10 for 2012: Facebook IPO, Apple HDTV, Armageddon, and more

Cringely breaks out the divining rod and Ouija board to come up with his top 10 tech predictions for the new year

Last year I made several predictions for what the tech world would see in 2011, and I'm both proud and deeply surprised to report some of them actually came true.

For example, I predicted that Facebook's population would surpass that of India and it would apply for membership in the United Nations. That was wrong. India still leads Facebook by a comfortable margin of about 300 million. But I was right in predicting that Mark Zuckerberg would shave for the first time.

[ The year is almost up, and just in time, Cringely has a list of the 10 dumbest tech moves of 2011. | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. | Get the latest insight on the tech news that matters from InfoWorld's Tech Watch blog. ]

I suggested that Google would introduce its own social network (correct!) called GoogleMe (incorrect!) that would suffer some privacy controversy (correct again!) and eventually die off everywhere but in Brazil (still to be determined). Google Android did become the most popular smartphone platform, as predicted, but average battery life for an Android handset still clocks in at just under an hour -- I thought that might be fixed by now.

I correctly prognosticated IPOs for Pandora and Groupon, but missed the boat on Skype (acquired by Microsoft), Tumblr, Twitter, and Rovio (stay tuned). Also, AOL did not reacquire Time Warner for a ridiculous sum, but it did almost as well by obtaining the Huffington Post for a ridiculous sum.

With that kind of track record I had to try again for 2012 -- which, if my predictions are correct, will be the last year I or anyone else gets to do this. Here are my top 10 prognostications for the new year.

Prediction No. 1: In the easiest prediction anyone will ever make, let me go out on a very short limb and say that Facebook will announce an IPO within the first three months of 2012. The share price will shoot through the stratosphere, briefly making Mark Zuckerberg the world's richest geek as well as the sweatiest, before falling back to earth. A handful of investment bankers will get richer; the rest of us, not so much.

Prediction No. 2: RIM will be acquired at a bargain-basement price by either Google or Microsoft. My money is on Microsoft -- which is a better fit for the enterprise-focused RIM, has the money, and needs the market share a lot more than Google does. No matter what the final asking price, however, Microsoft will still end up paying too much.

Prediction No. 3: Windows Phone will become the third most popular smartphone OS behind Android and iOS, thanks largely to its deal with Nokia (and that BlackBerry acquisition I just predicted). But like the late Rodney Dangerfield, it still won't get no respect.

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