Top 10 wireless trends for 2012

1. Recession likely to hit smart device sales
There is a strong possibility that recessionary conditions will have an adverse impact on smartphone and tablet sales, particularly in the case of unsubsidized devices. Juniper’s view is that, given the extent to which smartphones have already become a near “must-have” device in the consumer space, then the impact here will be less significant than for tablets, where it may well reduce the extent to which these devices penetrate the wider market, notably across Western Europe. The effect will be most acutely felt in the premium tablet sector, where net device sales could plateau or even decline.
Conversely, the reduction in average purchasing power could conceivably benefit players such as Amazon and ARCHOS, inasmuch as cash-strapped consumers may opt for the lower-priced Kindle Fire or an ARNOVA-branded device rather than the iPad.
We also think it likely that a prolonged downturn could have a serious negative impact on sales of dedicated eReaders, essentially “nice-to-have” rather than “must-have” devices: as discretionary spend falls, then eReaders are most likely to be affected.
2. London 2012 to boost mobile advertising and m-gambling, kickstart NFC
Juniper Research believes that the London 2012 Olympics will provide a substantial boost to advertising across various mobile delivery channels, with brands keen to employ location-based advertising andmarketing to drive sales.
We are also likely to see far more widespread usage of augmented reality withinmobile marketing, using both image recognition and markerless tracking techniques.
It is also worth observing that the Games – and the Euro 2012 football tournament in Poland and Ukraine - should drive wider adoption within the mobile gambling space, particularly across continental Europe where markets are becoming increasingly liberalized.
While NFC (Near Field Communications) has as yet failed to gain significant traction beyond developed
Asia, we believe that the Olympics offers service providers such as Lloyds TSB, Samsung and Visa with the opportunity to deploy NFC solutions to far greater effect. Hence we are likely to witness a surge of deployments and rapid uptick in adoption in the run-up to the games.
3. Mobile coupons to drive mobile commerce market despite economic stagnation
There is significant evidence to suggest that as economic conditions worsen, then consumer uptake of coupon-based discounts becomes more extensive. Juniper Research believes that the austere financial climate will act as a further stimulant to this trend, with the mobile couponing market – already accelerating as part of a more wholesale usage of m-commerce – a key beneficiary.
4. 2012 – the year of the quad-core processor
While 2011 was the year of the dual-core device, in 2012, the top-end devices will come with quad-core processors. Asus were the first off the blocks, having releasing their Eee Pad Transformer Prime with the newly launched NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip in November 2011. Qualcomm have also added a quad-core chip to their Snapdragon line.
Quad-core processors, while offering an improvement in performance, also offer an increase in battery life. The performance boost comes from being able to multi-task more efficiently – the processor can handle multiple threads at once, making sure that music keeps playing smoothly while the user is playing games or taking pictures. The power savings come from being able to keep those cores at a relatively low clock speed.
There are a number of services that will benefit from this increase in power, the biggest of which is the games industry. Quad-core processors will allow developers to add more realistic effects, getting ever closer to the elusive console-quality experience. The Tegra 3 even allows for controller support and mirroring to a 3D TV. Javascript and Flash will also run faster allowing web developers to create more graphics and script heavy apps and pages.
5. Windows 8 OS to fuel Nokia revival, disrupt tablet market
Microsoft’s next OS will be compatible with both Intel and ARM architectures, meaning it will run onboth PC and mobile devices. This will create a huge ecosystem of devices – from smartphones, to tablets,notebooks and desktops – for app developers to target. So expect Microsoft to gain market share in thetablet space, as it replaces the non-tablet-optimized Windows 7. And, with Nokia transitioning its existing(smartphone) and new products (likely to include a tablet) to Microsoft’s platform, the Finnish giant will befighting back after spending several years losing market share to Android and iOS devices.
6. 2012 to see high profile malware attacks on mobile devices
While there have been numerous malware attacks targeted at mobile devices, these attacks have been – in comparison with those targeting desktop PCs and laptops – relatively small scale.
Given the increasing prevalence of consumer smartphones and tablets – and the opportunity they present to cyber-criminals – this state of affairs is unlikely to continue. We would anticipate that 2012 will see several high-profile, international attacks on various mobile OSs, with the result that consumers at large are made aware of the pressing need to protect their smart devices through the installation of security software.
7. MEMs accelerometers and gyroscopes to transform sensor market for mobile devices
MEMS (Microelectronic Electromechanical Systems) such as accelerometers and gyroscopes are increasingly becoming must-have features within smartphones and tablets. Not only are they cost effective to deploy, but their integrated processing capability enables a dramatic improvement in on-device location awareness.
Juniper Research believes that this in turn will see a dramatic increase in LBS applications – initially, primarily in the consumer space – as service providers seek to take advantage of this improved functionality. Throughout 2012, expect to see significant utilization of these technologies to support advertising and marketing campaigns; also watch out for large-scale deployment in developed Asia’s gaming sector.
8. Social gaming to become a major mobile play with introduction of synchronous gaming
2012 is set to see an explosion in the number of social games played on mobile. Users have already been primed for social games, with games such as FarmVille and The Sims Social being played by millions of people every day via PC. The launch of the Facebook Platform for Mobile means developers can easily distribute their app on mobile without the need for native apps and use Facebook APIs to add in sharing and payment functionality. Making social games cross platform will enable their popularity to spread to mobile.
Social games are inherently multiplayer but typically asynchronous – users receive notifications when it is their turn to play. Adding the ability to interact with friend in real time, as enabled in iOS 5, will be a significant draw for users looking for new social experiences.
9. Online, mobile and physical will begin to fuse into one retail market
As the number of consumers using smartphones as an integral part of their shopping increases, so too weexpect to see retailers exploiting this trend in developing mobile storefronts as a bridge between theironline and physical presence, creating a seamless shopping experience to attract and retain customers.
Online retailers are already beginning to experiment with physical store trials where goods can be ordered via QR codes on product samples or images – these we expect to mature into permanent presence in high-throughput commuting locations. Conversely we expect smaller “bricks-and-mortar” retailers in particular to extend their reach using the mobile channel, delivering personalized mobile coupons to drive footfall into their stores and recapturing customers lost during the online retail revolution.
10. Cloud mobility to drive collaborative communications
The dramatic upsurge in consumer smartphone and tablet adoption has in turn seen many such devices brought into play within the enterprise space, and we would envisage that the next year will see a far greater utilization of such devices – in tandem with dedicated corporate smartphones/tablets – to promote and accelerate collaborative communications within the workforce.
Specifically, we believe that 2012 will see a substantial increase in the number of enterprises moving to develop and deploy mobile centric, social business strategies.
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