), but unlike the Apple TV there’s a microSD slot for cheap expansion, and Amazon is throwing in a free 32GB card as part of this bundle.
Amazon also undercut Apple on price. The cheapest new Apple TV is $149, but the Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition will be priced at $139.99 when it goes on sale October 5.
Cool Gadgets Coming Out in Holiday Season 2015: Samsung Gear VR
This isn’t an assemble-it-yourself VR headset along the lines of Google (GOOG,GOOGL) Cardboard; it’s a high-tech headset developed with Oculus — the Facebook (FB) acquisition behind the famed Oculus Rift.
At $99, the Gear VR is half the price of the developer version it released earlier, but you’ll still need a recent Samsung smartphone (Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge or Galaxy 6 Edge+) to power the device.
Cool Gadgets Coming Out in Holiday Season 2015: iPad Pro
Those looking for a really big tablet with a snazzy cover/keyboard combo will have another choice besides the Microsoft (MSFT) Surface this holiday season: the iPad Pro.
Apple’s version of a super-sized tablet is a beast that pushes the tablet envelope.
The A9X CPU purportedly makes the iPad pro faster than most Windows laptops, and the 5.6 million pixels are shown off on a 12.9-inch display that’s 78% bigger than an iPad Air 2’s.
It also has an optional Smart Keyboard and supports the new Apple Pencil stylus.
The iPad Pro will be available in November, starting at $799.
Cool Gadgets Coming Out in Holiday Season 2015: New Smartphones from BlackBerry and Microsoft
With the likes of the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, is it possible to refer to a BlackBerry or Microsoft phone as a “cool gadget”?
Considering that there hasn’t been a true flagship Windows smartphone in several years and that BlackBerry is offering a Hail Mary combo of Android and a sliding QWERTY keyboard, then yes, these things are shaping up to have a definite cool factor.
The specs have leaked on the new Lumia 950, and the flagship device looks ready to leverage Windows 10’s new features in a big way.
It boasts a WQHD OLED display, 20MP PureView camera, Hexa-core Snapdragon 808 CPU and wireless charging. Microsoft will also be offering a phablet version, the 950 XL with a 5.7-inch display.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry was forced to officially confirm its top secret Priv smartphone. No BB10, this BlackBerry will run Android. And as shown by this leaked image obtained by CrackBerry, it’s a big slider phone that retains the classic QWERTY physical keyboard.
Expect both smartphones to be available later this fall if there are Windows, BlackBerry, or security-obsessed Android fans on your holiday shopping list.
Cool Gadgets Coming Out in Holiday Season 2015: Pebble Time Round
Remember the Pebble smartwatch?
One of the most successful entrants in the category, Pebble got buried under the Apple Watch wave, despite releasing the new Pebble Time this year.
However, the company isn’t giving up without a fight.
The newly announced Pebble Time Round takes on the Apple Watch with a stylish, round face that’s thin and light. It gives up a lot of its legendary battery life in doing so, but still goes two days on a charge, with only 15 minutes needed to get a day’s worth of use.
Pebble Time Round is also $100 less than the cheapest Apple Watch and plays nice with both iPhones and Android smartphones.
Priced at $249.99, Pebble Time Round will be available in November.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.