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Ryan’s Tech Predictions on consumer IT and mobility for 2013

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2013With this post we dive deeper into technology trends associated with consumer IT, especially mobility in 2013.

These flow from our earlier overview of the seven shapers of technology in 2013, but have a bit more fidelity. We offer some predictions on how we see  the mobile and technology world over the next year.

These 11 key tech predictions are:

  1. MVNOs will take off (big time) – As I wrote here, I believe that MVNOs will take off big time with regular consumers. While they won’t reach the heights of AT&T/Sprint/T-Mobile/Verizon in terms of market saturation, they will grow in popularity and adoption.
  2. 5″ will be the standard size for Android devices - The more I use a smartphone (including those of different sizes), the more I believe that 5″ is the proper size for a smartphone (with a thin bezel of course). While devices such as the Galaxy Note and the new Huawei Ascend are often ridiculed, they have pushed ordinary smartphones to get bigger. The new HTC Droid DNA is this perfect size (5″ w/ a 1080p screen) and might be the blueprint for future phones.
  3. 1080p screens will be universal on (upscale) smartphones – While manufacturers will woefully continue to pump out “bargain” smartphones, all of the real smartphones will have 1080p screens or better. As smartphone graphics processing increases, 1080p becomes possible (and will be everywhere).
  4. Windows 8 (Mobile/RT/Pro) will all gain a great deal of marketshare (especially in the tablet/PC world) but won’t make a large dent in smartphone sales - The Surface tablet was a flop, but as Windows 8 RT/Pro tablets are rolling out, some of them have feature sets which are amazing and innovative. As well, the allure of  touch screen laptops is undeniable. However, I have yet to see anything about Windows Phone 8 or any handset which interests me.
  5. We are all going to the cloud (no really) even if you don’t know it - All the major providers are moving people directly to the cloud, whether or not they notice. However, this will become more and more evident (and pervasive) this year. Users will be forced to realize most of their data is in the cloud (and may even welcome using it). Using the cloud to sync has made it far simpler for me to move across devices (and it’s not hard either!).
  6. 7/8″ tablets will replace 10″ as the de facto standard for tablets - The smaller form factor (7/8″) has quickly replaced the larger as the most desired. The Nexus 7 has sold millions of devices since it was released in July, and the iPad Mini was the hottest Christmas present this past season. These smaller tablets have to be less expensive than the 10″ versions, yet still (almost) as powerful. People like these pocketable, handheld and reading friendly devices, and are demonstrating this with their wallets.
  7. Post-PC is a farce – If you need a PC, no tablet will really replace it. In the past, people over-used PCs for roles they were needed. Commoditized hardware allows people to pick and choose the hardware to suit their needs. We will still need PCs for photo-editing, true content creation and more, but we are now realizing we don’t need PCs for everything. This does not diminish the need of true PCs, just that we finally have the ability to purchase devices to fit (almost) any and all needs.
  8. Mobile Payments are gonna be big - The Starbucks card is the best example of solid mobile payments working out, but when OEMs and carriers can’t agree (on anything) and one of the most popular smartphones (iPhone) does not have NFC, mobile payments need to get creative. We have mobile tickets and more, but I believe this is the year mobile payments (maybe all linked to store cards) go big.
  9. Smart TVs fail, but Smart Boxes win - Much like Android skins, OEMs are throwing (somewhat) unnecessary skins on top of their TVs, just to differentiate them. It is unlikely that anyone purchases a TV based on the skins alone. Most TV last for years, 5 to ten even, but their GUIs will not be supported for that long. Smart Boxes, such as the Roku/Apple TV/Google TV are all great (and inexpensive) solutions, that are supported by both 1st and 3rd party developers.
  10. 11/12″ Tablets grow - This is the mix of Windows 8 success and OEMs willing to break the Apple mold. When you think about it, 10″ is just somewhat unwieldy. It is sometimes too big, sometimes too small, but rarely quite right. The larger tablets will find their hands in people who have to create content, and do it on the go.
  11. Big data will come to the consumer - Currently, big data is the province of enterprises and researchers, but not forever. This year, small businesses and individual users may find value in using big data solutions (which grow more elegant each year) for small data or medium data needs.

So these are my top predictions, what are yours?

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.