Results: 2012 Mobile & OSS Predictions

Posted: December 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Many a pundit puts together predictions for the next year but they aren’t engineers. These were my predictions for 2012, time to look at the results, reflect and in some cases eat crow. Yummy!

  • Voice will drive new user interface innovation in 2012. Android will do something to try and catch up with Siri but  include ads in some fashion. Apple will open up the Siri API so that 3rd party developers can take advantage of it.

Apple didn’t open up Siri. Voice interfaces didn’t evolve as much as I expected so I think it’s more than fair to say I got this one wrong.

  • Mobile app authors will continue to make more money on iOS than Android.


  • Windows 8 on anything but intel will flop. PC sales will continue to slow as tablets will take the place of PCs for some.

In the eyes of some, Windows 8 is even a flop on intel.

  • RIM is doomed. I expect tar, feathers and pitch. It won’t end well.


  • Nokia will continue to free fall.

Not quite as doomed but did not see growth in 2012.

  • We will see significantly increased display resolutions in the tablet space. The iPad will gain a retina display and Siri. There will be some sort of android based tablet that will follow up with that kind of resolution as well. Likewise in the workstation/laptop space with thunderbolt going onto all intel motherboards come mid year, thunderbolt will take off and display resolutions will fly by 1080p.

Apple delivered their retina screen for the iPad, and Android devices likewise started to up their tablet display specs. (Nexus 10 is 2560-by-1600) Siri came to the iPad. Retina laptops started to show up but have not been made available by other companies besides Apple. Disappointingly no “retina” LCD panels are available for hooking up via Thunderbolt or any other connection standard. Via back of the envelope math it would seem that 2x Thunderbolt is needed first.

  • Android based tablets will continue to fail.

I’m not sure I’d call the Nexus 7 or 10 a failure. Likewise for the Kindle Fire. I think I got this one wrong but I’m not sure that Android tablets can claim to have the success that the iPad family has seen.

  • Amazon will evolve the fire and follow on products to the fire. Like Apple they will pitch their offering as an integrated solution with apps, books, movies and music. It’s not about the processor anymore. Their sales will be good.


  • Apple will release an updated Apple TV but not a TV. It’ll include the ability to run apps, paired with the networks (channels are apps, apps are channels) and it will include Siri voice control. GoogleTV will continue to go no where.

Google TV went no where. Apple TV was updated. No TV made by Apple. Still no Siri control by an Apple TV and the Apple TV is still very much locked down with only a very small set of hand selected 3rd party apps. I guess I got this one mostly right.

  • This will not be the year of the Linux Desktop.


  • WebOS development will gain a following in open source circles once the source is released. It will be ported to arm development boards. The device manufacturers will gain interest. However none will ship a phone based on it this year.

No WebOS phone shipped. Sadly I don’t think that WebOS gained a following in Open Source circles.

  • Use of the GPL/LGPL will continue to wane. Use of BSD/MIT/Apache licenses will continue to rise.

Wane. Hmm. I think we can agree that there is increasing friction within the FSF. Within my circle of mobile developer friends, GPL/LGPL isn’t the default, but that’s not a reasonable population sample to make a claim about being correct or incorrect.

  • Server Linux on ARM will for the time being be experimental. However it sill start to gain a following as ARM server hardware will continue to evolve.

AArch64 is now in glibc and in kernel. There isn’t AArch64 hardware available for mere mortals yet. KVM isn’t quite to a state where I think using it with say Openstack on a production box even with a 32 bit kernel is quite there. So all in all experimental is still the right term to use. There is obviously significant accomplishments in the broad area over the last year and in many ways I think it’s fair to say that with the formation of the Linaro Enterprise Group, Server Linux on ARM has gained a following.

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