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Startup Whisperer 2012 Predictions

I just recently posted my 2011 prediction recap and now its time to predict the major technology happenings for 2012.  I'll be posting some games specific predictions on the corporate blog this week. 

Here we go:

Prediction #1:  Wearable Internet
Internet-based sensors and augmented reality overlays will show up everywhere.  After recently reading about Google's AR glasses, I most certainly will want a pair.  My friend Marc Barros' company, Contour, is absolutely killing it with their wearable HD camera.  They are one of the fastest growing company around doing ten's of millions of dollars in revenue per year. Their products are already integrating GPS data into their video feeds.  Why not Twitter posts or integrated information from a smartphone?  Why not health information like blood pressure, heartrate, etc.  I am already hooked on RunKeeper and the company behind this widely successful iOS application is talking about building a very ambitious 'health graph'.  Look for specialty devices (like Jawbone and Contour) as well as smartphone specific integration integrated sensor data.  2012

Prediction #2:  Apple Keeps Innovating
Android will continue to eat smartphone market share against the iPhone because of the closed ecosystem strategy of Apple.  But, Apple will continue to keep its relative share on the iPad and will introduce a number of new innovations in 2012.  I was struck by the reference to Apple TV after reading the Steve Jobs biography.  Everyone is expecting it to launch this year.  So, I will pile on with the rest of the pontificators.  Apple will launch a kick ass television set in 2012.  iOS applications integrated with you live and on-demand TV all in one elegant box.  There will most certainly launch the iPhone 5 as well as a new iPad 3. 

Prediction #3:  Microsoft 8 Makes A Market Share Dent Across Multiple Screens
The new Windows 8 is looking incredible.  We've all seen either the YouTube demo's or have been lucky enough to play with it in person.  The vision around integrating a combined tablet and desktop OS unified around their Metro UI is truly awesome.  Enough to make a meaningful share impact against Android?  It might in the enterprise. 

Prediction #4:  Amazon's Kindle Fire Is #2 in Tablets
Android will continue to eat share in the smartphone space but will continue to struggle against Apple's iPad.  Amazon will be the clear #2 player behind Apple and the leader in Android tablet sales.  There has been some criticism of the product but Amazon will continue to keep iterating on it.   With the easy to use interface and exceptionally accessible and cheap content, the Kindle will be the alpha Mom's tablet of choice in 2012.

Prediction #5:  Microsoft Will Buy RIM
RIM has had its own fair share of issues including announcing no new products for the first half of 2012 and market share that is dropping like a rock.  Look for RIM to be acquired.  It would make sense for Microsoft to acquire the customers, patents, and inject their mobile OS strategy into the company.

Prediction #6:  Facebook IPO
Yes, the biggest "no-duh" of the year but Facebook will IPO at $100 billion.  Zuckerberg will be worth around $20 billion and there will be 1000 newly minted millionaires. 

Prediction #7:  Seattle startup acquisition prediction:  Z2Live
I believe that I have only nailed one company prediction in the last four year.  But, considering the risky nature of startups, it ain't that bad.  This year I predict that  Z2Live the mobile game creators of Battle Nations and Trade Nations will be acquired.  Mobile and social gaming are hot and the supply of great studios with market traction are not as plentiful as they used to be because of the tremendous amount of M&A activity from large players like Zynga and EA.

Here is to an exciting 2012!


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