At the end of 2011 PDXmobile made 10 daring mobile predictions for 2012. Okay well some daring, some mundane. Overall I was seeing 2012 as a more incremental year than Mayan catastrophe. Well just how are those predictions faring at mid-year? Let’s see.
(1) More double-digit percent-of-workforce layoffs at Nokia and RIM.
I lead with this one and called it a “no-brainer.” It sure was. Both RIM and Nokia have announced layoffs in the 30% range. I’ll call this one a Yep.
(2) RIM is acquired by either a private equity group or a carrier.
The big news about RIM this year isn’t about decline and it isn’t — yet — about being acquired. The biggest news was when their new CEO Thorsten Heins announced Blackberry 10 would be delayed until 2013. Missing the big holiday season when there will be a new iPhone, new Android phones and new Windows phones doesn’t bode well for Waterloo, Ontario where RIM is headquartered.
The delay will put even more pressure on RIM investors will shake, rattle and try to roll management into a deal. Will Thorsten Heins succumb to a financial siren song? I predicted he, meaning RIM, will so I’d still rate this prediction as In-Play.
(3) Apple kicks out Intel from its lower end laptops.
My thinking here was that the iPad with a keyboard would become the new low-end system, thus elevating ARM CPUs to a new status and threshold endangering the x86 embrace in Apple computers. While this is still possible, in June when Apple announced their killer new thinner Macbook Pro with retina display they also announced an updated MacBook Air with a beefy Ivy Bridge x86 processor. The more muscular MacBook Air looks to be the new low end instead of moving to slower ARM chips. So I’d rate this prediction as Ain’t Gonna Happen.
(4) Intel licenses ARM and starts mass manufacturing ARM CPUs.
With the Microsoft Surface tablet going x86 and some phone wins with Lava and Orange, it’s looking like there is a bit of life left in x86 at the higher end of mobile performance. Given any life in its x86 brand, there’s no way Intel will ditch it for ARM. Hence this prediction is another Ain’t Gonna Happen.
(5) Microsoft launches Windows 8 on tablets only.
Certainly I can claim a bit of truth in this prediction when on June 18th Microsoft did show off their new Surface Tablets running Windows 8. Was that an official launch? Probably not, but it did show how seriously Microsoft is taking mobile now. They correctly recognize it as an existential threat to their existence, not just dominance. So I’d rate this prediction as In-Play.
(6) Google’s acquisition of Motorola achieves a patent armistice.
The Motorola patent portfolio has safeguarded Android, but there are still larger tussles and bustles going on between HTC and Apple, Samsung and Apple, and fill-in-the-blank and Apple. Recently a UK judge sentenced Apple to say on its website that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is not an iPad. This was a remarkably sensible thing to do and a truly just verdict. Could the lawsuits be winding down? Could the trench warfare have consumed so much and so many that the big players will keep their lawyers in their trenches? I’d still rate this prediction as In-Play.
(7) Nokia loses worldwide dominance of mobile devices to Samsung.
This was a done deal in the first quarter this year. Nokia has held up surprisingly well at the low-end and low margin portion of the cellphone spectrum, but Samsung has done better. In smartphones it’s no contest as Samsung has cleaned Nokia’s Symbian grandfather clock. This one is definitely a Yep.
(8) Apple introduces a low priced iPhone for the rest of the world.
I saw this as a strategy to hold back the Android tide sweeping the planet and it still could happen, but the over-the-top sales of the iPhone 4S have probably kept the evil Cupertino overlords in check. Still the reality distortion field of the iPhone is hard to penetrate, so I’d rate this one as In-Play.
(9) If Obama loses, Verizon will try to acquire Sprint
(9a) There will be no major carrier consolidation in 2012.
There were two ways to phrase the ninth prediction, basically the Democrat FCC will smash any business consolidation and a Republican one will allow anything goes. The year ain’t over, but this one is looking pretty good so far and is still In-Play.
(10) Google will acquire Foursquare
This was my stretch prediction. Some of my friends are actually using Google Plus now. Web traffic is a horse race now between Facebook and Google. The social networking craze is actually near its peak with the Facebook IPO this year. Still I do think Google wants to grow its social network into something Facebook can’t ignore, although it will. So while this one is not as likely as it looked at the start of the year, it ain’t over yet. I’ll rate this one as Doubtful.
Tallying the results I’ve got 2 Yeps, 5 In-Play, 1 Doubtful and 2 Ain’t Gonna Happen.
I’ll keep consulting those magic-8 balls and report back in full at year’s end.