Eight Predictions for 2010

We’ve just put the finishing touches on our predictions for next year. The full set is available to our clients here, but I thought I’d share my favourite eight predictions in a blog posting.

Here’s what we think will the next 12 months (and more) will bring the mobile industry.

Motorola will be acquired by Google. Although this is an unlikely scenario, it would deliver Google a portfolio of Android-powered devices. We would expect Motorola’s Devices headquarters to shift to Mountain View in California.

Apple will make major moves into mapping, location and augmented reality. Such moves would pitch Apple into direct competition with Google and Nokia. They would also end Apple’s reliance on Google for mapping services.

Amazon will make a larger play in mobile in 2010. It already sells phones, accessories, netbooks and music, and has a well-established and trusted payment system. The Kindle device and its connectivity agreement with AT&T are expanding worldwide. Amazon will exploit its strength in cloud services, either by offering recommendations as a cloud service to software stores, or by setting up a world-scale application store.

Most application stores will not be profitable during 2010. Like store owners, developers will be frustrated by the gap between the promise of easy income and the reality of needing careful marketing to make consumers aware of applications.

At least one European country will introduce a mobile telecom tax in 2010. Governments are looking to bridge national budget gaps, and mobile network operators’ substantial revenues will be an attractive target.

Some countries will see a fall in subscriber numbers. As prepaid users switch to contracts they will discard their two or three old prepaid SIMs. In high-penetration markets such as Italy we expect leading operators to report a decline in customers.

At least two major European operators will stop subsidising phones in 2010. They will switch to a SIM-only strategy, and offer nothing but SIM-only contracts to new customers and to people renewing or upgrading contracts.

Microsoft will port Windows 7 to the ARM architecture. The move will be a hedge against burgeoning growth in sub-netbook mobile computing, but Microsoft will not acknowledge the port before the end of 2010. Any ARM products running Windows 7 would not be available until 2011.

Feel free to tell us if you agree or if you think we’re wrong.