Mobile Tech Report 2016

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Mobile Tech Report 2016

Mobile Tech Report 2016 is now available for your Amazon Kindle.  Touch or click the following button: link


With 2015 fast winding to a close, it’s a good time to look ahead, so here goes.


(1) Expect a GAMA Drone announcement.

By GAMA I mean Google-Apple-Microsoft-Amazon, the current Fab Four of tech.  One of these four will announce a drone for the masses.  Drones are becoming a huge phenomenon and 2016 will be the year of the drone.  Drones are so big that the FAA just put out Drone Registration Rules where you will have to register the drone you buy.  Over 700,000 drones are expected to be sold this holiday season.


(2) 4K HD Blu Ray disc players on store shelves

Look for 4K Blu Ray discs and players that will upscale regular Blu Ray discs to 4K and even downscale 4K Blu Ray discs to play on regular HDTV (but who cares about that?).


(3) Google Cardboard is the new Glass

This idea will work.  It’s cheap and will power 3D movies for all.  Glass was torpedoed by privacy concerns since everyone thought that pair of glasses was secretly video recording you and could have been.  Cardboard is a curiosity now, but will be big by the end of 2016 and measure that by the amount of content produced for it.


(4) Danger Meters rise

Police now routinely mine crime data to figure out where to go after the bad guys and where to best deploy their cops.  Why can’t consumers do the same to avoid crime-ridden areas?  A Danger Meter is just an extension of analyzing traffic cams for traffic jams.  Bomb threat?  Possible terrorist at large?  Soon there will be an app for that to warn you.


(5) Personal Curation Tools

Google Photos is showing the way here with their story-making tool for your photos.  With current digital cameras and smartphone cameras encouraging us to be snap happy and generate tons of photos, we need some way to organize them and Google Stories are a great first step.  We need that curation for other aspects of our digital lives, whether it’s finances, spreadsheets, word processor documents, you name it.  Curating your data and feeding it back to you with some high level analysis will be big in 2016.


(6) Video Game daycare

At a local indoor mall where a store should have been was instead a series of lounge chairs, each with a big screen TV and an X-box.  You rented the chair and video game from a counter inside.  The clerk at the counter told me many shoppers dropped off their kids to play games while the parents shopped the mall.  I see this evolving into a full-blown daycare service.


(7) Wearable cameras go mainstream

You could always wear a GoPro with some hideous attachment, then Narrative came up with a simple clip-on camera.  This is the direction for a personal body cam.  Yes police will get them, but look for baseball caps with cameras to appear in stores.


(8) Amazon Echo teaches you a foreign language

It’s in your home.  You talk to it.  It talks to you.  Soon you will be learning a foreign language from it.  Bonjour!


(9) Big data converts low-fi bootlegs to pristine studio sound

All music is either live (as in live performed) or dead (as in no one will pay anything for it).  The iPod became the iPhone which became Pandora.  Since all songs are in the cloud, except what you bootlegged at a concert, you need something to turn your bootlegs into studio version tracks.  Shazam is a music recognition app that can match your bootleg to the cloud, but requires you to PLAY YOUR BOOTLEG to recognize the audio.  With the massive amount of data we now carry in our lives, this process has to be streamlined.  Look for a music service where you upload your bootlegs to the cloud, music tracks are recognized in the background and then you are offered the chance to buy the studio versions of your bootlegs or subscribe to a channel which is the studio versions of your bootlegs.  You could think of this like a Dalek, sterilizing your live version into a clean version.  This will be a way to sell music that you’ve heard back to you.


(10) Forget identity theft, the future is identity erasure

What about the right to be forgotten in Europe?  How far can that go?  Once things are in the Internet, are they forever in some data center’s memory?  The answer is basically yes, but I expect a service designed to clean as much up about you as possible.  Remove all traces of you on social networks (delete posts before removing account), shopping sites, email sites, cloud storage/backups, etc.  The flip of this service is a private investigation tool to pull all that data without deleting it.


So there are 10 predictions for 2016.  I see 2016 as the Year of the Drone and expect to see Drones buzzing everywhere taking our selfies for us (making them “dronies”).

Look for mobile technology to keep on improving and check back at for an insight or two.  Follow @pdxmobile on Twitter to figure out the tech news as it happens too.


Amazon SlavesThe New York Times is a competitor to the Washington Post and recently the Post was purchased by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.  So while whatever the Times has to say about the Post needs to be taken with a grain of salt, there was a shocking new story about Amazon having a “Darwinian” style culture.

The New York Times was shocked, shocked that high tech companies have aggressive in-your-face management-styles, work around-the-clock policies, no work-life balance, punishment for leaving early or taking family leave and culling of underperforming employees (who might simply not buy into a slave-like lifestyle).

In fact this is the typical culture of a startup or any other youth-oriented company where loyalty to the company is valued above all and measured by how much time you spend on its premises.

Large companies usually want experience and hire from startup ranks, so it’s easy to burn out in a small company, but get experience and then get hired by a larger firm.  You then expect the larger firm to behave in a more civilized, meaning less demanding, manner, but not at Amazon.  It seems larger companies are trying to infuse the startup culture — not the expression of new ideas, those MUST COME from management, but rather the work long hours without complaint ideology.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos denied that his company is such a demanding taskmaster saying that the Times has depicted Amazon as:

“…a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard.”

However the Times is sticking by its story and for those of us who have worked in the high tech industry it rings very true.

I love to order stuff off Amazon.  I always trust I’m getting a good price on whatever I order.  Would prices go up if Amazon treated its employees better?  I don’t frankly know.  I do know if Amazon’s prices were higher, I’d do more comparison shopping.  I already do check Costco’s prices on newly-released DVDs (and Target’s as well).  On other items I give Amazon the benefit of the doubt given the track record of good low prices I’ve found from them.

Still if they are a sweatshop where only Jeff Bezos is laughing, then it’s time for me to start buying elsewhere.

In this age where worker’s rights are being attacked everywhere, where unions have been pretty much destroyed and where Republican party candidates openly brag about confronting and weakening public employee unions, perhaps all I can do is shop elsewhere.  I don’t want to support a toxic atmosphere of intimidation and pain by my uninformed purchases.  This is the attitude we all have to have if high tech culture is going to change.


Sony debuts a new $1200 Walkman: Walkman NW-ZX2 with audiophile quality sound.

Dell is also making a 4K resolution laptop with 3840×2160 screen pixels.

About one quarter of Intel’s workforce is female and 16% of managers are women.

Blacks and hispanics are 12% of Intel’s workforce and just 4% of executives & senior managers.

Facebook’s WhatsApp reaches 700 million active users.

Active users: Facebook 1.3 billion, WhatsApp 700 million, Instagram 300 million, Twitter 284 million.

2014 shopping apps grow 174% in use over 2013.

App use grows 76% in 2014 over 2013.

More signs that you will be ditching your HDTV for a new Ultra HD TV.

Kodak announces Android smartphone: the IM5 with 5 inch screen, 13 megapixel camera, Android OS 4.4 KitKat.

For you new Kodak smartphone you’ll want to do a butt selfie also called a “belfie”.

Intel says 600 million PCs worldwide haven’t been upgraded in last 4 years.

Microsoft officially stops supporting Windows 7.

Google to stop selling Google Glass on Monday, Jan 19, 2015.

Chinese smartphone makers capture 40% global marketshare in 2014.

Chinese smartphone makers ship 453 million units in 2014.

Six Chinese smartphone makers now in global top ten: Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, CoolPad, TCL.

World smartphone market grew 26% in 2014 year-over-year with 1.2 billion units shipped. 10% growth forecast for 2015.

2015-Q1 Apple sells 74.5 million iPhones.

2015-Q1 iPhone revenue for Apple greater than Microsoft & Google 2015-Q1 revenue COMBINED.

Global smartphone average selling price (ASP) drops from $440 in 2010 to $275 forecast in 2015.

Cheapest new iPhone costs $649.

Apple sells its BILLIONTH iOS device (iPhone & iPad).

34,000 iPhones sold every hour.



Reddit tightens up policy on nude photos.

Google buys the “.APP” domain in entirety for $25 million.

Android and iOS own 96% global smartphone marketshare.

Android is 82% of that 96% global smartphone marketshare number.



Gartner projects almost TWO BILLION smartphones to be sold this year.

NXP Semiconductor buys Freescale Semiconductor.

Google to phase out Google+.

Macbook with USB-C introduced.



Microsoft is 40 years old.

Facebook buy Oculus VR for $2 billion.

Moore’s “observation” is 50 years old.

Google launches “Project Fi,” an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).

73% of Facebook ad revenue comes from mobile.

Facebook has 1.44 BILLION monthly users.

Instagram has 300 million users.

Gartner reports PC shipments down 5% in 2015-Q1 year-over-year.

Apple in 2015-Q2 sold 61 million iPhones up from 44 million in 2014-Q2.

iPad sales continue to decline from 16 million in 2014-Q2 to 13 million in 2015-Q2.

Revenue from China is now 29% of Apple’s total.

What has been going on in the mobile technology industry?  What happened in 2014 and what will happen in 2015?  You can read it all now on  your Amazon Kindle here.

Hey the year is almost over.  What happened???

Well in case you were deep into a trance or a funk, here’s what I saw as the year flew by.



Smartphone market flattens with 2013 shipments up only 5% over 2012.  1.9 billion smartphones shipped in 2013.

Yahoo Tech news portal debuts with former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue and former Washington Post tech columnist Rob Pegoraro.

Google buys smart thermostat-maker Nest for $3.2 billion.

In-app purchase by kids becomes an issue and FTC orders Apple to pay $32.5 million in refunds. 

Net Neutrality rises as a major tech issue.

Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for just under $3 billion.



Microsoft names insider Satya Nadella as its new CEO.

Yahoo provides search results using Yelp data (and later powers Firefox search).

Nokia launches an Android phone. 

Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion. 



Smuggling by drones of drugs into prisons in Quebec, Canada.

GitHub harassment of a female employee.

Press starts to write very skeptical articles about Google Glass.

Facebook buys virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR for $2 billion.



Gmail turns 10 years old. 

Amazon Fire TV launches.

Brendan Eich has to resign as CEO of Mozilla because of a 2008 contribution to California Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage. put code in their browsers to detect Firefox code and divert Firefox surfers to a page asking them to use a different browser.

Samsung Galaxy S5 launches.

Denigration of Facebook starts, is it still relevant even though its WILDLY popular?

Nike exits wearable health monitors, dropping its Fuelband.

Microsoft becomes the second largest maker of mobile devices (by units) with 14% marketshare courtesy of Nokia buy-out.

Microsoft CEO Nadella says it’s a “mobile-first, cloud-first world”.



Bitcoin continues to roil the government (and especially the IRS) which considered them a terrorist threat due to the anonymity built into it.

Foursquare splits into Foursquare and Swarm — to spin off location check-in feature.

Net Neutrality rises with Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft and Netflix for it.  Cable ISPs naturally against it.

Europe continues to harass American tech companies, this time it’s Google and the “right to be forgotten”.

NYTimes starts crusade against Amazon as Amazon tries to negotiate lower e-book prices with publisher Hachette.

Iran bans 4 social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp.  Last 3 are owned by Facebook & Mark Zuckerberg which shows he knows what he’s doing.



Google continues to plow money into building out fiber optic networks for cities, selecting Portland, Oregon as a new place to connect. 

Google launches fitness service called Google Fit.

Facebook launches Snapchat rival called Slingshot.

Amazon launches Fire smartphone with AT&T.  The Fire smartphone has a 4.7 inch screen, 13 megapixel camera, 3D display and is $649 to $749 without contract. 

Blackberry licenses the Amazon App Store. 

Drones with cameras used for drone selfies, termed a “dronie”.

Microsoft launches 2nd Android phone: the Nokia X2. 

Amazon promotes Kindle tablets with 31 free apps which are normally paid and total over $100.



Intel will ship 40 million tablet processors in 2014. 

According to the Hinge dating app, Amazon employees are hotter than employees from other tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook.

Microsoft drops its entire Android phone line.

Yahoo buys analytics company Flurry.

Microsoft lays off 14% of its workforce: 18,000 workers, mostly former Nokians in the mobile phone division acquisition. 



Tablet market flattens.

Former Internet darling Cisco cuts 8% of its 75,000 workforce (6,000 workers let go). 

Android reaches 84% global smartphone marketshare.

Instagram adds “Hyperlapse” which post-processes videos to make them steadier (a standard camcorder feature). 



Samsung Galaxy Note phablet with 5.7 inch screen debuts.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S with beautiful AMOLED display available.

“Linkrot” is a new word and means your links will no longer work because the service they point to closed down.  In this case it’s TwitPic that closes down. 

iPhone 6 launched with 4.7 inch screen. 

iPhone 6 Plus phablet launched with 5.5 inch screen.

Apple iWatch officially announced for $349.

Apple Pay announced for NFC mobile payments. 

Microsoft buys Minecraft creator for $2.5 billion.

Blackberry launches Passport smartphone which is square and the size of a real paper passport.



Google Express launches in Boston for $95/year. Local products delivered the same day.

55% of US teens using voice search.

iPad sales decline 9% in 2014-Q2 vs. 2013-Q2.

Android OS 5.0 = Lollipop is announced with 5,000 new APIs.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says women shouldn’t ask for raises.  He later apologizes.

The iPhone is 70% of Apple’s revenue and profit.

Apple Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite upgrade available.

Amazon Fire smartphone declared not a hit.

Montreal woman “shocked” to see part of her breast exposed on Google Maps street view.

Google Nexus 6 smartphone pre-orders available. 

Google Nexus 9 tablet with keyboard pre-orders available.



Twitter has 500 million posts per day.

Microsoft open sources .NET platform.

Amazon and Hachette resolve e-book pricing dispute.

8,400 payphones in New York City to become WiFI hotspots for FREE WiFi. 

WhatsApp adds end-to-end encryption for all Android users, a HALF-BILLION of them. 

Old Nokia, not owned by Microsoft, announces an Android tablet with 7.9 inch screen size, manufactured in China, aluminum case, OS 5.0 Lollipop, Intel x86 CPU for $250.

Third party ride service Uber executive says Uber will investigate reporter’s private lives, then apologizes for it. 

Twitter indexes ALL of its tweets back to 2006 and makes them searchable.

Apple releases WatchKit development kit in advance of iWatch release. 

OKCupid expands its gender options to include gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, questioning, demisexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible and sapiosexual.

Europe orders Google to “forget” searches and rewrite search history.

Google Maps 9.1 available with features aimed at travel and seeing information about your destination.

Samsung Galaxy S5 has sold 12 million units, but management had hoped for 16 million unit sales. 



2014-Q3 more Chromebooks ship to schools than iPads.

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble part ways on Nook partnership.

3D Babies will print out your unborn baby from an ultrasound to a 3-D printer for $600 to give you a fetus sculpture.

Third party ride service Uber raises $1.2 billion in venture financing, valuing the company at $40 billion.


I’m at it again.  Some of these are problems that need to be solved, so I’m offering up solutions.  Here’s what my crystal ball reveals for 2015.

(1) Text messaging bubble pops with Facebook as winner.

Facebook Messenger has 500 million users.  Whatsapp, which Facebook bought for $19 billion, also has 500 million users.  Can you say one billion?  It’s over.  Facebook has won and is the de facto text messaging service worldwide.  Carriers are disintermediated on a lucrative part of their business.

Another loser, aside from the carriers, is Snapchat.  Snapchat turned down buyout offers from both Facebook and Google for $4 billion near the end of 2013.  On its own now and with only 100 million users can Snapchat survive with Facebook as a competitor?  I think Snapchat will survive, but not thrive as it introduces ads to its users — users who can easily switch to Messenger or Whatsapp.  Of course Facebook with throw ads in too, but management will tread lightly as not to lose users.  That means fewer ads, less revenue and a harder path to an IPO for Snapchat (see my anti-predictions).

With big boy Facebook cornering the messaging market, don’t expect a thousand messaging apps to bloom, just like there’s not real Facebook social network imitators springing up either (sorry Ello).  The wave of text messaging apps is over and Facebook has won.

(2) 3D printers appear in kitchen to bake and make food.

You can buy a 3D printer in a Frye’s Electronics, but that is a store catering to nerds.  Most consumers will see 3D printers arrive in their kitchen to cook up new and cute concoctions.  Look for Japan, inventor of the bread machine, to bring out 3D food printing.

(3) Intel gets a smartphone win in the United States.

Forget the Asus Padfone.  That was a hybrid device (phone and tablet) with a tiny Asian audience.  Intel has been plowing big bucks into shoehorning x86 architecture into a lower power footprint.  Their Atom chip is now good enough to compete with ARM on power usage and computational horsepower (that was never in doubt).  So the technical achievement is there, what Intel now needs is a marketing breakthrough to get a top tier phonemaker (Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony, somebody!) to come out with an Android with Atom brains.  That alone will ensure entry into the US market and I see Intel picking up that win by manufacturers desperate to differentiate themselves and their Android clone phones.

(4) Portable smartphone printers popup.

As more and more of our workflow has devolved down to smartphones and perhaps tablets, why isn’t there a better way to print?  I need something small and portable that can use some simple ink jets to spray out my quick notes, drawing or itemized receipt.  Thermal printers with eco-hostile paper aren’t the way to go.  Give me if not a pocketable printer, one I can slide into a tablet-sized Timbuk2 case.  We need this, especially as much of the work force is doing their jobs in coffee shops now.

(5) Time lapse image recognition is the next big thing.

Cameras, cameras everywhere and no meaning in sight.  With ubiquitous cameras we need a way to understand what they’re seeing.  Cameras capture so much data the only way to understand it is to compress it.  Compress the time for the images and voila you have time lapse videos.  Those videos needs to be mined to determine peak traffic times (and how much traffic at those times), duration of ambient lighting, average length of stay and so on.  We’re collecting so much data, we need Big Analysis to go with this Big Data.  Expect software startups that can parse and process for profit.

(6) Personal cloud and commercial cloud synchronization happens.

Many of us with cable or fiber optic modems have them hooked up to wireless routers so we can plunk on our laptop in the front room via a WiFi connection.  Many of us also have hooked up disk drives to those wireless routers to give us a “personal cloud”, a datastore that is accessible by any computer connecting to our wireless network.

Often those personal cloud disk drives are backing up what’s on your laptop(s).  What happens if that personal cloud drive dies?  You lose your backups.  That’s a good case to synchronize your personal cloud with the real cloud where you can save your data in case your house burns down.  Of course on the road you are also updating to and from the commercial cloud and you’d like to have that reflected on your personal cloud as well.  There is a need for greater synchronization services between your personal cloud, which can serve as a kind of persistent cache, and the commercial cloud which can be your off-site backup.  I expect to see activity in cloud-to-cloud synchronization services in 2015.

(7) Cloud players own the data center, non-players don’t and one cloud evaporates.

All the cloud players have their own data centers, in fact you’re nobody if you don’t have a data center.  It just means you’re using someone else’s data center.

So the question is whether there will be any mergers between cloud players?  Another way to put it is whether any data centers will combine?

The list of the big cloud players I see: Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM.

One of these cloud players will go away in 2015 although they won’t admit it.  The method of their vanishing will be to lose their data center and migrate to SOMEONE ELSE’S cloud.

(8) Amazon Echo defines a new must-have product.

The Amazon Echo now in beta resembles a cylindrical bluetooth speaker.  It has a speaker and a microphone as well.  You’ll talk to it in the same way you speak with Siri on Apple, Google search on Google and Cortana on Windows Phone.

Look for the Amazon Echo to be your own Star Trek computer for your home and Google to make its own version.  Microsoft, then Apple will follow Amazon’s lead here.  Not only will you get answers to questions, but the future of the Echo is to unify the functionality of your home entertainment systems.  With a device in your home you talk to, soon you will just tell it to change the channel, bring up the movie you want on your TV or play the latest album by name-your-rock-group.  A voice-activated interface is natural for home entertainment and the Echo will point the way in that direction, but in 2015 it will simply show it is a must-have tech product for your home.

(9) Smartphone with interchangeable camera lenses from major player.

By major I mean Apple, Samsung or Microsoft (from the division formerly known as Nokia).  Is it a pocket camera?  Is it a phone?  It’s both, but with better glass.  Yes the Lumia 1020 has a high pixel count sensor and better optics, but it’s really just an opening shot in making a smartphone with an outstanding camera.  I see more enthusiast photography features coming to smartphones and that requires better optics, not just better sensors.

The Sony DSC-QX100 which is just a lens+sensor+WiFi and is controlled by an app on your phone is one attempt in this area, but I think it’s just a bit too odd for consumers.  A lens that’s not physically connected to your phone, but your phone controls it?  Very interesting product, but I think consumers will demand the high quality lens physically connected to the phone.

(10) A social network for sensors is born.

For some time users have hooked up an Arduino device to some sensor and have it tweet every so often on Twitter.  I know someone who has a thermometer in his freezer hooked up to an Arduino and it tweets the freezer temperature every minute.

Why you might want this, or not want this, varies from person-to-person.  What this indicates though is a need to monitor sensors and I don’t sense it quite fits into traditional social networks.  With the Internet-of-Things coming we will all soon be collecting massive amounts of data and there needs to be a place to monitor it in a log like fashion, like a Twitter feed, but also compress it and analyze it, kind of like a big data problem.

I see new social networks for just sensors, no humans please, arising to fill this niche.  Your device will have a profile, but no hobbies.

(11) A major cloud outage disrupts tens of millions of Americans.

InfoWorld has compiled a good list of major cloud outages here.

In 2014 Dropbox went down for two days, Gmail & Google went down for 30 to 60 minutes in January and three hours in March, Basecamp for two hours, Adobe for a day, Evernote for 10 hours, iCloud for hours, Microsoft Exchange for nine hours, among the outages.

It’s not quite bad enough for us to notice much yet, but if you were a web developer using Adobe InDesign in the cloud you lost a day on a project.  We’re all used to email outages, but as more and more of the tools we use migrate to the cloud, we’re going to be suffering increased burdens, or productivity losses, from the cloud going down.

I am not quite predicting the apocalypse, but an outage of a day or two of one of the most popular services, enough to make evening news headlines, will happen in 2015.

(12) Unfriend-ing leads to smaller personal social networks.

There is a concept called Dunbar’s Number which pertains to the maximum size of social relationships an individual can manage.  Of course most of us operate well below Dunbar’s Number and maintain social relationships at a number we find comfortable.

What about online?

According to a Pew Research poll the average Facebook adult user has 200 friends.  That’s too many friends, more than the normal Dunbar Number of 150 stable social relationships.

Where there is instability there will be unfriending.

I predict that the average Facebook user number of friends will decline.  Given that an average user is starting with 200 the only way that number can decline is if (a) a friend leaves Facebook or (b) a user unfriends someone.  I see (b) and a lot of it.  I see users having experimented trying out the social network, reaching at every recognized name, pulling back to a more common and familiar group.  Twitter has a model of looser association and may be immune to this new trend for awhile, but I predict Twitter too will start to see users cull who they’re following.

This will mark a retrenchment trend for social networks.  Unfriending means users are actually seeking more relevant content, especially important in an ad-polluted stream of status updates.  2015 will mark the year this starts and be the year of the unfriend.

So there you have it, a dozen things to look for in 2015.  I think 2015 marks a year where innovation blooms, kind of a pivot to new things after having milked what technology brought us before.  I see 2015 as a fresh start to begin to grow new things for tech.
Happy new year!

What is an anti-prediction? It’s something that won’t happen and here are 9 things that won’t happen in 2015.

(1) No Yahoo spending spree (Yahoo hoards its cash).

Fresh from gaining over $9 billion from selling its Alibaba stake in the Alibaba IPO, CEO Marissa Mayer promised to return $5 billion back to shareholders in the form of dividends or stock buybacks.  That still leaves more than $4 billion for Mayer to go on a shopping spree with.  She won’t.  Yes she’ll spend a few pennies, maybe some dimes, but no billion dollar acquisitions. 

(2) No delivery by drone.

Despite Amazon’s promise of drone delivery in our future, it won’t be here in 2015.

(3) No 5G replacement for LTE or WiFi.

4G is 100 megabits per second for your mobile device and 1 gigabit per second data transfer for your fixed device.  5G has to be faster than this.  WiFi can go 150 megabits per second and still falls into the 4G category.  Right now we’ve reached a plateau of bandwidth with no technology emerging in 2015 as a successor.

(4) No growth in smartphone screen size.

Six inches is enough.  We’ve been seeing screen size inflation where screens have trended to the six inch size.  The new iPhone 6 Plus boasts a 5.5 inch screen size, while the larger Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phablet has a 5.7 inch screen size.  We’ve finally reached the limit.  Screen sizes won’t grow.  Phablets are close to 6 inch screen sizes and smartphones to 5 inch screen sizes.  Both will finally stay at those sizes.

(5) No rise in e-book prices.

The Amazon-Hachette dispute pitted a publisher (Hachette) against an e-book maker and publisher (Amazon).  Amazon wants to keep e-book prices low so users will love their Kindle e-reader.  Hachette does not want to cannibalize expensive print book sales to cheap e-book sales.  I see Hachette raising prices of their e-books on the Kindle, but not other publishers.  Raising e-book prices will also reduce sales of said e-books, although Hachette’s goals is to prevent potential print buyers from buying a cheaper e-book instead.  Ultimately Hachette will fail in its quest for higher e-book prices and competitors will force e-book prices to remain roughly where they are.

(6) No Tizen adoption.

Tizen is an open source Linux-based operating system and software suite.  Intel has put a big effort into supporting Tizen.  Samsung used Tizen for its latest Galaxy Gear smartwatch.  Both Intel and Samsung, hardware manufacturers, would like to see open source software become popular as they chafe at having their hardware fate in the hands of Google and Android.  Too bad.  Tizen is just too far behind to catch up and there’s no incentive for developers to adopt it.  Android will continue to be the gateway for Intel, Samsung and other hardware manufacturers to consumers.

(7) No Snapchat IPO.

Late in 2013 both Facebook and Google offered up to $4 billion to buyout Snapchat.  Feeling their oats Snapchat turned both down.  Snapchat is said to have about 100 million users.  Turning down the big money from other big companies really only leaves Snapchat with one option: make an IPO of its own.  The problem for Snapchat is that the text messaging bubble is about to burst.  Facebook hasn’t quite cornered the text message market with about one billion users (500 million Facebook Messenger and 500 million Whatsapp users), but it has become the 800 pound gorilla of text messaging.

How can Snapchat generate revenue to paint a rosy picture to investors?  It has two choices: (1) charge users or (2) show users ads and sell the ads.  I don’t see Snapchat charging users and I’m sure users would jump to Facebook messaging if it did.  That leaves ads and Snapchat is starting to introduce ads.  Can a text messaging service make money off ads?  Yes and Facebook will, but Snapchat will be hard-pressed to demonstrate worth for a large IPO valuation off ad revenue in 2015.  Turning down $4 billion from Google sets the bar for what a Snapchat IPO has to achieve and there just won’t be nearly enough ad revenue to justify that size of an IPO.  $4 billion over 100 million users = $40 per user and Snapchat won’t generate $40 of revenue per user for quite some time.

In the end Snapchat may really regret turning down that $4 billion buyout offer from Google.

(8) No smartphone OS marketshare rearrangement.

Today it’s:  Android 84%, iOS 12%, Windows 3%.  This will stay the same plus or minus 5%.

(9) No Google Glass for the masses.

Google Glass fascinated tech audiences everywhere when it was introduced, but there was a backlash. Do we really want someone taking our photo, recording us on video or looking us up online while we’re chatting with them?  Bars began banning Glass.  Google has expanded who can buy Glass, but kept the price at a whopping $1500 despite a sub-$200 parts price list.  Clearly Glass could be an ubiquitous $300 tech toy for all of us, but one that would use a vast amount of cloud services.  Is that why Google isn’t pushing it?  Don’t know, but I do know we won’t see Glass or a capable imitation at an affordable price in 2015.

The press is also becoming skeptical of Google Glass.

So there you have nine things that won’t happen in 2015.

In October 2013 I made predictions for what would happen with mobile technology in 2014.   You can find them here.  How did they pan out you ask?  Let’s see.

(1) Blackberry spins off QNX.

Wrong.  QNX is a small cash cow and Blackberry is in the auto industry because of them.  Ford chose QNX and thus Blackberry over Microsoft for their in-car tech.  QNX powered the new and too late Blackberry OS 10.  QNX is an embedded operating system vendor and has good products for niche markets.  Blackberry needed their help to replace their archaic OS 7, but Blackberry’s subscribers peaked at 80 million in 2012 and has been in decline since.  Blackberry is inevitably headed towards divesting itself of making hardware and thus needing to build software operating systems.  That makes QNX irrelevant and expendable.  QNX will be sold to raise cash, but Blackberry still has $2.5 billion to burn through, so the need to sell QNX is not there yet.  The logic of spinning out QNX is clear, it just didn’t happen in 2014.

(2) Chinese tech firm buys wreckage of Blackberry.

Wrong.  Related to (1) I judged Blackberry’s cash position to be worse off than it has turned out to be.  Since Blackberry has a few bucks it’s not going to be sold off.  CEO John Chen will stay independent while he can.  Right now the strategy appears to be to use Blackberry’s device management capability, i.e. the ability of an IT department to configure your device on the fly, as a lever into businesses.

(3a) You’ll see an Android tablet at the supermarket checkout.

Right.  I did buy an Android tablet for my daughter off a Facebook ad for $59 and I have spotted Android tablets at checkout line shelves.   I didn’t buy it, but for about 50 bucks I could have added another cheap Android tablet to my pile-o-tech in my house.  With the holiday shopping season coming, more cheap tablets will be on sale everywhere.

(3b) Emerging cheap single purpose screens show up in stores.

Wrong.  The tablets are cheap now, cheaper than some series collections of DVDs, but no one has put two and two together to make one.  Not yet.

(4) WiFi-only phones emerge.

Wrong.  WiFi continues its unstoppable march to ubiquity, but we’re using apps and applications instead of dedicated devices for WiFi calling.  The new and interesting Amazon Echo may point the way for a dedicated WiFi-connected device we talk to and perhaps make voice calls with as well.

(5) nVidia exits mobile CPU market.

Wrong.  nVidia GPUs are still the bread, butter and table with CPUs being only a thin tablecloth.  Still Tegra CPUs are not winning in mobile, most of the gains are coming from the automotive market.  Despite the lack of mobile traction, the Tegra processor line looks like it’s here to stay.

(6) Intel beefing up on LTE will hurt Qualcomm.

Wrong.  QCOM has been treading water this year in a stock market up over 1500 points this year (Dow Jones industrials).  Qualcomm delivered revenue disappointment for 2014.  Analysts mention Apple making their own CPUs as hurting Qualcomm.  Samsung also makes their own CPUs, but uses Qualcomm ones for the US market, probably due to intellectual property issues here.  So while Qualcomm may have peaked as a company, it’s not due to Intel arriving in their mobile market.  The real culprit is more vertical integration by the smartphone makers themselves.

(7) Wearables will be worn by early adopters but shunned by consumers.

Right.  Wearables are still a technology in search of a mass market.  Anyone can buy Google Glass now, but at $1500 a pop, you probably won’t.

(8) Personal life-logging will start a new trend.

Right.  One place wearable tech has landed is in tracking your fitness or lack thereof.  Apple launched HealthKit at WWDC this year, Google launched Google Fit, Samsung launched the Gear Fit wearable.  This prediction has already come true and it has started with your health.

(9) States will start designating texting areas on roads (a la New York).

Wrong.  If New York traffic fatalities decline, then other states will adopt this, but inertia is keeping texting-while-driving going.

(10) Smartphones evolve towards always-on, always-recording (voice, photos, location).

Right.  The new paradigm is backing up all your photos, videos, texts and everything else to the cloud.

(11) HTC put on life support by market and Taiwanese government.

Right.  Last May HTC reported a 27% drop in revenue.  HTC revenue peaked in 2011 and has been declining since.  HTC is still on the razor’s edge of profitability.

(12) Debut of disposable feature phones introduces disposable tech that is coming.

Wrong.  You can sell your old smartphone on eBay and you’re still not throwing that tech away.  That means the price of phones is still too high for you to throw it away.

(13) Samsung does not have the top selling smartphone in 2014.

Right  The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus dethroned Samsung and its Galaxy S5 as the reigning king of smartphone sales.

To recap for my 2014 Mobile Predictions mid-year review that’s:

So 8 wrong, 6 right, not a good record except perhaps as a .429 baseball batting average.

Check back at PDXMobile for mobile predictions for 2015 soon.

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