One of the biggest downsides of being a devoted fan of gadgets and gizmos is the cost of fuelling that addiction indulging that hobby. Most can only look on with jealous eyes at the never-ending stream of new devices that continue to flow into stores, teasing us with their superlative specs and shiny buttons. Indeed, most tech fans find themselves having to pick one device which they know they'll probably be stuck with for a while, and that makes the choice of selecting the right one particularly important.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than with our phones. Most buyers balk at the idea of paying a few hundred dollars up front for the latest handset, rendering us willing prisoners to the captivity of a long-term contract, in return for substantial discounts on handset costs. When the most competitive deals for the best devices require some users to sign up to three-year­ contracts, it makes sense to not rush into things.

This is a particularly interesting time for two reasons. First, there's something of a glut of users emerging from their contracts at the moment, as millions of iPhone 4 buyers - notably, those who purchased in the first few weeks and months after its June 2010 debut - find themselves looking for their next device.

But this is an especially exciting time for the rest of us because of what lies immediately ahead. Every major mobile platform will soon see a new wave of devices and updated operating systems vying for the attentions of consumers. From the next iPhone to BlackBerry 10, from Windows Phone 8 to Android Jelly Bean, from Acer to ZTE, the next few weeks and months will see the launch of an incredible range of new smartphones.

Let's take a look at what's coming up, and why it'll be worth the wait..

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