By Brandon Miniman | December 8, 2011 12:55 AM
Recently we did a story about our favorite stories in Mobile of 2011. It’s now time to look forward to the year ahead and hypothesis about who will reign supreme in the mobile industry, and who will lose marketshare and mindshare. Here’s a look at who we think will be the losers of 2012:
HTC’s endlessly growing revenues and sales are going to start trending the other way in 2012 as Samsung continues to dominate in the mobile space, especially if Samsung’s Galaxy S III goes on to be as popular as its predecessor. We’re already seeing this with HTC revising their sales projections downward this quarter. Unless HTC can differentiate with devices that aren’t just yet another remake of the Desire HD, they’re going to damage their brand, which had previously been associated with innovation.
And of course, RIM is going to lose big in 2012. But you knew that.
Despite the promise of an appealing handset like the BlackBerry London — and the interesting design elements of the recently-announced 9981 — Research in Motion appears to be in the midst of a downward spiral that may be difficult to reverse. There doesn’t seem to be nearly as much excitement about BlackBerry devices as there once was, with both iPhone and Android making strong moves in the corporate world thanks to both platforms’ catering to the enterprise, as well as their popularity among employees. RIM’s one saving grace would seem to be its relative success in developing countries, where its products continue to enjoy a status of desirable, high-end kit.
I see the biggest loser to be RIM. The lack of true innovation in their products, and all that time that their servers were down during 2011 has really dented their reputation. If two CEOs weren’t able to keep that ship running smoothly, I don’t think that an extra CEO is the solution. It seems that RIM’s BlackBerry products should be part of another manufacturer’s line-up, but not a product on its own as they see tremendous decline in their business. Reliability is everything these days.
Adam Z. Lein
RIM’s Blackberry devices are probably going to be the biggest losers in 2012. The public seems to have really lost interest in Blackberries, and I’m not sure they’ll be able to reinvent themselves fast enough.
I’m not sure 3D phones will take off next year either. Those 3D screens tend to be quite tiring for the eyes. In order to do 3D right, you need a screen that tracks your eye movement and projects objects with appropriate perspective.
Anton D. Nagy
With the problems RIM is experiencing lately (data outages, devices like the Bold 9900 dying overnight, general loss of market share) I think that the BlackBerry company is not going to come out pretty well after 2012. Users are already flocking to other platforms (and other platform makers are heavily targeting BlackBerry users). Over the past years, RIM didn’t seem to manage, just like probably Palm and then HP, to keep up with the hype. Even though BlackBerries are standards when it comes to business, iOS and Android (with Windows Phone 7 coming too) are already there to fulfill corporate needs.
RIM has got a lot riding on 2012, and I’m not sure it’s fully up to the task. From BBX, to new hardware options, it may seem like there are a lot of reasons why 2012 could be a win for RIM, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s going to stumble its way through the year while making some really questionable decisions. While we did get to see some good hardware this year, none of it feels that innovative, and when you couple that with some really oddball moves, like the utterly nonsensical BBM Music scheme, it’s hard to put a lot of faith in the company.
Blackberry. With the troubles they had in 2011, and a tepid response to their tablet and touchscreen phones, Blackberry will likely continue their slow drift into obscurity and irrelevance. They certainly won’t be disappearing any time soon – after all, it took years for Microsoft to finally stop developing for Windows Mobile and move on to brighter things. Perhaps Blackberry can accomplish the same.
It’s unfortunate that so much innovation is stifled by battles that are not fought in the open-market, but in the courtroom. Patents have their place, but are being used as weapons, not as shields. The company with the biggest budget for their legal department generally win out, rather than those that are truly innovating and pushing the technology forward. These battles will continue in 2012 and beyond. In an ironic twist, the biggest losers in 2012 will most likely also be you, the customer.
The biggest losers for 2012 will, like 2011, be RIM. With the Blackberry outage, dated designs, clandestine software, and just an all-around poor mobile experience, I don’t expect RIM to be around much longer. Nobody is standing in lines the night before to wait for the newest Blackberry to come out. Another loser in 2012 should be WebOS, this operating system has hardly any backing by developers, is awkward to use, and just plain. I also predict that with the integration of LTE to the masses more mobile subscribers will switch to carriers that offer unlimited data after they receive that huge bill from their tiered data plan.
I can see RIM loosing next year by looking at the way thing have been going as Windows Phone steps up as the new third major mobile platform. Although BBX is going to be a nice improvement and we will see some different hardware it may be too late for them. Blackberry is seen now as mainly for business users and with the other competitors bringing the same quality business tools some companies may start choosing other platforms.