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Tech Predictions for 2012

by Dave Loft

Tech Predictions for 2012

Apple

  • The iPad 3 will be released in Q2. The big upgrade will be the display with an increase in resolution to 2048 x 1536 and be called the Retina display. It will launch with Apple’s new A6 chip and upgraded to 1GB of RAM. The front and rear cameras will also be upgraded.
  • The iPhone 6, yes I said 6, the iPhone 4s is the 5th gen iPhone, so it makes no sense to call the 6th gen phone 5. The iPhone 6 will launch in Q3 and have the same internal specs as the iPad 3. The glass back will be replaced with an aluminum back like the iPad. The iPhone will be thinner, but won’t have a bigger display because if they make it bigger, it won’t technically be a Retina display. It will also not have LTE as the chips still won’t be power efficient enough, the carriers won’t have complete coverage in the US or Canada and because many international carriers have not even started building LTE.
  • iOS 6 will launch with the release of the iPhone 6 and will bring a full release of Siri which will be compatible with all devices that can run the latest OS.
  • Apple TV will get new hardware in 2012 that supports 1080p and will launch with iOS 6, letting users download apps, play games and control their TV with Siri.

Google

  • Android is number one worldwide and in the US, but in Canada it’s only number 3. By the end of Q3, Android will be number one in Canada .
  • Google will launch a Nexus tablet in Q2 during the Google IO conference. It will run an updated version of Android, no not Jelly Bean, just an incremental update to Ice Cream Sandwich. It will have a 10.1″ 1080p or higher display, with 2GB RAM, 32GB ROM and a Quad Core Processor.
  • Unlike what many people think, Google will keep Motorola’s hardware business. They will let Motorola do their thing and design phones like they have been doing. But that’s all Motorola will be doing. Google will do the software and keep Motorola devices running stock Android. As a result Motorola devices will likely get updates quicker, just like the Nexus devices. Hopefully as a result, Motorola’s competitors will be forced to improve.
  • Google will acquire the 4th major label in 2012 and will continue to expand their music offering. In Q4 Google will launch a subscription service giving users access to Google’s entire catalogue for a monthly fee.
  • Google will also launch a news stand on the Android Market with Magazines and Newspapers.
  • Google+ will still not come close to competing with Facebook, but it will continue to grow steadily due mainly to the popularity of Android.
  • In Q4 of 2012 Google will launch a new Nexus device running the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean. It will be built by Samsung and based off of the Galaxy S III. It will have the same resolution of the Galaxy Nexus, but the display will be upgraded to the Super AMOLED Plus with a full RGB layout. The internal specs will be similar to the Nexus tablet released by Google in Q2 of 2012.
  • Android tablets will be the sleeper hit of the year. No one single tablet will match the sales of the iPad. But ever increasing number of tablets, running Ice Cream Sandwich in all shapes and prices from $100 and up will eat at Apples lead. By the end of the year Android will be close to surpassing iOS on tablets.
  • And before the end of 2012, Google will release Chrome for Android.

Microsoft

  • Microsoft will increase spending on advertising Windows Phone in 2012. Combine that with the help of Nokia’s latest and greatest smartphones and Microsoft will start increasing their market share. By the end of the year they still won’t be close to Google or Apple, but the downward trend will be over and they will have some momentum going into 2013.
  • Windows Phone 7 will have 150,000 apps by the end of 2012.
  • By the end of 2012 Microsoft will be circling RIM and looking for an opportunity to expand, either through partnership or out right purchase.
  • The much anticipated Windows 8 tablets will be meet with poor reviews. The tablets will either have little to no software natively built for it and the full windows apps won’t run well on mobile hardware if at all.

Amazon

  • Amazon will release a true iPad competitor, it will be a 10″ tablet built on Ice Cream Sandwich, but modified as heavily as the 7″ Kindle Fire. It will be built with a more powerful quad core architecture.
  • Amazon will have one of the best selling Android devices, I say one of and not the best because as of right now it’s only a US product as the ecosystem isn’t fully available in any other country. In the US, Amazon will only be second to only one tablet, the iPad.
  • Amazon’s success will bring more developers to Android. Because if your going to build for the Kindle Fire, you might as well increase the market availability and release it on the Android Market.

Check out my Tech Predictions for 2011 which I wrote 1 year ago today. Here’s hoping I do as well 2012 as I did with 2011.

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Tech Predictions for 2011

Apple

  • iPhone 4 will be refreshed with a new qualcomm chip that not only supports AT&T but also Verizon’s CDMA network. This will be announced during CES, but not at CES.
  • iPad 2 will come out in second quarter of 2011 with the addition of a camera and a slightly smaller, slightly lighter body. It will only be available in 9.7″ and will not see a resolution increase or storage increase. The processor will move to dual core, the GPU will improve and the RAM will double from 256MB to 512MB.
  • iPhone 5 will launch in the summer and will move to the same dual core CPU and new GPU as used in the second gen iPad. Form-factor, display, Ram and storage will stay the same.
  • A new iPod Touch will launch in September of 2011 and will come with the same optics as found in the latest iPhone. The base model will have the single core CPU while the two high end models will get the dual core CPU.
  • The iPod Nano will stay much the same but will add Bluetooth audio and Apple will sell watchband accessories for it.
  • The iPod Classic will not be mentioned and will be fazed out by the end of 2011.

Google

  • Google will officially announce HoneyComb at CES with the release of the Motorola Xoom tablet. The tablet will become available in March\April and will not just be a big screen Android phone.
  • Shortly after the launch of HoneyComb, Google will launch a web based Android Market allowing users to easily browse their apps and install them from their desktop OS.
  • Google will launch a music service to compete with iTunes in late summer, just before Apple’s yearly iTunes announcement.
  • Google will launch another Nexus phone built by HTC in the second half of 2011. It will have a qHD display and a dual core processor.
  • Android is already the best selling OS in the US and by the end of the second quarter of 2011 Android will have the largest install base of any smartphone OS.

Microsoft

  • Windows Phone 7 will get two major updates in 2011. They will add cut ‘n’ paste and multi-tasking.
  • Windows Phone 7 will have 50,000 apps by the end of 2011 and will be far ahead of the competition. Except for Android and iOS of course.
  • Microsoft will delay Windows 8 to 2012.
  • Thanks to Windows Phone 7 Xbox Live integration and the popularity of Kinect, the Xbox 360 will have it’s best year yet.

Apple Music Event Sep 1st 2010

Stats – Apple Store in 10 countries with as much as 1 million visitors a day. There are now 120 million iOS devices and 230,000 new iOS activations per day. The App Store has 250,000 iOS apps and 25,000 for the iPad. 200 apps downloaded every second.

iPod Shuffle – Much improved over last generation, physical controls are back with all the voice capability of the last generation model. You get 15 hours of music playback for $59 with 2GB. Personally I would get the SanDisk Sansa Clip with 8GB for that price and you even get a screen but I’m no Apple lover.

iPod Nano – Smaller square design, no physical buttons on the face, multi-touch display with a clip on the back so you can wear it. No more camera capability, it never really made sense to add it to the last generation but if you liked it, too bad it’s gone. Also gone is video playback, I guess they really want you to spend that extra $80 and just get an iPod Touch. That way you can give them even more money with the addition of apps and games. You can see 4 buttons on a screen at one time and you can rearrange the icons as you see fit. No physical control means you must be looking at the device to use it. The commercial showed it clipped to your clothing while using it which would be pretty hard to do with a touch screen. It’s small and pretty but I don’t see it selling near as well as the iPod Touch, which has a funny name considering that the Nano now does touch but I digress. You get 24 hours of music playback for $159 with 8GB and $189 with 16GB. I still can’t believe they haven’t added Bluetooth stereo support, I can’t go back to wires. For that price it should really have that capability. I think the old Nano is a more compelling product but at this time I don’t see any reason investing almost $200 in a music only player. If you like Apple, get the Nano or go all out and get the iPod Touch which offers so much more.

iPod Touch – It’s just what everyone expected, an iPhone 4 without the phone. Finally it has a camera on the front and back for FaceTime and HD Recording. The very high res retina display, Apple A4 processor and Gyroscope for more precise control. It brings Face Time calling to those who don’t want a contract and a monthly fee. You get 40 hours of music playback for $249 with 8GB, $319 with 32GB and $429 with 64GB.

iPod Classic – No mention of it at the event but I have confirmation that it will still be available and nothing has changed. I thought this was going to bend of the iPod Classic but alas it’s still alive and kicking for at least another year. You get 36 hours of music playback for $279 with 160GB. I suspect we will see a 128GB iPod Touch next year and the Classic will be put to pasture.

iOS 4.1 – Will be available next week for iPhone 3, 3GS and 4. Many bug fixes and performance improvements especially to iPhone 3. A new addition to the camera app is the ability to take High Dynamic Range photos. It takes 3 photos at once at different exposures and combines them into one image. It brings out detail in overblown areas of the photo as well as in the shadows. A great addition if it actually works as well as it demoed. Game Centre finally makes an appearance. It creates a social gaming network, allowing you to add your friends and see what they are playing and what achievements they recently acquired. It allows you to invite a friend into a multiplayer game and should provide a great experience as long as you don’t add to many friends and get bombarded with game invites. The notification system in iOS is so pathetic that adding more to it will probably get annoying real fast.

iOS 4.2 – Will be available in November and is geared towards the iPad and will bring all of the features the iPhone got with 4.0 and 4.1 like multi-tasking and gamer center finally to the iPad. The so called computer replacement will finally get multitasking this November.

iPad – No new iPad mentioned. Rumors were that they were going to announce a smaller iPad but I guess we will have to wait for January for that. Personally my usage scenario for a pad like device makes me want something smaller like a 7″ device. Reading for any extended amount of time can be tiring. Not to mention how ridiculous people look walking around in public using a 10″ iPad, i just don’t get it.

iTunes 10 – A slight refinement to iTunes with the addition of Ping a social network for music. A change to the icon removes the cd in the background and it ss available now.

AppleTV – It’s 1/4 the size of the original AppleTV. It uses the same processor and graphics chip used in the latest iPod Touch and iPhone 4. No built in storage, it’s just a streaming device. Built in HDMI, 100 Mb Ethernet, optical ports as well as Wi-Fi 802.11n with both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequencies. You cannot buy any movies or TV, rental and streaming only. You can buy from iTunes on your computer and stream it to the device. It’s only $119 which some might say is amazing but considering what it has built in and what it does it’s not that special it’s just par for the course. It includes the basic Apple Remote and can be controlled by an iOS device with the remote application. HD TV rentals are $0.99 and brand new HD Movie Rentals start at $4.99 and drop over time. They never mentioned this in the press conference but it is confirmed to only do 720P so it won’t fully take advantage of your 1080p display. Apple never even bothered to mention and it and probably never will. Apple users probably won’t even know the difference and if they do will probably try to sidestep the issue with an argument about bit rate. Yeah you know the type. You can also access YouTube, Netflix, Flickr and Mobile Me content. Unfortunately this is no Google TV or Xbox competitor. It does not run iOS apps and games. It has a web browser but obviously no flash and no Hulu. Google TV with its app support and full flash capability make it a far more desirable product as far as I’m concerned but anyone living in the closed world of Apple will love the AppleTV. I guess Apple hasn’t learned anything from the success of the iPod Touch and iPhone. Gaming was a big part of that platform and could have made this platform that much more desirable. But I suppose they could just release a software update next year enabling just that capability, we shall see. If you’re looking for a basic streaming device like AppleTV but want more codec capability and app support, I recommend the WD TV or the Roku video player.

Dave Loft

Getting Back Into The Grove

I haven’t put any posts up in a while and so much has happened during that time. The G20 causing havoc in my city, an earthquake, a trip home, my birthday and a few new games to keep me occupied.

Transformers: War for Cybertron is far better than I was expecting. I enjoy that the campaign can also be played in Co-op and they definitely spent some time on the multi-player. It borrows the Call of Duty formula with the leveling up, perks and kill streaks. It doesn’t break any new ground but what it does it does quite well.

Lot’s of interesting stuff in the mobile space to discuss with new phones from Motorola, Samsung and Apple. My wife wants to get a Nexus One and I’m considering giving her mine and getting the Samsung Galaxy S. It’s actually coming to Canada on Bell sometime in July. I’ve heard from Gameloft that their new DRM policy has been implemented in their latest Android games. I’m just waiting for more clarification before creating a post dedicated to that.

I had another great NxNE and have become fans of a few new bands. I have gotten as many albums in the last month as I’ve gotten in the previous four. Wolf Parade released a great new album last week, it’s no Apologies but it’s still a great listen.

Have a good one

Dave Loft

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 release candidate is now officially available

Adobe has made their long awaited Flash Player update officially available for download on their site earlier this month. They offer downloads for Windows, Linux and Mac.

My mobile computer is a Gateway EC18 ultra portable with a 1.3GHz Core 2 Solo processor and an Intel GMA 4500 graphics chip. With prior versions of flash 720P videos on YouTube were choppy and didn’t provide the best experience. I had opted into the HTML5 beta on YouTube which offered me better performance than Flash could provide, but lacked proper full screen support and suffered severe frame rate drops when scaling the video to fill the web page.

After installing Adobe’s latest 10.1 update 720P videos played back perfectly smooth and leaves some CPU usage free which should help with battery life. It offers far superior performance than what HTML5 YouTube could provide with greater scaling performance and perfect full screen implementation.

Adobe’s Flash will not go down without a fight.

Hit the link to download Flash 10.1

Dave Loft

Why is everyone just handing the tablet category to Apple?

Microsoft is currently recommending full blown Windows 7 for a tablet, while also offering up Windows Embedded Compact 7 to OEM’s as an option. At first I thought that sounded interesting. Then I heard they are not creating the UI for it and instead leaving it up to the OEM to design their own interface. It doesn’t make any sense and I can’t believe anyone would think this was a good idea.

Now I’m a huge fan of Windows 7 and it’s great on a laptop and desktop. Windows EC 7 is small and light and is the underpinnings for the Zune and Windows Phone 7. It would make an excellent basis for a tablet. But they need to create the UI and ecosystem with a cohesive marketplace that provides the same experience on all OEM’s products. They can base it on Silverlight which would make it very easy to create apps for the tablet as well as Windows Phone 7.

I believe Microsoft’s long-term goal is to head in that direction but they are putting all their resources into two big launches this fall, Windows Phone 7 and Project Natal for Xbox 360. The recent release of the Kin by Microsoft was a waste of time. It doesn’t make sense and takes away from what they are doing with Windows Phone 7. Microsoft is late to the phone market and because of it they are also late to the tablet market. The current promotion of full Windows 7 on tablets is just to fill the gap till they have a proper product in place.

Google has caught up to Apple in the phone department but has nothing for tablets. They don’t talk about them or do anything to help current Android tablets succeed. I’m hoping that when Google launches the next version of Android codenamed Gingerbread that it includes a modified UI and ecosystem for Tablets. Either that or they make good on their promise of the Chrome OS if it can make better use of the screen space the tablet provides.

That leads me to my other point and question why everyone says Microsoft should just bring their phone OS to the tablet. Many people believe Google should just bring Android to the tablet and forget about Chrome OS. Also HP bought Palm mainly with the purpose of bringing WebOS to the tablet. I’m not sure that’s the best strategy. A tablet is a different category and needs a similar touch based OS but it needs to be more powerful with a focus on multitasking and frankly multiple windows. I have no interest in running games or apps designed for a small 3-4″ screen on a 7-12″ tablet. They need apps written specifically for them, so why not make an OS specifically for the tablet.

I also believe that flash is fundamental to a tablet competing with Apple. It will provide them with some leverage to win over customers. The internet will take longer to change to HTML5 then it will take for competing tablets to hit the market. Also the hardware to run Flash smoothly without killing the battery will be available long before HTML5. I can live without it on my phone, but not on a tablet.

I don’t like the direction everyone is heading with tablets. If they actually want them to replace laptops for most consumer uses they need to be more of a PC and less of a Phone. They really need to find the perfect medium between the two and if Google, HP or Microsoft can actually do it they have a chance of capturing this emerging market. If they release a tablet running a phone OS or desktop OS, they blew it.

Dave Loft

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