Plenty of people like to make market predictions when the end of the year approaches, but few like to evaluate how their predictions are doing. I figured it would be fun to do a little review of the 10 mobile predictions I made for 2013 to see how they’re faring, and what my prognosis is for the rest of the year.
- BlackBerry releases BB10, will anyone care?
My 2013 prediction: RIM will spend a lot of time, effort and money trying to make BB10 relevant only to be forced to either sell the company or figure out how to migrate key BlackBerry features to Android.
Mid-year prognosis: It remains to be seen if BlackBerry will end up being sold, but the reception to BB10 has been luke warm at best. In fact, BlackBerry’s recent quarterly announcement certainly seemed to indicate that things are not all that rosy in Waterloo these days.
- Microsoft attempts to buy their way to market share
My 2013 prediction: Despite spending a sum of money equivalent to the GDP of a sizable industrialized country, Microsoft will remain at less than 5% market share and enter crisis mode as their core product revenues begin to erode under competitive pressures from Google and Apple.
Mid-year prognosis: Microsoft might crest 5% market share by the end of 2012, but it won’t be by much. However, I like the strategy Microsoft is taking with regards to mobile, especially if they continue to copy Google’s mobile approach of aggressively pushing their software, like Office 365, to other mobile platforms.
- Can Apple keep up with Android
My 2013 prediction: Apple’s desire to control the entire ecosystem will cause Apple’s market share to stagnate, effectively repeating what happened during the original Mac era. In fact, Android’s lead will grow as it is morphed and integrated into everything from appliances to automobiles throughout 2013.
Mid-year prognosis: Apple is starting to see stagnation in their market share, so I stand by my beginning of the year prediction. I’m sure they’ll see a little bounce when the next iPhone models are released, but their closed approach is going to come to haunt them sooner rather than later.
- Can Nokia keep it together
My 2013 prediction: Look for Nokia to be taken over by one of the major OEMs, or sold off in pieces. There just isn’t enough time left for Nokia to pull out of its nosedive before it completely craters.
Mid-year prognosis: Nokia hasn’t cratered, yet. There’s only so much duct tape and bailing wire can hold together. I’ll maintain that Nokia is a takeover target, although it may not happen until 2014.
- The rise of Huawei
My 2013 prediction: Huawei leverages its success at the lower end of the market in developing countries and begins an assault on markets in the US and Europe with both their entry level smartphone and surprisingly affordable high-end models that not only rival but threaten Samsung and Apple’s dominance.
Mid-year prognosis: Huawei is finding it tough sledding in the US with its latest handsets. From my experience, Huawei is tenacious and persistent, so don’t expect them to give up. If they go down, it won’t happen without a fight. Like my Nokia prediction, I may be a bit premature projecting their emergence, but don’t count them out.
- Amazon extends their mobile footprint
My 2013 prediction: Amazon first attempts at a phone will fail, and possibly quite spectacularly, since a phone needs more than just good content to win users over. However, Amazon does not enter markets without a long-term plan, so expect a version 2 of their mobile phone in 2014 that will change their fortunes.
Mid-year prognosis: During the latter part of 2012, an Amazon phone seemed all but a certainty, so I thought I was on solid ground with this prediction. It’ll be interesting to see what Amazon does as the holiday season approaches. Either way, I still predict that their first effort will not be a huge success, so if they’re even considering a phone launch, the sooner the better.
- Can phablets jump the shark
My 2013 prediction: Phablets will be niche devices. Based on the usage habits of those around me, the 3.5 to 4.5? screen size will remain the bulk of the market as it allows for the greatest portability, which is what a mobile phone is all about.
Mid-year prognosis: I still contend that phablets are niche devices. For what it’s worth, this one had to be my safest prediction of the year.
- Prepaid takes on contract mobile phone service
My 2013 prediction: Prepaid, month-to-month service gains momentum as T-mobile looks to differentiate themselves and leads a charge to push people away from the subsidized model. I, for one, used to be a doubter but have been converted. I plan to switch my service to prepaid in 2013 when my current contract expires.
Mid-year prognosis: Well, T-mobile stepped out and moved to a “no-contract” model. While it’s not true no-contract, it’s close enough, and I’ve embraced it. I’m no longer on contract, buy my own phones, and am free to move to any carrier of my choosing. It’s a liberating feeling, and one I suggest everyone should experience.
- Mobile web applications pull even with native applications
My 2013 prediction: There are too many smart people focused on making HTML5 applications just as good, if not better, than native apps. Sure, native apps such as games and Instagram clones will have their place, but the majority of mobile development will begin transitioning away from native to the web. So while Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook may think HTML5 isn’t ready, there are others out there who would argue otherwise.
Mid-year prognosis: OK, so I may have a been bit early here, too. I still contend that it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when” it will happen. It may not be this year, but it will happen, and efforts like those of Mozilla with their Firefox mobile OS and Ubuntu Linux OS for mobile phones only serve to advance the cause.
- The rise of adaptive design
My 2013 prediction: Look for more and more websites to provide alternative experiences based on more than just screen size in 2013. Websites will also take into account things like location and user behavior to quickly serve context-appropriate content.
Mid-year prognosis: The uptake of adaptive design has been a little slow, but I’m going to stand by my prediction. As the adoption of HTML5 increases, I still believe that we’ll see some very creative mobile web designs that move beyond responsive in the coming months and years.
My last prediction was an incentive for us to maintain a regular blog presence. We’ve done a much better job this year than in year’s past, and I’m hoping that we can maintain our blogging momentum for the remainder of this year and into 2014.