As usual, here are my predictions for what will happen in 2012. Last year I played it pretty safe and was right on almost all of my predictions. Check it out here and see how I did for yourself.
Computers and Mobile
1. The market will finally start to have tablet fatigue and the clear winners will be Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle, and Microsoft tablets. Android will still do well but no single company (besides Amazon) will be able to market and push a tablet like the tech giants. And cheap tablets will, in the end, have more market share than expensive ones. Which is also why Apple will probably come out with a cheaper tablet ($350-$400) to compete.
2. Ultrabooks are going to be everywhere this year. They will try to compete with tablets and the MacBook Air but will only gain traction when they drop to $500 or less. A lot of users won’t even care though because they can do most of their work on a $250 tablet.
3. Google will merge Android and Chrome OS in an attempt to compete with what Microsoft comes out with in Windows 8. It will work similarly to how Motorola’s splashtop works now, but accessories will be more universal and the lapdock OS will work better.
4. Apple’s iPhone 5 will set new records for sales, Android will remain in the lead (because of the volume of devices), Windows Phone 7 will eat away at iPhone market because of Windows users who are fed up with Apple’s ecosystem, and RIM/webOS/etc. will all be forgotten by the main stream.
5. Google will also come out with a dumb phone version of Android for developing countries, and non-smartphones. These phones will typically not have touch screens but will be able to run some Android apps.
Software and Web
1. Windows 8 will have versatile tablets and will serve multiple purposes as tablets/notebooks/desktops. Businesses will buy them by the boatload in an attempt to allow users to stay mobile and save some money. The tablets won’t be as functional as notebooks but will be the cool thing for at least another year. In order to use all of Windows 8’s cloud featuers you will have to start using Microsoft’s server backend which will sway even more users towards Apple computers. Consumers won’t really care about this functionality and there will be a small market for accessories and docks because the interfaces will not be universal like they will be for Android/Chrome OS.
2. Desktop applications will take a hit in sales as more users realize they can do what they need with web apps. Google Docs and Office Live will start to gain steam with the general public, but I think another app entirely will become the winner. Probably something that integrates with Facebook. This will also help propel Google even further with Chrome OS.
3. Streaming music will hit main stream and people will finally stop buying CDs. Spotify will probably be the winner because of it’s Facebook integration. We will also see other companies start their own music streaming services (Verizon, Comcast, etc.) and they will all be terrible.
4. Streaming video will still struggle throughout the year because content providers will not lower the prices for digital downloads and streaming. Netflix will have some major competition this year and will continue to lose market as other competition gets more content, and has cheaper prices.
5. Social network exhaustion will set in for many as options will continue to expand. By the end of 2012 Facebook will still be the clear winner in social but many users will just be worn out on trying to keep up with all of their online friends.
6. Voice control is going to have a huge push because of devices that don’t have keyboards. Siri will lead the way thanks to hacks, but Microsoft and Google will both have answers in 2012. Neither will be as consistant on devices because they cannot control the entire ecosystem. Google and Microsoft will try to be more open with their voice control and will start to persuade users off of Siri, but Apple will allow 3rd party plugins and accessories which will keep a lot of the voice control usefulness on their side.
1. Mobile gaming will die. The Vita and DS are doomed due to the fact that the consoles and games cost so much. People will keep using their phones, music players, and tablets as casual gaming consoles and won’t even bother to buy the more expensive consoles. Micro payments will be huge in 2012.
2. Nintendo will struggle to find a new market. Their Wii U will be mostly unsuccessful in the US because of its expensive accessories and the fact that there will be so much other competition in the casual gaming space with cheaper and more versatile devices.
3. Sony won’t have a clue what to do with the PS3 and how to integrate their services together in a fashion that is useful for people. This will cause more people to either move to the Xbox 360 or other casual gaming devices.
4. Microsoft will announce (Q2) and come out with a new console (Q4) which will finally have diskless games. Everything will be purchased and streamed from
Xbox Live “the cloud” with an optional Blu-ray attachment to keep prices down.
1. 3D TVs will still be pushed in retail but won’t have any compelling content. More TV manufacturers will begin to look for alternative content uses for 3D such as video gaming dual view and some things never seen before
2. Google TV and Apple TV will become casual video game consoles. Since Google and Apple don’t have any unique content, they will try to branch out into video games and apps. Apple will integrate their Apple TV with their iDevices, but Google will be too fragmented to do the same. Instead they will rely on accessories and controllers you buy in addition to the new Google TVs. Google will continue to allow manufacturers to embed Google TV software into their TVs and Apple will continue to keep things in house and come out with a better user experience. Apple will begin to build Apple TV functionality into their iMacs and displays and will make larger (32″-42″) displays that will function as TVs for some.
Let me know if you think I’m right, wrong, or crazy in the comments.