2010 was a great year and 2011 is looking good for mobile technology! So to ring in the new year I am sharing my predictions for 2011, and here they are!
- The GSM iPhone will be updated mid-year (probably June) (OK, this is obvious). I expect more memory and increased speed. I don’t expect a price drop, my bet is Apple sticks with the $199, $299 and $399 brackets.
- iPhone will come to Verizon, but not on the CDMA network. My money is on Apple and Verizon are betting on LTE. Verizon is currently rolling out LTE and are slated to have the network transitioned by 2014 so given that most smart phones are sold with a two year contract this does not jibe with a CDMA rollout. I realize that most of the people “in the know” disagree but I think that LTE is the future and Apple has been willing to sacrifice near term tactical gains for long term strategic growth. Also, AT&T are going to begin their LTE rollout this summer. I also believe that most of the people who are Verizon customers who want a smartphone have purchased an Android device. Also, (I realize there are a lot of also’s here) let us consider who are the customers who want iPhone on Verizon most – they are a group who have been very dissatisfied with AT&T’s network and are users who consume a lot of network bandwidth. Is Verizon really looking forward to getting these users? From a purely financial standpoint, yes. But realistically they are going to impact Verizon’s network in the same manner as AT&T’s network. AT&T will benefit long-term from these users moving to another network.
- A new iPad will be announced late Q1/early Q2 (April timeframe). I expect that it will have a built-in front-facing camera. It will also probably have more storage space and a faster processor and better battery life.
- I am betting against a retina display on the iPad for 2011. To fit the iPad with such a display would increase the cost, require a LOT more display memory, increase the load on the processor and reduce battery life. My opinion here is that Apple will not want to impact the existing user experience (battery life, responsiveness, cost) at this time. Maybe in 2012…
- More is better will continue to be the mantra. The CES trade show is in progress as I write this post and there are a ton of new devices that will be available to consumers this year. The devices will continue to become more elegant and feature packed.
- The OS fragmentation will continue and consumers will increasingly impacted as a result. The user interface skins (Sense, Blur, etc.) will continue to balkanize the platform.
- Developers will still be searching for workable strategies to monazite Android applications. Google needs to make significant changes to the market to help developers realize profits here, but I doubt that they will do it in 2011.
- There will be a lot of press given to tablets running Android. A LOT of press. The reality will be that the devices that will be available this year will be running a version of Android that isn’t optimized for tablets. Google has stated that Android 3.0 (honeycomb) is their tablet optimized version and with the demonstrated lag between the time when Google releases an Android update to the time it actually appears for a given device, there is little hope that we will see many Android 3.0 based devices this year. As a result I expect users to be disappointed with the Android tablet offerings in 2011.
- Users will be very disappointed to learn (and more often than not surprised) that the devices that aren’t tied to a paid data plan will not be able to access applications in Google’s Android Market. This will cause a long-lasting mark on Android as a tablet OS.
Windows Phone 7
- I hope Microsoft addresses at least some of the major issues with Windows Phone 7. I believe they have a good start but are not focused on making this a great product. My bet here is that Microsoft will throw a lot of money at marketing and my hope is that they also throw as much money toward engineering.
- Having watched the CES coverage and listening to Microsoft’s tablet vision I rank it as a non-starter. Microsoft has completely missed the boat. I am convinced that if Microsoft were to focus on Windows Phone 7 OS as their tablet solution they could compete in the tablet space. They aren’t. The only reason that I can imagine why Microsoft refuses to use Windows Phone 7 OS for their tablet solution is the amount of revenue generated by a table running Windows 7 vs. a table running Windows Phone 7 lay at the core of this issue. Android is “free” (not really but let’s play along with that for now) and iOS is basically “free” since Apple can roll the cost of the OS into the hardware. Microsoft can’t give Windows Phone 7 OS away and they don’t sell hardware so I understand that they are between a rock and a hard place here. But tablets running Windows 7 (or Windows 8 or whatever it is called by the marketing staff in 2 years) just will not satisfy what consumers want.
Overall I believe 2011 will be an exciting year for Mobile Technology!