This will be a great year for Android.
Apple will have a fairly boring year, but Google and Facebook will have some amazing product announcements this year.
This will be the first of a yearly post predicting the future. I've been fairly good about predicting the future when it comes to Google and Android, so we'll see how I do with a few other companies as well.
It's fun to make predictions so here we go.
1. 3.0 (Honeycomb) will be released in Q1. Honeycomb will be a big release. It will not be like 2.2 or 2.3, which were incremental changes. It will feature completely rewritten UI components and have video calling built in natively. It will have a much needed update to the default music player. We will start to see a refining of the interface in 3.0. It won't be until the version after Honeycomb that they really get the engineers out of the way and let the designers do what they do best: make beautifully, highly interactive, graceful user experiences.
2. Tablets will be a very big deal for Android. Last year we had hundreds of terrible Android tablets and only 1 good one -The Galaxy Tab. This year we will have 4 or 5 really good tablets. The first amazing one will be the Motorola Tab. Honeycomb will be the key to success here. Finally, stock Android will have a good tablet experience. The iPad sold ~8 million units and the Galaxy Tab sold ~1 million units in 2010. In 2011, Apple will sell at least 20 million iPads and Android will be sold on the same number of tablets or more. At least 3 of the really good Android tablets will have a wifi only version. Half of all good Android tablets will support a physical hardware keyboard, either through USB, Bluetooth or dock.
3. Netflix will find a way to bring its streaming movie service to Android.
4. Google will finally launch their cloud streaming music service integrated into Android.
5. Google recently announced that it was activating 300,000 Android devices every day. It will be 600,000 by the end of the year.
6. Free, ad supported apps will still be the most popular and most abundant apps in the Android Market.
7. Manufactures or carriers will start buying small Android startup companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
8. The Playstation Phone will be released and will have a big impact on gaming in the Android ecosystem. There will be some games specifically designed for the hardware that Sony releases, but the bigger impact will be that game developers will realize that you can make great looking games on Android.
9. The average-priced basic Android phone will be dual core by the end of the year.
10. NFC will not catch on this year, but QR codes will continue to see wider adoption.
11. You will see at least one glasses-free 3D display on an Android phone from a major manufacture.
Bonus. I will continue to release Android apps that people love and enjoy ;)
Google (other than Android):
1. Google will get serious about location. This will either be a major overhaul to Latitude or a separate check-in style product. It might be integrated into Google Me.
2. Google will announce Google Me or Google +1 or whatever they call it. It will be a social layer that "glues" together a lot of their existing stand alone products. It will not compete with Facebook.
3. Google will do more with E-commerce. Whether it is another site like boutiques.com or something like Groupon, Google will make a big play in this field.
4. Google's self-driving cars will not make any substantial impact this year.
5. ChromeOS will be launched to great fanfare and will NOT see major adoption. There will be a very small, excited enthusiast community around it like Google Wave, but it will not be a consumer success.
6.Google Wave will become completely open sourced and will see slow and steady adoption in enterprise.
7. Google TV will see a relaunch once they get the content providers on board. It will be moderately successful. The most popular implementation will be direct integration into TVs instead of set top boxes. The most popular apps on Google TV will be video, music and games. Reading and browsing the web will not be very popular. Hopefully, we'll see some interesting interactive overlays on top of live TV. For example, a players stats overlay while watching baseball. I don't think we will see this until the end of the year though.
8. Google will launch at least one successful new consumer-facing product that will surprise most people. This might be another E-commerce site like Groupon or something completely different. Arguably, Google did not launch a new successful product in 2010.
1. Apple will release an iPhone on Verizon. It will not be 4G and will not have as big an impact on Android sales as people predict.
2. Apple will release a new iPad that has a front facing camera, dual core processor and better screen resolution. They will have a AT&T, Verizon, and wifi version in the US.
3. If Apple releases their yearly update to the iPhone on AT&T it will not support 4G either, but will support NFC. It will be dual core. The focus will be on gaming.
4. Apple will announce a TV with Apple TV built in. They might partner with a manufacture to make it, but it will only be branded as Apple.
5. Some developers will abandon Apple as it becomes clear that Android has the dominant position in the marketplace. Most iPhone developers will stay with Apple or develop for both iPhone and Android.
1. Facebook will continue to be the dominant force in the social internet.
2. They will continue to release products at an incredible rate. The top 2 focuses will be on integrating into other websites and E-commerce.
3. Facebook will not release a Facebook Phone in the US, but they will continue to iterate on their existing mobile apps for various platforms.
4. Facebook will not release an iPad app nor an Android tablet specific version.
5. Despite not launching a phone, Facebook will double down on mobile. Either through SMS or Facebook Places or their mobile apps or more mobile developer tools or something else.
6. Facebook will continue to upset people by adding features and updating the look of the main website. Journalist will still ask how this affects privacy even though it is obvious that it has no effect on it at all.
7. There will be another major backlash against Facebook and several people will leave the service, but they won't switch to another social network. They will completely "unplug" from the social web.
8. Facebook will not become a publicly traded company.
General Tech Trends:
1. We will start to see demand for tablets and mobile devices to be our primary computing devices. The devices themselves will not be popular this year, but it will start to become obvious to people that they only need one device instead of a phone, laptop and desktop.
2. The Playbook will be the only interesting thing that Blackberry releases and it will be successful.
3. At least one of the mobile photo-sharing social network apps will see major adoption. It will not be Path.com.
4. We will see at least one more "Social Browser" released (Ex. Flock and RockMelt). All of them will fail.
5. Twitter will not be sold to anyone.
6. We will start to see Android running on weird things like refrigerators and washing machines. It will be buggy and mostly useless. Nobody will want one.
7. Cars will see more tech-focused options like Ford Sync. However, just like the car phone, most of these services will ultimately not be widely used.
8. We will see a major breakthrough in battery life on mobile devices.
9. We won't see any privacy legislation passed.
10. We won't see any major net neutrality infractions. Consumers will mostly not be affected by ISPs being non-neutral.
That's it. Hopefully some of those predictions will come true. At the end of the year I will see how I did.