First, here's a 2014 year summary.
Intel's low-power front held steady with their "Atom" line. The only major progress this year however is Intel's rebranding efforts, where Intel Atoms are no longer simply called "Atoms". Atoms can be called "Atom", "Celeron", or "Pentium" now, which is quite confusing actually. (Celeron / Pentium can either refer to Haswell or Atom chips... which have extremely different performance / power characteristics). Nonetheless, the "Bay Trail" Atoms are a mild success, with tons of 7-inch and 8-inch Windows and Android Tablets using the Atom. If you're buying a $100 to $400 device powered by Intel anytime soon, chances are its running the Atom.
AMD delivered their "Kaveri" line of "APU" chips in both laptop and desktop form. Their big-core AM3+ Fx-series of chips had a very minor update with a 100MHz clock boost, but there were no architectural advancements here. AMD Kaveri Laptops seem to have only been released in lower-power ~19W laptops form factors. The 35W AMD Chips don't seem to exist anywhere... but this might be due to the market conditions favoring the thinner lighter style of laptops.
Like Intel, AMD also has done some marketing shenanigans this year. Their "Beema" laptop chip is now being sold with the names A8 (A8-6410) and A6 (A6-6310)... despite severely different performance characteristics from Kaveri A8 and A6 processors. Its bad enough that Intel was screwing with their brand names, and AMD has to follow suit
But, what was missed on the CPU-front was easily made up on the GPU front. AMD released a new mid-tier card R9 285 to replace the R9 280 (rebranded 7950). And furthermore, massive price drops started to occur around September 2014. NVidia vs AMD is all set with these massive price drops, kicking the R9 290x down to $300... and NVidia releasing the top-quality GTX 970 for $350. (The GTX 980 sells for $550 but isn't considered nearly as good of a deal as the $300 stuff). For the R9 290x which was selling in Febuary 2014 for $900+ (Litecoin miners caused a shortage), seeing a $600 price swing down to $300 was quite exciting indeed.
As for other components... the MX100 has brought SSD prices even further down, crushing the $0.50 per GB mark.
So, what's ahead for Intel?
* Broadwell: Standard Laptops / High end Tablet chip. Maybe it's gonna finally launch damn it!?!?! Intel is reaching almost 2 years without a real desktop update.
* Brasswell, despite the "well" name is a low-power Atom-line.
* Skylake will be the new architecture. But with Broadwell only having a few months, maybe Skylake will be delayed as well?
For AMD, they plan to release Carrizo lines (a high-powered line with Excavator, and a low-powered line off Puma+) next year, along with ARM chips for the low end. Maybe AMD will get some ARM tablet wins? Carrizo will be competing against i3 / i5 / i7 chips, while Carrizo-L will be competing against Atom / Celeron / Pentium. An important note for AMD is that their Carrizo and Carrizo-L chips look like they run off the same socket. Carrizo will also be an SoC design (according to slides), which ought to make things cheaper to say the least.
AMD's been modestly successful with their very low-end offerings. Rumor is that developing nations (India / China) are buying up a lot of the cheaper AMD stuff. I'm just hoping that the Carrizo line isn't going to be too hampered by the SoC socket. But in any case, AMD's entire line seems to support this "FP4" socket for laptops, which should make it much cheaper and easier for manufacturers to offer the full range of AMD products. (Through 2014 AMD's higher-power 35W laptop processors never materialized in a real design. That problem is probably going to be mitigated by this common socket.)
For GPUs, the best is yet to come. AMD has their R9 390x series to come some time next year, and NVidia's die-shrink is imminent. The GTX 970 and GTX 980 are rumored to only be stop-gaps for the next generation. As for AMD's R9 390x, they are advertising liquid cooling beast of a chip. I'm curious as to the benchmarks and power-consumption of that thing. I don't think a single-chip card has ever had a reference liquid-cooler before.
As for other components, here are rumors.
* Sony and Panasonic are working on a next-generation 300GB to 1TB optical disc called the "Archive Disc". Unlike previous years, there will not be any format wars! The big disc companies are working together on this one. The current expected release is "Summer 2015". Is it time for optical discs to make a comeback?
* NVidia GSync monitors are currently available... for a cost premium. But Samsung has confirmed complete support of AMD's "FreeSync" (aka: DisplayPort 1.2a standard Adaptive Sync), with multiple 4k monitors launching with FreeSync support in March 2015. Adaptive-sync allows the GPU to update the screen, instead of the screen "pulling" data from the GPU. This reduces tearing and leads to far smoother experiences for games and media. Only certain AMD Graphics cards (R9 290x, R9 290, R9 285, and R7 260x) will support FreeSync. Older cards (and even some recent cards like the R9 280) will not support FreeSync. Nvidia cards will only support GSync. So "Monitor Format" wars are beginning.
* I'm beginning to notice the new M.2 SSDs in stores... in laptops and in motherboards. This small SSD form-factor is going to be the future, and I suggest making sure your motherboard purchases are future-proofed for M.2 support.