Mobile 2012: More coming than just the 'iPad 3'

Two massive industry shakeups, a reworked Android ecosystem, and more are on the horizon

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Then there's Nokia, which has bet its future in Europe, North America, and East Asia on Windows Phone. There, it competes with Samsung and, to a lesser extent, HTC and LG, as well as the ascendant Android ecosystem. I just don't see Windows Phone gaining enough market share for Nokia to take back its lost Symbian glory in Europe, much less register elsewhere. A recent Ipsos survey shows Europeans have little interest in Nokia's new Windows Phone-based Lumia; like everyone else, they strongly prefer the iPhone and Android devices. Nokia, I suspect, will retreat to the developing world, where it's also betting big, and/or switch to Android in hopes of having a slice of a pie that matters. This drama will likely continue into 2013, but the vector will be clear in 2012.

Make that two mobile shakeouts
Also to be shaken out is the mobile device management (MDM) industry, which has dozens of vendors chasing the same businesses. Some were bought up in 2010, and I believe we'll see both buyouts and failures in 2012. The buyouts will come from IT management firms (Accenture? CA? HP? IBM? Microsoft?) that realize it makes little sense for mobile management to be separate from PC and application management, especially as the enterprise gets more heterogeneous and the assumption of a Windows monoculture underlying the traditional IT management tools starts to fall apart.

There are already more than a half-dozen strong MDM providers: AirWatch, Boxtone, Fiberlink, Good Technology, MobileIron, SAP Sybase (Afaria), Wyse (Trellia), Zenprise, and probably a couple others I'm neglecting. Meanwhile, most of the wannabes have only basic technology little better than what Microsoft Exchange natively offers. The smart buyouts will be of the strong providers, leaving the wannabes to fall by the wayside. As acquired companies are as likely to be ruined by their new owner as to be made stronger, the effective list will get even shorter.

At the same time, we'll see attempts to introduce the concept of mobile application management (MAM), which conceptually plays nicely into IT's fears and control desires. Right now, the MAM offerings are all over the map, so there's little there there, but that could change in 2012.

Technology advancements will also arise
In addition to the market changes and product enhancements, we'll no doubt see advances in mobile technologies themelves. My crystal ball is fuzziest here. Sure we'll see faster, lighter, cheaper. And I've mentioned 4G and NFC, as well as higher-resolution displays. And technologies such as Apple's Siri will improve and find themselves cloned by others. But there's no doubt other technologies bubbling in some labs somewhere -- in Mountain View, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Redmond, White Plains, Austin, Seattle, or elsewhere -- waiting to be sprung on us, unexpected but instanty compelling. I certainly hope so!

This article, "Mobile 2012: More coming than just the 'iPad 3'," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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