Last October I made my predictions for what would happen with mobile technology in 2014.   You can find them here.  How have those been panning out?  Let’s see.

(1) Blackberry spins off QNX.

In-play.  Hasn’t happened yet and there has been news about Blackberry remaining in the auto industry last February when Ford announced they were choosing Blackberry (really QNX) over Microsoft for their in-car tech.  Still when Blackberry needs to raise cash, they haven’t yet, expect QNX to go back into the business wilderness.

(2) Chinese tech firm buys wreckage of Blackberry.

In-play.  Kind of related to (1) Blackberry is still in its death spiral and needs a larger sugar daddy to recycle its technology.  There is some security play with email they can try for the enterprise with their BBN mail servers, but I don’t think that’s enough.  I think the Chinese would be interested in getting some western legal protection with Blackberry’s patent trove so we could still see this by year’s end.

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

In-play.  I haven’t yet, but I did buy an Android tablet for my daughter off a Facebook ad for $59.  For all its cheapness this tablet was great for playing YouTube videos, my daughter’s favorite app, and has let me pry my Nexus 7 out of her hands.  $59 is still too high for the supermarket checkout, but there’s the holiday shopping season coming and more cheaper tech should arrive then.

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

In-play.  Yes I had to buy House of Cards season two on DVDs, but I would of rather paid the same price for a knock-off Android tablet with a license key inside so I could stream death and politics to my couch.

(4) WiFi-only phones emerge.

Doubtful.  We’re seeing the growth of WiFi devices with Google’s Chromecast and other TV add-ons, but smartphones seem stuck in incremental software updateland.

(5) nVidia exits mobile CPU market.

Doubtful.  nVidia is doing well this year, but on the strength of its core competence graphics chips for gaming and surprisingly the mobile Tegra chip has found some traction in automotive electronics.  All this bodes for a longer lifespan for their processor line, even as non-gaming mobile devices shrink in their customer portfolio.  So it’s looking like their market exit from mobile will be delayed, but I still expect it.

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

In-play.  QCOM is up less than 10% for the year, but still up, so no real harm yet.  Intel expects to ship 40 million chips for tablets in 2014 for 15% to 20% of that market which would have certainly been mostly Qualcomm’s except for Intel.  INTC has gone up over 10% for the year thus far, reflecting some of this optimism that Intel is finally finding footing in mobile devices.

While Intel and Qualcomm duke it out for cellular customers, really Qualcomm just dominating and beating up Intel somewhat less, the next big thing coming down the pike is the Internet of Things.  The wireless secret of the Internet of Things is that things will be connected by WiFi, not cellular and WiFi is a much more open and competitive hardware landscape than the over-IPed and over-litigated bandwidths of cellular.

This means both Qualcomm and Intel will suffer from the migration away from cellular towards WiFi technologies.  As for this prediction, it is definitely in-play.  Frankly Intel had nowhere to go but up in mobile and Qualcomm being so dominant had no other place to go than down, considering a major competitor arrived in the space.

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

In-play.  You can now buy Google Glass $1500, but you won’t want to.  For that amount of cash get a real camera, like the Sony a6000, and use the rest of the loot to run off on vacation to take photos.  Wearables are still a technology in search of a mass market.

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

Yep.  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).

Doubtful.  I thought other states would follow New York’s lead, prodded by the insurance industry, but I just misunderestimated how slow state governments move.

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

Yep.  More and more Runkeeper-style apps are recording everything about us.  Google Photos is backing up all your photos, recording every photo and video you shoot, heck even making up stories about you using them.

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

In-play.  Last May HTC reported a 27% drop in revenue, still in the black, still treading water, still in trouble.  In the early days of Android HTC made Google’s first Android phones (G1 and G2) and things looked rosy, but Samsung’s ascendancy came at the price of crushing HTC.  LG too is now rising in Android and HTC is getting the brunt of this brutal competition.  Rumors are that HTC is making a new Google Nexus device.  This is sorely needed by a great tech company that is losing in the market now, but even if it does go into the red, I expect the government in Taipei to prop up this jewel of Taiwan technology.

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

Doubtful.  The trend has been to migrate older smartphone designs down to become the user uberfeaturephone.  So instead of a cheap and dumb, thus cost-reduced, featurephone, you’re getting a cheap, smart and subsidized featurephone.  Charging for data is just too lucrative and who really wants to talk to anyone anymore?  I still see more disposable tech coming, but not in featurephones this year.

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

In-play.  The Samsung Galaxy S5 is King of Smartphones today, but the iPhone 6 is yet to be heard from.

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

In-play, In-play, In-play, In-play, Doubtful, Doubtful, In-play, In-play, Yep, Doubtful, Yep,  In-play, Doubtful, In-play.

So 2 Yep, 4 Doubtful and 8 In-Play.

Check back at year’s end when PDXmobile will have the final tally on how predictions for this year fared.

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