What will be the big Android stories of 2013? Read on to find out what Taylor sees in his crystal ball and be sure to join in the comments to share your predictions.
I didn’t do a full blow predictions post for 2012, but here were my trend predictions from last year: Mobile market continues to consolidate, Android tablets overtake iOS, Intel finally enters the mobile processor market and does poorly, Google expands voice input options, a focus on longer battery life, Quad-core processors, Google TV goes mainstream, Android-powered smartwatches that don’t suck, wireless charging gains popularity, new low-power display technologies like Qualcomm’s Mirasol, Chrome Browser comes to Android.
1. Google launches MVNO on T-Mobile
Google was already rumored to partner up with Dish Network to offer wireless service, but I believe they will sign a deal with T-Mobile to become a mobile virtual network operator. Look for this announcement to come around mid-2013 when T-Mobile launches their 4G LTE network.
2. Sony releases Gaikai for Android devices
Gaikai is the most amazing cloud gaming service I have ever tested and it’s a crime that Android version has not been publicly released. Sony acquired Gaikai for $380 million this year and I think they have big plans for them in 2013. Look for Sony to bring the greatest PS3 hits and future PS4 games to mobile devices with the public release of Gaikai for Android in 2013.
3. Google TV gains support for wireless display
I love my Google TV, but the platform has been a major disappointment since Google launched it a couple years ago. Look for Google TV to finally get the treatment it deserves when it’s finally updated to Android 5.0 next year. I expect we will see a major overhaul of the UI and new features like support for Miracast wireless display.
4. HTC One X2 comes to all US carriers
Samsung finally managed to get their Galaxy S III on all the major carriers, and I believe HTC will follow in their footsteps next year. Look for HTC to launch their flagship One X2 across all US carriers by summer 2013.
5. Nexus 4 sells 10 million units
The Nexus series of phones has generally been a retail flop, but the Nexus 4 will change that. We expect LG and Google to ramp up production and ship over 10 million units worldwide in 2013.
6. Motorola releases a Nexus RAZR
Google hadn’t owned Motorola long enough to produce a Nexus device in 2012, but they will have no excuses next year. Look for the Motorola Nexus RAZR to become the flagship Android smartphone for the 2013 holiday shopping season.
7. Huawei or ZTE releases a $99 Nexus smartphone
Speaking of Nexus devices, we expect Google to continue to expand the program to more OEMs next year. I predict we will see an entry-level Nexus smartphone from Huawei or ZTE that has a starting price of $99.
8. Sony Smartwatch 2 goes mainstream
Last year I predicted that 2012 would introduce several Android-powered smartwatches that didn’t suck, and I was mostly right. We saw the Sony Smartwatch, Pebble, and Metawatch Strata all achieve some level of success, but none of the products were an all out winner. I expect Sony will lead the pack in 2013 with a new smartwatch that features a slimmer design and lower price point.
9. Samsung opens retail stores in the US
The first Samsung Mobile store already opened in Paris, and it’s only a matter of time before we see retail locations in the US. This year Samsung had kiosks and pop-up stores across malls in the US, but next year I predict they will have fixed retail locations in the top 25 metro areas.
10. Intel inside Android phones in the US
It feels like every year I write some story about Intel that says this will be the year they break into Android. We finally saw a couple Intel-powered smartphones show up overseas, but none of them made there way to the US. Since the next version of Intel’s mobile chip should feature an integrated LTE modem, we expect to finally see some design wins in US carrier stores.
11. NVIDIA has record design wins with Tegra 4
Speaking of mobile chips, I predict NVIDIA will have a record year for the fourth generation of their Tegra processor. Each variation has topped the last in terms of design wins and I think we will see a record number of smartphones powered by Tegra 4 next year. Look for NVIDIA’s Tegra division to generate $1 billion in revenue for 2013.
12. Amazon finally releases an Android phone
The Amazon smartphone has been rumored for a long time and some predicted it would be announced back in September. It’s easy to guess that 2013 will finally be the year, but I would be shocked if there is not a Kindle phone on sale this time next year.
13. HTC Sense 5.0 gets a major overhaul
HTC once told me they “got a little too kung-fu with Sense [3.0]” and they really toned things down in Sense 4.0. We once considered Sense to be an amazing third-party UI when Android was still ugly, but now it just feels stale. I predict Drew Bamford will unveil Sense 5.0 at Mobile World Congress 2013 and it will be a radical departure from what we expect out of HTC.
What are your predictions?
Got any wild Android predictions for 2013? Share what things you think will happen next year in the comments below.