So, here are my mobile predictions for 2013. Although I work for Telefonica, this blog is personal and my day job doesn’t involve any of the products or services listed here.
I’ve deliberately left of the boring predictions. Yes, Android will get bigger. No, iPhone won’t release a budget model, etc.
I want this to succeed. But I don’t see it. I had a play with a demo device a few months ago. It was… adequate. I know it’s hard to extrapolate from a prototype, but they’ve been working on this for so long and it’s still slow, clunky, ugly, and – worst of all – unoriginal.
BBM is the sole reason why anyone would choose to have a BlackBerry. BB10 adds nothing new to the table.
They’re a zombie company now. Whether they’ll be absorbed by Microsoft (unlikely) or the board just sells them for scrap (likely) by the end of 2013 Nokia as we know it will cease to be.
Windows Phone 7… er… 8
Microsoft need to launch “The Xbox Phone”. No one likes Windows. It’s one of those things that you just have to have and you put up with it. People choose to buy an Xbox – take the gaming parts of WP8 and make the phone that Xbox games can’t live without.
In a similar vein, make a “Microsoft Office” phone. All those weirdos who love SharePoint, PowerPoint, and ExcelPoint will want a phone which works seamlessly for their business needs. It would be the final blow that RIM needs to put it out of its misery.
Operators are currently building their 4G networks. The back-end kit is in place, the antennas are pointing in the right direction, and the price plans are being finalised. The only thing people are waiting for is to find out which frequencies they can use.
Once the bids are won, the networks will light up fairly quickly with massive population coverage. We won’t see a repeat of the 3G débâcle – roll out will be swift, download speeds will be roughly in line with expectations, and there will be a decent range of phones.
Pricing, however, will be astronomical.
I’ve talked about these ruinous battles before – they’re only going to get worse. We’ve escalated from a cold war to a blazing nuclear inferno. My guess is that one of the minor players – perhaps HTC, LG, Sagem – will be utterly obliterated. They will be bankrupted by this patent folly.
Death of the High Street
The only reason to go into a town centre is to buy stuff that you absolutely need today – food and drink for example – or goods which need to be handled – clothes and shoes. I suspect that by the end of 2013 at least one phone operator will withdraw from the high street. Shop rent and staff costs must be crippling – with the corresponding drop in footfall why wouldn’t you just move your entire business online?
So, what are your predictions for 2012.