Will Windows Phone 7 be a contender, after all? Will Android eclipse the iPhone? Will location based services take off once and for all? Short answer: I dunno! But, I'm making predictions anyway! Read on...
Let's start with the safe bets:
1. Windows Phone 7 won't make a dent in market share. But, Microsoft won't give up easily. Bottomline: WP 7 will still be with us a year from now. You probably won't know anyone who actually has one, however.
2. Android tablets will come into play and give the Apple iPad some serious competition. The Android camp's biggest advantage will be underselling the iPad. I believe there are a lot of people interested in tablets. But, let's face it; we've all gotten by just fine without one up until now. Lower prices will rope in millions beyond the early adopter and Apple faithful crowds currently jumping on the iPad.
3. Android smartphones will drop below $100 with a two year contract.
4. Verizon will carry iPhones. AT&T will both publicly whine about it and claim to be unaffected. AT&T iPhone users will leave in droves - for awhile. The bleeding will be heavy, but staunched quickly. AT&T has done a good job of diversifying it's smartphone offerings. Verizon will soon share in the headaches of managing all those iPhone-using data hogs.
5. Self-publishing for eReaders. Self-publishing is headed for a golden age as new tools have come available to write and publish in eFormats. Publishing in eFormats also encourages a shorter format "book" that will be attractive to entrepreneurs who want an author's credit to bolster their reputation as an "expert" in their field, but don't have the writing chops (or the material) to actually bang out a full-length book. Self-published eBooks will be all the rage, as podcasting was a few years back.
6. Techies will continue to write about "the cloud". It will still be an important trend. We will all be sick to death of reading about it. It will be the most important story not to make the "Most Discussed" list.
7. Online shopping via mobile device goes mainstream.
1. Kindle has defied gravity, so far. It sold like hotcakes over the holidays of 2010, despite the iPad, despite the many eReader competitors now available, and despite the lower-priced eReader competitors. In 2011, the Kindle will exhaust its nine lives. It won't die, but sales will fritter. In the end, Kindle will exist largely as an app for other devices. The hardware will be headed for the Smithsonian by 2012.
2. Location based services, like FourSquare, will continue to garner attention - mostly among tech writers and salivating marketeers. The mainstream will continue to be creeped out by the whole thing.
3. Groupon will be this year's media darling from the tech world. It's good for soccer moms. It's good for America. I smell a big cover story on Time or Newsweek during one of the slow summer months, maybe sooner.
4. Blackberry's tablet - DOA!
5. Chrome O/S smartbooks - DOA!
6. Google TV: DOA!
7. Free smartphones. Forget Androids dropping as low as $75. I think you may see free Androids with a two-year contract. Never underestimate a good price war among the carriers.
8. Forget eBooks. eGraphic novels will be all the rage. Comic books will go through its greatest renaissance since Wonder Woman got a pilot's license to fly her invisible plane. Have you seen how great these things look on an iPad. Tablets will be super for Superman. Advertisers pay attention: comi-tisements?
9. 2011: the year Journalism was spared. With enough tablets sold to create a daily readership, eNewspapers will address all the problems printed papers could not (printing costs, updates in real time, to name the big ones).
10. Consumer electronics giants will continue to push 3D television for the home. Still hurting from the economy, homey still won't bite. Try again in 2012, Japan.
1. Steve Jobs will step down from Apple creating a huge leadership vacuum. Apple will finish out 2011 stronger than ever on paper. But, with the continued successes in the Android smartphone market and finally some serious competition for the iPad; the table will be set for 2012 to be an annus horribilis for Apple.
2. Facebook will be hit with either a major scandal or act of cyberterrorism leaving the privacy of 500 million users feeling exposed. There will be major fallout when those same users realize canceling their accounts and walking away would mean walking away from a community of friends and family they can't recreate elsewhere. Standby for lawsuits and congressional hearings in this country.
3. As mentioned, online shopping via mobile device goes mainstream this year. The big wildcard will be HOW it changes shopping. Look for new mashup words (mopping, perhaps?) for shopping with a mobile device. How will shoppers use their mobile device while doing their bricks and mortar shopping to find the best deals, specific inventory, etc.? It's already happening with bar code reader apps, etc. In 2011, shoppers will push it to an artform. Retailers will have to stay nimble to keep from being beaten at their own game by their own customers.
4. Death of the mouse. Spoiled by touch screens on mobile devices, people just aren't having point and click anymore. Dell, HP, etc. take note: get a viable alternative to the magic trackpad or touchscreen or die.
5. Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, will escape house arrest and disappear setting off the greatest avalanche of conspiracy theories since the Kennedy assasination, surpassing even 9/11 conspiracy theories. Julian Assange books, articles, sightings, headlines and low budget documentaries will be far juicier than any documents he ever leaked.