Tech predictions are a risky business, but lately I haven't been too bad. Reading about a dozen tech websites and blogs a week doesn't hurt my average and keeps my predictions reasonable.
I still blew a few calls for 2011. Apple doesn't make Apps for Nanos and new models don't have built-in speakers (sorry Nano watch lovers). Microsoft did release the Zune Pass for Canada (and it's awesome with unlimited music for $100 per year), but didn't release a version of Windows 7 for tablets. Windows 8, due in 2012, will take care of that market segment and could give Apple and Google a run for their money.
Speaking of Google, they have re-released their Nexus phone line as I predicted and it's far better — and Android 4.0 does clear up a lot of the version/skin issues that plague the Android platform. Sony's follow to the PSP, the Vita, did come out in 2011 as I predicted — with just weeks to spare.
My predictions for 2012 are modest at best.
Apple — Apple will release the iPad 3 in the first quarter of 2012 with an HDMI port and ultra high definition retina display. If rumours are correct there will be a smaller form 7-inch tablet available as well as the 10-inch model. Expect updates to iPods as well, and later in the year a working iPhone 5 model with a slightly bigger screen, more memory, shuttered camera lens and better global capabilities. There will be updates to laptops, lower priced Mac Minis, more focus on gaming and a major overhaul of desktop systems. iTunes could at last adopt a subscription model.
Microsoft — Windows 8 will come out in the second quarter, along with the release of the first Windows 8 tablets and phones. These devices will be extremely popular as more than 90 per cent of computers run Windows and the W8 update offers the possibility for true cross-platforming — and a revived marketplace for videos, games, apps, music, etc. will make a good case for buying in. Microsoft will also show off its successor to the Xbox 360, which won't be available until third or fourth quarter of 2013. They will replace Messenger with Skype on most products, and offer an alternative to Google Voice that's low-priced and attractive to cell phone users.
Google — 2011 wasn't a great year for Google despite the release of Android 4.0. Its branded web-only desktops didn't do that well, and Google TV is considered a failure. However, the company is resilient and will double down on the things it's good at with a revamped Chrome, continued updates to Android 4.0, more capability in Google Docs. Google's forays into music and movies will be better organized with a new store model that includes Android Apps.