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Startup Whisperer 2012 Prediction Results

This is now my fifth year that I have been issuing my technology predictions.  Last year I posted my predictions for 2012 and I am working on my 2013 predictions.  As always, I do a folksy and bucolic self assessment.  My rating system of: “nailed it”, “borderline”", and “whiffed it.” Please comment if you
Carson carnacdisagree with my self-grade.  I blew my predictions this year, I only nailed two out of the seven. 

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.  

Result:  The space is certainly getting growth and attention in pockets.  For example, wearable action sports camera leader GoPro recently raised $200M at a valuation of over $2 billion. There isn't a mass market play yet.  Although Google had a cool concept video.

Grade:  Borderline.

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. 

Result:  Apple has continued to keep and even grow its share even in the face of the proliferation of cheap Android phones.  The iPhone now has 53% of the U.S. smartphone market, its highest ever share of the market, up from just 37% a year ago. Android is at 42%, down from 53% a year ago.  No Apple TV (yet) and it wasn't obvious to predict the next generation version of the iPad and the iPhone.  No one could have predicted there very public failure with their maps product.

Grade:  Nailed It.

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. 

Result:  Well, they launched it.  Microsoft's Windows 8 strategy is certainly a big bet and their are many aspects to what they've done that is impressive.  Certainly, the Windows 8 launch was below everyone's expectations.  The clearest evidence of Windows 8’s disappointing introduction comes from the research firm NPD, which estimates that sales of Windows machines have actually dropped from a year ago.  But, the intel-based Surface and touch-based laptops (especially thru the OEM channel) will be promoted massively worldwide.  On a personal note, I have been using a Windows 8 laptop that is touch-enabled it is actually a very satisfying experience.  Clearly, having a unified OS and UX across different form factors is a huge bet.  And Microsoft can't afford to not address the post-PC world.  Especially when you look at the NPD data that shows stores in the United States sold 13 percent fewer Windows devices from late October, when Windows 8 made its debut, through the first week in December, than in the same period last year.

Grade:  Whiffed It.

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.

Result:  Apple is still the leader by far – the last research report that I saw showed Apple retaining the majority of the tablet market share.  IDC shows Apple with 50.4 percent, Samsung with 18.4 percent, and Amazon with 9 percent.  Amazon doesn't have the advantage of being sold outside the US so that's definitely a factor. 

Grade:  Whiffed It.

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.

Result:  RIM is down to low single digit market share.  Ouch.

Grade:  Whiffed It.

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.

Result:  What a crazy story for Facebook this year.  Yes, the IPO happened.  There are many solid posts about what happened from their famous plummet from their $45.00 price on the first day of trading. 

Grade: Nailed It.

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 Z
ynga and EA.

Result:  Z2Live is still doing great.  No acquisition yet.  David Bluhm stepped aside as CEO to remain as Chairman

Grade:  Whiffed it.

Here is to an exciting 2013!  New predictions coming soon.


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