Predicting technology in the new year is like predicting the weather. The patterns point to expected forecasts but, if the soothsaying was always accurate, what would we talk about?
So, in support of both accuracy and conversational topics, we asked some of our favorite soothsayers to scope out 2013 for IT technology -- starting with the big picture.
Appliances, iPhone 5
For 2013, Pund-IT analyst Charles King sees a continuation of three of the biggest trends from 2012 -- big data, cloud computing, and bring-your-own-devices (BYOD).
In addition to those, he said growth will continue in data storage, with a possible shake out among vendors, and there will be increased growth in converged systems that integrate hardware, software and services into turnkey appliances -- although he noted that it remains to be seen if the market is "as hot for these appliances as vendors are."
King said that, as the rollout of Windows 8 tablets, hybrid/convertible laptops, and all-in-one PCs continues, he expects the emphasis to shift from its current focus on consumer products to businesses. Security, particularly among businesses, is a "perennial subject of interest," he said, but 2013 could "lead to a watershed event that changes the way people and organizations consider and implement security solutions."
Current Analysis' Avi Greengart covers mobile devices, and he is focusing his 2013 predictions on smartphones. He expects the iPhone 5 to continue to sell well, as it has done in the past, built on a wider launch in more geographies for this model than for previous ones. He also expects to see broadened distribution of the iPhone "to more prepaid carriers in the U.S., including Leap and Virgin Mobile."
RIM, Chinese Handset Makers
With regard to BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion, Greengart predicts that RIM's big "comeback bid" in 2013 with the BlackBerry 10 platform and devices will be accompanied by some strengths and a variety of challenges. On the plus side, Greengart points to RIM getting carrier distribution for BB10. He also says his hands-on with BB10 phones left him "impressed."
On the down side: Apple has "made real progress in government and large corporations" where RIM has been strong, Greengart said, and Android with its free messaging apps "has eaten" into RIM's BlackBerry Messenger-fueled global youth market. RIM "doesn't have enough cash on hand to go head to head with Apple's or Samsung's marketing spend for very long," he added.
"Restructuring the business around its shrinking enterprise base," Greengart said, "would require shrinking RIM so much that a selloff would almost certainly be preferable." (continued...)