Making predictions for the new year, in the field of technology, is not as difficult as it sounds; analysing the trends that cause events to happen (like Microsoft's failed attempt to buy Yahoo in 2009) on the other hand is more complicated. So we did our homework, crunched our numbers; here are our top predictions for 2011.
Our first prediction for 2011 is that Apple will launch the iPhone 5 on Monday 6th of June 2011. We analysed the release date of the iPhone since the first version and calculated the most likely outcome based on trends that we've seen and that date appears to be the most probable one. You can read more about how we arrived to this conclusion here.
Our second prediction for 2011 is that Virgin Mobile and 3 UK are going to merge or at the very least work more closely together. The main reason for this is the merger between T-Mobile and Orange which created Everything Everywhere, the biggest mobile phone network in the UK and one which leaves both 3 UK and Virgin Mobile far behind in terms of subscribers. T-Mobile did have a joint venture with 3 UK and Virgin Mobile was essentially its biggest reseller as the country's biggest MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). We've mulled about the idea of a strategic acquisition or a partnership between the two here.
The third prediction we made for 2011 is that Skype will be launching a web-based client for its VoIP service, putting the browser at the core of its offering. Doing so would allow Skype to garner an even bigger audience as it removes the need to download and install a web client. Others like XXXX have already done it, so there's no technical reason that prevents Skype from "webifying" its service.
Cisco to buy RIM would be our fourth prediction; the Canadian manufacturer is going to have a hard time in 2011 fending off Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS as they attempt to break RIM's stranglehold on the lucrative enterprise market. The rumours surrounding hiccups with the RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet as well as the lack of a strong Q1 2011 line up means that RIM's marketshare in the smartphone segment may decline rapidly. On the other hand Cisco is not only sitting on a war chest of tens of billions of dollars but is also keen to extend its presence to the end user as the launch of the Cisco Cius tablet has made apparent. Buying RIM would give it a massive presence in the mobile market in one swoop and offer a unique, unrivalled offering that covers almost all the aspects of communications within the enterprise.
Our last predictions shouldn't come as a surprise; Google will merge Android and Chrome OS this year. The two OSes are too similar to each other and maintaining both of them will do more harm than good to Google's booming OS ecosystem. Google's co-founder had already revealed back in 2009 that the Chrome OS and Android will merge at some point in time. So with the arrival of Honeycomb and Ice Cream this year, two iterations that promises to take Android OS to another level, it is more than likely that the merger will occur in 2011.