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Grading My 2012 Predictions

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Things moved quickly on some fronts in the mobile tech world in 2012. On some fronts, not quickly enough. And there were even a few areas where things seemed to be stagnant. We had successes, we had failures and we had just about everything in between. Apple, Google, and Microsoft dominated the mobile tech news, and in some instances in ways they didn’t want to. Even some great successes came with a few bumps in the road.

My predictions for 2012 were headlined with a title: “All Eyes on Microsoft” because this was to be the year that Microsoft finally brought three years worth of development to the market. To say that all eyes were on Microsoft was accurate. To say that Microsoft might have blinked is also on target. Microsoft might be making a long play with Windows 8 and its move into hardware, but, if you’re like me and want to see Microsoft succeed, you certainly have to be a little nervous following the Windows 8 and Surface RT roll out, not to mention the dumping of Steve Sinofsky.

2012 is the first Year of the Tablet when that moniker makes any real or practical sense, unlike the previous years that were dominated by Apple and everyone else floundered. There’s real competition in the Tablet space and I am hoping that continues. Tablets, led by the iPad, have disrupted just about every sector of computing, as well as a few other industries in ways that we’re just starting to get a handle on. While it is nice to see battles waged on the price point and hardware fronts, the real fight still centers on the ecosystem that companies can provide their Tablet users. Everyone realizes this, and Apple certainly has a big lead when it comes to Apps. But Apps aren’t the only game in town, as Amazon knows very well. We’re moving into a time when the content creators and owners are going to have an increasing syay has to which ecosystem might be more appealing. There’s a part of me that thinks the big name third party distributors, regardless of sector, (Dropbox, Netflix, Flipboard) are going to be the real winners here, as long as they can maintain favorable terms with each platform.

But before we get into 2013 thoughts, let’s take a look at how I graded myself on my predictions for the year that’s coming to a close. It’s always sobering to know where I guessed well and where I missed the boat completely.

 

The Big News

  • Apple and Google will continue to dominate the mobile news for the early part of the year until-
  • Microsoft will be making big news with Windows 8, Tablets, and everything we’ve been waiting to really see for 2 years now. It will be a make or break year for Microsoft in terms of the public’s perception. (Correct)
  • Apple’s aggressive patent wars will continue casting a pall on the entire industry. (Correct)
  • Amazon will continue to gain influence as a mobile force by going its own way. (Correct)
  • June will be a big month for Google as Eric Schmidt says that’s when we’ll see Google TV everywhere and “high end” Android Tablets. (Eric Schmidt and I missed on that Google TV everywhere item, but June was a big month for Google. Think Nexus 7.)
  • The legislative battles in Congress over SOPA and PIPA will continue with most folks not really paying attention, including those who are charged with voting on the legislation. (Correct)
  • Ultrabooks will be labeled the next big thing. They won’t be. (Correct)
  • The push to control the living room will continue. No one will gain control over the living room and the battles will rage. (Correct)
  • A new update to Android, iOS, Windows Phone, or some other system will be released and within 24 hours there will be a major bug or flaw in each one. (Correct)
  • The carriers will continue their wicked ways but more customers will start to push back. (Mostly Correct. Customers haven’t really gotten riled up on this.)
  • Nokia will look to bounce back and extend its US presence on the back of Microsoft. It will make inroads but not at the level it is hoping. (Correct)
  • RIM will come closer to burying itself after having no more feet left to shoot. (Correct)
  • There will be a change at the top at RIM. (Correct)
  • Voice Control: Siri, how many competitors will you have in 2012? (At least one. Google Now)
  • The 4G wars will continue unabated but will be slowed down a bit by issues with battery life and up time issues. (Correct)

Google

  • Google will continue to tighten its focus and improve its design ethic. (Mostly Correct. Jelly Bean is a vast improvement. Google still sprays scatter shot over too many areas to focus things appropriately.)
  • Google will face more trouble with governments and regulators. (Correct)
  • Google will once again try to clamp down on standards for Android but will not succeed. (Mostly Correct)
  • Ice Cream Sandwich will continue to be the story (until the next version gets hinted) but Google will have to contend with the morass it has created when carriers and OEMs delay updating existing devices. (Correct)
  • There will be ICS updates promised for devices shown at CES 2012 that will not see an update before the end of 2012. (Correct)
  • Google TV will still be looked at as a failure. (Correct)
  • Google + integration in Google’s products will continue to proliferate. (Correct)

Apple

  • Apple will take some needed lumps for a less than spectacular and less than speedy follow through on the iCloud release. (Correct)
  • Apple will release a new iPhone and a new iPad. The cycle will continue. (Correct)
  • The question “where are the Thunderbolt accessories?” will begin to haunt Apple. (Somewhat correct. The question is there, but I think the world has moved on.)
  • We’ll start to see stories that blame Tim Cook for Apple’s problems. (Correct)
  • Apple will not release a 7 inch iPad. (Not Correct)
  • Apple will make moves towards taking over the TV market but will have early stumbles. (Somewhat correct. Apple is making moves, but I’m not sure they are stumbling or just taking their time.)

Microsoft

  • Windows 8 will be heralded as a big success. Microsoft has to hit a home run with Windows 8 on many levels. They will hit a triple. (Somewhat Correct. I think Microsoft hit a double instead of a triple, but crippled the base runner before he could round first base with poor strategy.)
  • Steve Ballmer will step down. (Not Correct)
  • Steve Sinofsky will step down after Windows 8 is released. (Somewhat correct. He’s gone, but not sure if he stepped or was pushed.)
  • The Metro UI on Windows 8 will be equally praised and condemned. (Correct)
  • Stories that say most enterprise customers see no reason to upgrade to Windows 8 will be a dime a dozen. (Correct)

The Cloud

  • Now that the majority of the big players have their own cloud for syncing and streaming (some) media, we’ll start to see promotions and tie-ins that seek to differentiate. (Not Correct unless you count Amazon’s Video)
  • The real tension with Cloud Computing has always been how the carriers treat data plans. This tension will increase as the year goes on and folks start to discover the limits that they have chosen. (Correct)

Amazon

  • Amazon has extended its beachhead into mobile computing with the Kindle Fire and will continue to enlarge its impact. Amazon has the room to maneuver on price point that no one else does and will use that to its advantage. (Correct)
  • Amazon’s Kindle family will expand in 2012. (Correct)

Best of the Rest

  • Also ran and follow the leader Tablet makers will start to abandon the form factor for greener pastures. (Somewhat correct)
  • Facebook will continue to iterate and irritate its user base but will continue to grow, alarmingly so. (Correct)
  • Social networks and applications will reach a saturation point. We’ll see trends begin to point downward. (Not correct)
  • The Rumor Rampage in tech blogging will start to see a backlash from readers. (Not correct)
  • The US Presidential election will see plenty of action on the web and in social media and will generate even more stories in the mass media about how we need to keep the web and social media under control. (Correct)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 will become a big story. The question will be will there be devices that support it. (Somewhat correct. It wasn’t a big story. There are questions about the number, or lack thereof that support it.)
  • Intel will hope to make a big push into mobile that actually works into, but it may be too little too late. (Somewhat correct)
  • We’ll start to see more governments trying to clamp down on cameras and video during public protests. (Correct)

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

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