Kawika

What Is the Media Predicting for 2012?

Panelists at the PRSA Media Predicts 2012 event

"Media Predicts: 2012" Photo by Marie Domingo

It takes a brave soul to sit in front of a room of people and predict the future. Wednesday’s Media Predicts: 2012 event sponsored by the PRSA Silicon Valley gathered a constellation of stars in tech reporting to find out what Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others may have in store for the masses next year.

The panelists making their predictions included:

Here’s a quick rundown of predictions from most of the panelists, broken into categories.

Executives:

  • Meg Whitman faces a tough decision regarding WebOS (now expected in less than two weeks).
  • Unfortunately, few panelists had any conviction that Whitman was the leader to deliver a stellar product that captured the imagination of consumers.
  • Female executives at IBM, Xerox, and other large tech firms are coming into their own. 2012 may prove to be the year that their gender is no longer the news hook.
  • Bill Gates may have to step back into the company. Windows 8 is a radical departure from previous versions of the Microsoft operating system and needs a better leader, though several panelists thought Gates would never return.

Devices:

  • An ecosystem of devices will form to remember who we are, and save our preferences.
  • A new category of devices may appear that uses sensors everywhere.
  • Panelists were split on whether an Apple television would make an appearance in 2012.
  • Tablets with Windows 7 will be a huge competitor to Apple.
  • We will see an Amazon phone.
  • The Kindle Fire will be popular — maybe more so than the iPad — because of the price.
  • However, if Microsoft succeeds at positioning Windows 8 as an OS for computers and tablets, Apple will become the number-one computer manufacturer in the world, topping HP, when iPads are counted in the stats.

Operating Systems:

  • 2012 will be the year of voice. Apple’s Siri will lead the way while Google will push more aggressively into voice space.
  • Siri comes to the iPad.
  • Windows phone will take a distant third to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS in mobile operating systems.
  • Android will “come apart at the seams” in 2012. (The Carrier IQ tracking scandal may be evidence of that now.) “Android is a mess” and companies such as Amazon are going to fragment development further.
  • Android won’t be the only vulnerable mobile operating system. Apple’s iOS will be hacked.
  • Google’s Chrome OS will die.

Acquisitions:

  • Juniper Networks will be acquired.
  • Apple will buy a small enterprise company.
  • Oracle will buy HP.
  • More foreign companies will buy US-based companies.

Companies to Watch:

  • Apple, Amazon.com, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft — as usual — probably in that order.
  • Square and Zynga will experience major re-evaluations in the market.
  • Nintendo will explode (in a good way).
  • Companies who felt pressured to integrate Facebook and Twitter will start feeling the repercussions of tying their fortunes to the social networks.
  • And there didn’t seem to be a panelist who wasn’t severely impressed with the learning thermostat Nest. The company and product seemed to represent a compilation of several predictions, including:
    • an Internet of things,
    • the spillover of Apple’s design philosophy (how the product works, not just how it looks) into new industries hitherto deprived of elegance,
    • predictive software, and
    • green technologies that actually matter to consumers.

What are your thoughts on these predictions? Any predictions of your own? Sound off in the comments or feel free to contact me via email or Twitter.

Kawika Holbrook can be reached at kholbrook@sterlingpr.com. Follow him on Twitter @kawika.

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CES was boring, but that’s actually a good thing

Yes, I know CES was more than a week ago. Unfortunately, the sinus infection given to me by some anonymous show attendee (I’m looking at YOU sneezy guy on the monorail) has forestalled my blogging until now. But don’t worry. You didn’t miss anything – CES went exactly as planned. If it wasn’t 4G, a tablet or 3DTV then it really didn’t garner much attention (with one exception, but I’m getting to that). And, despite the lack of surprises, this is an encouraging development for the industry.

Why? Well, the last thing we need right now is disruption – the predictive quality of this year’s show really illustrated for me the developmental path we’re on for the next year or so. Until 4G services become truly widespread and jumpstart new types of service development, I wouldn’t be surprised if the news we see takes the form of incremental improvements to what we’ve already got. I can’t think of a more stable path for a recovering economy. We need some time to see which of these spaghetti noodles actually sticks to the ceiling so to speak. And most of them won’t – I guarantee that 90 percent of the tablets (I counted at least 18 different models) displayed won’t be coming back in 2012.

For me, what was much more interesting were the dramatic improvements in infrastructure that are taking place to support the coming wave of new services and content. No where were these improvements better highlighted than in villas attached to the Hilton, where companies like Sigma Designs

1_Sigma

held court with literally hundreds of OEMs, showcasing the latest silicon technologies to support streaming media, home entertainment networking, 3DTV and much, much more. You can read more about Sigma’s advances here and here.

As for other interesting items, instead of focusing on 4G or tablets , let’s take a look at some of the unsung gadgets at this year’s CES.

Truly useful iPhone cases – I tried to buy one of these on the show floor, but no dice.

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Creepy Animatronic Toys – Finally, a whole new generation of toys that scare your kids silly. This is the biggest breakthrough since clowns…

 

Pre-Natal Education Technologyhttp://www.babyplus.com/ – Helicopter parents everywhere rejoice! You can now educate your child BEFORE he or she is born! I can only imagine this will jumpstart the race for “exclusive” pre-natal education that requires a waiting list…

Time-Wasting 2.0 – This is just a ball that you control with your iPhone. No, it doesn’t do anything else. I still want one.

 

On a more serious note, there were a lot of green-oriented consumer electronics that seemed to be overlooked by many in the press. Things like Eton’s solar-powered portable speakers  were really quite interesting.

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This green theme extended to many different products, including one that seemed to steal the show. The nPower PEG (short for Personal Energy Generator) from Tremont Electric  is a small device that you put in your backpack or purse as you go about your day. The kinetic energy generated from your movement charges batteries that can then charge your mobile phone, camera, etc.  Neat huh?

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What’s more interesting to me as a PR person is the power this clean little story generated on its own. While companies like Panasonic spent millions and millions of dollars on enormous booths and sand sculptors (ostentatious examples below)

 

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…Tremont Electric was able to secure more coverage than many brand names in places like Good Morning America, NBC, BBC, G4, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and many, many more without as much as lifting a finger. The lesson? A great story trumps everything when it comes to good PR.