2011 is nearly over and it has been an extremely exciting year for the mobile industry. We’ve seen Verizon expand its next-generation 4G LTE network at a neck-breaking pace. We’ve seen AT&T sprout up its LTE network. We’ve seen the first LTE smartphones. We’ve seen the first dual-core LTE smartphones. We’ve seen a new iPhone. A new Nexus. Another iPad. An Amazon tablet. The death and rebirth of webOS. The ongoing Problems with RIM.
The list goes on and on.
And as we leave 2011 in the rear view mirror, I wanted to take a look at a few things I would love to see happen in 2012. Some of them are more far-fetched than others, but I tried to keep them within the realm of possibility.
1) 4G LTE iPhone
As many of you know, I had an ongoing debate – in my own head, about whether or not I was going to buy Verizon’s 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy Nexus or if I was going to wait for the next iPhone which will presumably have 4G LTE capabilities of its own. Ultimately, I decided to pick up the Galaxy Nexus but as I’ve said, I haven’t completely closed the door on picking up an LTE iPhone when it arrives.
Point is, I’m extremely excited about the possibility of an iPhone with true 4G data speeds. If Apple is able to improve on iOS 5, a fantastic operating system in itself, and figure out how to get great battery life with LTE, I’m sold.
I’ll would probably even buy one with the iPhone 4S design, a design that I am not in love with.
A 4G LTE iPhone is at the top of my wish list for 2012 and I have a feeling that more than a few of you share that sentiment as well.
2) Verizon Finds Its Heart
2011 has not been kind to the HTC ThunderBolt and the Motorola Droid Bionic. While both were highly anticipated devices, the ThunderBolt as the first 4G LTE phone on a big provider and the Droid Bionic as the first dual-core 4G LTE smartphone, they both ran into a litany of issues, issues that I have covered extensively here at GBM.
To summarize, the HTC ThunderBolt was and really, still is, a smartphone demon sent to terrorize customers on Verizon with its terrible battery life, slow Android updates and prior to a fix, its random rebooting. For the most part, HTC ThunderBolt owners experiences have been horrible.
And then we have the Motorola Droid Bionic, one of the most anticipated phones of the year that was delayed for half of 2011 while Motorola and Verizon worked out the kinks, only to see the phone released with an insanely expensive price tag, just a month before Moto released the Droid RAZR. Absurd. And it didn’t help that it launched with a litany of bugs that took almost four months to correct.
That being said, what I hope is this.
Verizon decides that it has a heart and makes getting Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out to these devices a priority. If Android 4.0 arrives for the Droid RAZR before the Droid Bionic, I am going to be livid.
I understand that the ThunderBolt will take some time but I think even some communication about how the companies are working on the update would do.
The carrier and manufacturers owe it to those that bought into these phones and were greeted with bugs, horrible software, terrible battery life, release dates that came right before the launches of better phones, and so on.
3) A Mind-Blowing Windows Phone
Windows Phone has me excited. I was using a Samsung Focus S the other day and let me tell you, Windows Phone Mango is a fantastic operating system and I think it’s pretty much solidified itself as the third horse in the race amongst iOS and Android. Thing is, the phones that are out right now lack things that I want.
A dual-core processor.
An HD screen.
Nokia is rumored to be releasing a 4G LTE-enabled Windows Phone on AT&T next year and it might just have the recipe I’m looking for. I’d also love to see a 4G LTE, dual-core Samsung device in the mix at some point next year.
I realize the limitations that Microsoft has put on the hardware but I think at some point, the beast has to be let out of the cage.
So why not let it out in 2012?
4) 4G LTE Nexus on Multiple Carriers
In my opinion, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Verizon is the best Android phone ever made. But that doesn’t change the fact that Verizon completely bungled the release of the device. From start to finish, we had about 12 different release dates and little to no communication from Verizon. It was frustrating.
What’s also frustrating is that the phone is only out on Verizon. So that means that I had no choice but to sign up for a tiered data plan on Verizon knowing full well I was going to be paying a fortune while being dragged into a battery life nightmare.
Hopefully, Google takes Apple’s approach with the iPhone 4S and decides to offer the Nexus on a couple of different 4G LTE networks. AT&T’s will be thriving by the end of 2012, Sprint will have its network in place and hey, maybe T-Mobile will have something going too, who knows.
I’d love to be able to weigh my options next time around.
5) Better Communication
Last but not least, this is a plea to carriers and manufacturers. I’ve written about this before but I am going to say it again, Please, please, please, try and work on being more communicative with your customers, especially those that have been loyal to your company for years.
Stop announcing phones without release dates.
Be more transparent about software updates. Asus and Sony Ericsson have adopted this policy and boy, is it refreshing.
When your 4G LTE network goes down for 16 hours, at least send out a tweet or an email or something. Don’t stay silent. That’s just terrible and it’s a slap in the face to your customer base.
I realize there are times when things need to be kept hush hush for the sake of business and competition and I also realize that these are large companies with tons of employees and tons of customers.
But I know that communication in the mobile industry can improve on 2011. And who knows?
Maybe you’ll sell an extra phone or two in the process.
So there are my five things I hope to see happen in 2012. No, I don’t care about quad-core phones. And I could care less about an LTE iPad 3. My iPad never leaves the house. That’s what my phone is for. But maybe you disagree so I’d love to hear from you.
What would you like to see happen in 2012?