With wind at my back for the correct predictions I made for 2012 and ignoring all the wrong ones, here goes with my predictions for 2013.

(1) Android smartphone marketshare exceeds 80%

Apple has THE high end niche and by avoiding lower priced offerings has effectively ceded not just first place, but overwhelming first place to Android.  As of 2012-Q3 Android has 72% of smartphone marketshare.  How high can Android go?  I’m predicting a reach of over 80% of smartphones shipped for at least one quarter in 2013.

(2) Nokia brings 41 megapixel PureView camera to its Windows Phone Lumia

Yes Nokia has maps from buying Navteq, but can it bring any innovation to smartphones?  Amazingly Nokia came out with the world’s best camera phone in 2012, but married that innovation to its dying Symbian platform.  That phone was the 41 megapixel PureView.

So why no super-camera Windows Lumia phone in 2012?

I suspect it’s not just me wondering why Nokia took their most innovative smartphone technology and put it on their dying platform.  Time is up for Nokia to be following in 2% marketshare smartphone wake.  Everything Nokia has, every technical trick and tool has to be brought to bear to their now smoking platform: Lumia.

Can Nokia do it with cameras?  We’ll find out in 2013.

(3) Instagram continues its mobile rise and Facebook treads mobile water

Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram keeps looking better and better.  Instagram keeps adding features and rolling up users.  As Instagram grows, Facebook is struggling trying to figure out how to leverage Instagram into mobile without destroying it.  Expect more of the same in 2013, Instagram keeps improving and Facebook keeps a low mobile profile.

(4) RIM delivers on BB10, but fades into obscurity

Everything has been going wrong for RIM but they still have 5% global smartphone marketshare.  How?  Can brand loyalty exist in technology if your name isn’t Apple?  RIM has bet its farm on delivering Blackberry 10 in 2013-Q1 and it will, but despite finally coming through RIM’s marketshare will contract further.

(5) Apple launches AirBook Jr. with ARM processor

Vertically-integrated Apple would like nothing better than to ditch Intel processors and eliminate one of the most expensive components in its products by taking it in-house.  Apple is trying to grow up its mobile success by bringing Apple-designed ARM processors into their computer line.

The bad news for Apple is that ARM is probably two generations behind Intel x86 before matching performance.  So Apple can’t ditch Intel yet, although they plan to, so the incremental path will be to grow up the low end with higher-end ARM core CPUs.  Expect an A-something processor on an iPad with a keyboard that will become the new low-end Macbook Air.

(6) Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the top selling phone

I don’t know what a Galaxy S4 is yet, but it will dominate next year’s smartphone sales.

(7) Intel buys Broadcom

Intel really blew it by not buying Qualcomm in years past and you could argue that alone is what lead to Intel’s board of directors firing CEO Paul Otellini.  There’s no telling who will wind up Intel’s next CEO, an insider or a mobile outsider, but Broadcom is the consolation prize of mobile that Intel will settle on to gain wireless IP.

(8) Large screen innovation yields to small screen innovation

One of the great things in mobile has been all the different form factors for both tablets and phones that have emerged.  Google seems to have settled on 4, 7 and 10 inch sizes for its Nexus line.  Screen size inflation has driven phone sizes to even 5 inches for phablets, but that innovation wave has happened.  Consumers are now choosing which will survive, but innovation has been lacking on smaller phone sizes.

Why not wristwatch phones?  Why not pocket-watch sized phone?  Why not jewelry phones?  The technology is there, but the innovation hasn’t been.  Expect the start of small things with mobile screen sizes.

(9) Yahoo launches branded device(s)

Expect a Yahoo-branded phone and/or tablet akin to the Google Nexus line.  Why?  Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer knows mobile is the key to Yahoo’s future.  What is the path?  Yes Yahoo can make apps and cloud services, but how would that help?  I don’t see playing the app popularity contest as the way to throw down a mobile gauntlet.

Instead expect Yahoo-branded devices with a Yahoo experience.  So Yahoo will join Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft by hawking their own mobile devices.

(10) Windows 8 is over, expect Windows 9 to be announced in 2013

Windows 8 was always a bridge from the dying legacy past to the newer mobile future.  Windows 8 straddles the ever-present Microsoft desire to bring along its base while imitating what’s succeeding with innovators.

The pace of mobile is not dictated in Redmond, or even in Mountain View where Google is headquartered.  However it’s clear that Microsoft has to pick up its pace or die.  Expect faster operating system releases and Windows 9 announcements in 2013.

(11) Trouble at Qualcomm with big stock sell-off

An overlooked story in 2012 was Texas Instruments exit from selling mobile processors when they dumped their OMAP line.  This was bigger news than reported because although mobile is growing quickly the mobile industry is consolidating to two large players: Samsung and Apple.  Both of these mobile giants are experts at being vertical manufacturers and that makes them relentless cost cutters and profit machines.

This wave of verticalization is sweeping the mobile world as the two giants, big Samsung and little Apple, dominate and also stop buying supplier parts, like baseband processors.  The growth of the vertical giants also means a shrinking market for suppliers like Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has ridden up the mobile ladder, passing Texas Instruments as the number one mobile chip supplier, but the same problems of cutthroat price competition and large manufacturers going their own way will start to hit the big Q in San Diego.  Yes Qualcomm has built its treasure chest of patents and wireless IP, but even that will not stench the decline of revenue from decreasing chip sales and at decreasing margins.  This trend will start in 2013, although through accounting gimmicks Qualcomm will disguise it.  Smarter analysts will divine through the financial noise and expect a big sell-off of QCOM in 2013.

(12) Robert X. Cringely makes a prediction

Despite renouncing all intentions to predict, the King of all tech predictors will climb back on his zero insertion force throne to make at least one prediction for 2013.

So there are a dozen mobile foresights about the year to come.  It will be another year of consolidation, perhaps less innovation and more market force smashing as mobile continues to lead our technological lives.

3 Responses to “Predictions for 2013”

  1. [...] 2013 will follow 2012 as surely as 2013 mobile predictions follow at pdxmobile.com. [...]

  2. Nice, but you forgot the ‘one clear glass over the eye’ with earpiece and speaker being the phone itself. end of 2013 early 2014. direct input. ;)

    Do you mind if I re-blog this of course with all link backs etc. Yours is the first predictions I’ve seen yet.

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