Here are my predictions for 2012, consider some may still be wishful thinking. Cash and control by the CEOs often trumps the better ideas, inevitable developments are sometimes delayed.
– Mass manufacturing of ARM Powered Laptops that have a performance above Intel Atom netbooks, can satisfy most consumers running Android (with full Ubuntu-like Chrome browser running on NDK with lots of RAM), Chrome OS, Ubuntu and Windows 8. In the first half of the year, the processors can be OMAP4460 1.5Ghz, OMAP4470 1.8Ghz, Tegra3 1.3Ghz (higher frequencies if available), i.MX6-Quad, Qualcomm S4, Exynos Dual-1.5Ghz and Quad-core. In the second half of the year those may use ARM Cortex-A15 such as OMAP5, Exynos 5, Project Denver and others already.
– ARM Powered Google TV will take off. Starting from the HDMI output of every high-end Android phone, dedicated ARM Powered Google TV boxes can sell for as little as $50, can accelerate the adoption of mass market video-on-demand to the HDTV.
– The only hope for the HDTV industry is to mass manufacture Quad-HD 4K2K screens at 55″ and higher and sell them as soon as possible for sub-$5000 and later sub-$2000 prices. I think that upwards 400 million consumers would consider upgrading their HDTV to 55″ Quad-HD type if it can be sold below $2000. Quad-HD content comes from Hollywood as all movies are already digitized in Quad-HD for digital cinema distribution, and with h264 and WebM, Quad-HD movies can fit on Blu-ray disks, 40 4K movies can fit on a 2TB hard drive, 4K content can even be streamed over VDSL, Cable or Fiber to the home Internet connections which those same hundreds of millions of consumers already have or can have for cheap.
– White Spaces will create the biggest chaos in the telecom carrier industry as schemes for cheap White Spaces routers will be available, using the http://FON.com method, whole cities can be blanketed with free or very cheap high-speed wireless data. Every ADSL/Cable/Fiber user can connect the White Spaces routers and provide bandwidth for each whole neighborhoods. White Spaces can become the main worldwide standard wireless data network system to replace cellular, LTE, Wimax for the future.
– Sub-$100 Android phones will become the most popular smartphone category to be sold during the year. Sub-$100 Android phones will have the performance and capacitive usability of at least a Nexus One phone which was the best high-end phone in the world at the beginning of 2010. Without being too greedy for certain hardware features such as Super AMOLED HD, special metal casings, it is possible that high-end Android can be mass manufactured to be sold mostly for as little as $200-$300 unsubsidized for unlocked no-contract use. Expect some high-performance Dual-core phones with nice big capacitive screens and full ICS experiences to be sold below $200 unsubsidized for pre-paid plans soon for sure.
– Over 500 million smartphones to be sold, 90% of those Android. Over 100 million Tablets to be sold, more than 70% of those Android.
– Tablets with keyboard docks are basically laptops with touch screens and will replace most laptop sales. There will be fat and thin keyboard docks, some include batteries and ports while other are very thin keyboards that can be fixed magnetically or by hooks to cover the tablet to function as a thin screen protector. Keyboards remains the fastest way to input text and to be productive with a computing device.
– 7″ Tablets will be the most popular size excluding the keyboard docking tablets. Hundreds of millions of consumers will want to use a 7″ tablet in their jacket pockets when going outside. A 7″ tablet has a 2x to 3x larger screen surface area compared to a smartphone, offering a better experience for video playback, web browsing, games, apps and more.
– Wearable computing will take-off in several areas. From Android wrist watches, to head-mounted displays with augmented reality, to bluetooth headphones, controls that can be snapped to clothing. All can function using Bluetooth to synchronize and use the smartphone or 7″ tablet as the brain of the system. The headmounted display system can look like the Motorola Kopin Golden-i which I have used for the past 2 months for augmented video-blogging. Android wrist watches can be used to view notifications and interact with basic functions of Android such as initiating a call, checking updates and other basic features that may not necessitate to pull out the smartphone or 7″ tablet from the pocket.
– E-readers will be used for more than basic e-book reading. Using the Chrome-to-phone type functionality, users can click on articles on their laptop and have those instantly synchronize or beam to the e-reader, thus offering a secondary screen much more comfortable to use for article reading. Also collaborative real-time annotations will be the most powerful usage of e-readers for productivity in schools and businesses. Upwards more than 100 million e-readers can quickly be demanded as soon as effective collaborative annotation software and cloud services are available using a stylus. It’ll be the most popular way to collaborate on writing and reviewing documents for schools and business.
– ARM Cortex-A15 will be shown early 2012 with devices available on the market before the end of the year. Expect a performance as high as 4x that of current dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 devices.
– ARM Powered servers will be deployed in large deployments, it’s possible that Google and other cloud services companies start using ARM servers exclusively in whole new datacenters.
– Android@Home will take off, including embedded ARM Microcontrollers in all types of home appliances, in all electrical outlets, synchronizing all appliances with Android. This is the Internet of Things, we’re talking Billions of new ARM Powered devices to be sold every year.
– Stocks that are likely to collapse: Microsoft, Intel, Nokia, Apple, RIM, HP, Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Zynga and more. By collapse I do not mean instant bankruptcies, but simply that their value may get halved quickly as soon as investors realize those companies don’t have much prospects for keeping the same levels of hype and profit margins that makes their current market cap.
– Microsoft does have a chance only if they pivot, it may require a new CEO and new board of directors. They need to stop focusing on proprietary software licencing and they need to use and support Android and focus on making profits on cloud services instead. Microsoft can have the resources to compete with Google on cloud services, it’s their only chance to stay highly valuable.
– Intel does have a chance only if they pivot, it may require a new CEO and a new board of directors. They need to licence the ARM architecture and use Intel’s semiconductor design and manufacturing facilities to try to make some of the better performance high-end ARM Processors, it’s possible Intel can make a very powerful ARMv8 and ARM Cortex-A15 variant and that could bring them a lot of business.
– Apple will still remain successful but they cannot remain a $376 Billion company. Right now, 65% of Apple’s profits comes only from the iPhone. We’ve already established that it’s very unlikely Apple can grow that profit stream from the iPhone as sub-$100 Android phones are to be the most popular smartphone category worldwide. I think it’s very unlikely that Apple can find a new cash cow to keep as high level of profits and when investors figure that out, the value of Apple on the stock market can be halved quickly.
– Nokia’s only chance is to use Android as soon as possible. Same for RIM and HP. But if they insist on being stubborn, they can only go towards collapse.
– All software patent lawsuits are all going to be cancelled and dismissed. It is a worthless strategy of Apple, Microsoft and Oracle to try to sue Android companies on bogus software patents. The Android companies combined have many more patents which they can use defensively and are much more powerful than any of these proprietary platform providers regardless of how many patent trolls each of them can hire to try to extract bans, reporting on these patent lawsuits is and will remain a waste of time. All bloggers need to understand that none of these patent lawsuits are at all relevant. Most of these patents can easily be proven to be worthless simply by showing prior-art to the courts, in nearly all cases there is prior-art that can be shown, simply, stop talking and thinking about it. It’ll turn out to have been the biggest waste of time for everyone involved in writing and reading tech blogs in 2011.
– Google+ can overtake Facebook. All Google+ needs to near-instantly overtake Facebook are some features to filter and recommend items to each user based on the +1 ratings that people can do on Google+ and all over the web. Basically, expect Google+ to replace your Google News, Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, Techmeme, Groupon, IMDB, Skype, Baboo it even might become the main way to generate personalized YouTube playlists.
– Consumer 4K2K Quad-HD camcorders to be sold below $2000 are possible. This may be put investments people have put into Red cameras to risk. Basically new sub-$2000 DSLR and camcorders can include 4K2K Quad-HD video recording simply by using one of the newest processors.
– Camcorders may run Android for support for apps such as one-click upload of pictures and video to YouTube and Google+, collaborative video editing, video streaming, title, description, tags editing etc. More and more camcorders and photo cameras will thus include WiFi, a touchscreen and Android.
– Google may expand Google App Engine to support PHP/Mysql CMS scripts such as WordPress, phpbb, mediawiki and more. Google can thus provide free ads-free hosting up to millions of pageviews per month and above that, require that people use Google ads or pay a small fee for the cloud hosting bandwidth. Google can guarantee secure backups, upgrades, support and more. It’ll be disruptive for the hosting and domains industry.
– Some Governments will legalize piracy and make one step further, levy a tax on the ISP or a new tax that every citizen will have to pay to sponsor all artists in each country. For example about $10/person/month for everyone in Europe, the USA and a few other rich regions of the world can collect over $120 Billion per year, which is more than enough to sponsor all music, movies, tv, writers, open source free software programmers and more. Popularity of all works online can reliably be measured to compensate content creators accordingly. This will eliminate existing intermediaries like labels/studios/publishers/proprietary software companies and it is going to be very disruptive towards the new intermediaries like netflix/hulu/spotify/kindle/prime/itunes and other.