Week in Tech: New year, new gear, and why Samsung has milky vision

Nobbled networks, milky vision and the highs for 2015

Happy New Year! If you thought 2014 was pretty cool, you ain't seen nothing yet: 2015 has barely begun and we've already discovered a whole bunch of really exciting phones, the future of Windows and why Samsung wants you to watch some milk. But new years aren't just about looking forwards. They're a time to reflect too, to look back at the year just gone and to mock people with bent iPhones. It's 2015's very first week in tech!

No Xmas cheer for consoles

It's been a rubbish Christmas for gamers: both Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network suffered severe outages which have been blamed on Lizard Squad, the Chingford R&B group that had a hit with Crossroads in 2002. Or was that Blazin' Squad? Either way, one of the alleged ringleaders is currently helping police with their enquiries.

Payback time for Apple

While Apple gets ready to launch Apple Pay in the UK, it's quietly introduced a big change to iTunes purchases: European customers will be able to get a no-quibble refund on digital purchases if they request it within 14 days. That effectively means every app now has a two-week trial period whether the developers want to offer one or not. We're torn: on the one hand the new refund policy might rid the App Store of bad apps, but on the other it does seem wide open to abuse.

Samsung: got milk?

Remember Milk Music, Samsung's music streaming app? It's got a new sibling called Milk VR, which promises to deliver free 360-degree content in both 2K and 4K formats including sports, music and action videos. It's currently US-only but will launch in other countries in early 2015, and you'll need a Gear VR headset and Note 3 tablet to use it. You might want to wait and see what content it offers before shelling out on any new hardware.

Google and Apple: the good, the bad and the bendy

In 2014, two firms dominated the tech headlines: Apple and Google. But while both firms had some big hits they also encountered a few big problems. In our look back at Apple in 2014 we got excited about the Apple Watch and praised Tim Cook's decision to talk publicly about his personal life, but we also recalled the iOS 8 release fiasco, the disappointing Mac Mini refresh and inevitably, Bendgate.

Google had a mixed year too. Google Glass remains a non-starter, there was a little too much vapourware for our liking and the Lollipop launch was fumbled a bit - but the Chromecast, new Nexuses and latest Android were all brilliant.

What about the future? Naturally we've looked ahead too: here's what we think Apple will do in 2015, and what we think Google will get up to.

Will Windows win in 2015?

Windows 10 is coming, and Microsoft is building a brand new browser for it. Today's Microsoft appears to name everything after things from Halo - the Cortana personal assistant, Windows 10's "Threshold" codename - so it's no surprise that the browser has been called "Master Chief". Er, we mean "Spartan".

The best tech at CES

The CES 2015 tech splurge is just days away, and it'll feature new goodies from the likes of Samsung, Sony, LG, Asus, HTC… you name them, they'll be there with boxes of brilliant new toys. We've rounded up the best bits before the show even begins, and of course we'll be updating you throughout the whole shebang.

Phew! It's a phone frenzy!

Remember the Nokia 3210, the Sony Ericsson K800i or the Nokia N95? We do, and we think 2015 will bring phones that you'll love as much as you loved those classic bits of kit. Our look at the most exciting smartphones of 2015 includes the HTC One M9, the Samsung Galaxy S6, the iPhone 6S and many, many more. Your next favourite is in there somewhere.