Mobile Predictions of 2014

Mobile predicitions fo 2014We haven’t done any traditional end of year posts on Mobile App Testing yet this year, so here’s one for you! Marguerite Reardon of CNet recently wrote up her top mobile market predictions for 2014. Some will excite you as a tester, others will excite you as a mobile fan in general. Here’s a peek at what she sees on the horizon.

Wireless bargin hunters rejoice, carriers are finally listening

While I don’t expect carriers like AT&T to slash pricing across the board, I do think there will be more pricing options available, which will result in better value for some wireless customers.

Wireless operators lobby hard in Washington

While the much needed low-band spectrum from the broadcast incentive auction is still more than a year off, the FCC is preparing two other wireless auctions for 2014. The first is the H-block auction, which has only one significant bidder, satellite TV provider Dish Network. The next auction of the so-called AWS-3 band of spectrum is expected to get a lot more attention. This spectrum auction is set for September 2014. It’s expected to create a lot of buzz, so stay tuned.

Carrier consolidation continues

The past couple of years have already been filled with a lot of M&A activity among wireless carriers. The trend is expected to continue in 2014. …

There are already rumblings that Sprint is putting together a deal to buy T-Mobile, which isn’t a huge surprise given that T-Mobile’s parent Deutsche Telekom has not been shy about its desire to exit the US market. But it’s unclear at this point whether federal regulators would approve such a deal. It could be hard given that both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission have been pleased with T-Mobile’s recovery in 2013 following its failed merger with AT&T in 2011. …

But other deals may also be in the works.

T-Mobile shakes up the industry yet again with more of its “Uncarrier” strategy

T-Mobile is readying the next phase of its “Uncarrier” strategy. …

The company’s executives say they aren’t done yet. Recently, CEO John Legere took to Twitter to promote an upcoming announcement in early 2014 that will “eliminate another customer pain point.”

Sprint emerges stronger from its “rebuilding year”

By the middle of 2014, Sprint 4G LTE service is expected to be available to approximately 250 million Americans, and Sprint expects 100 million Americans will have Sprint Spark or a service that uses the 2.5GHz wireless spectrum from its acquisition of Clearwire by the end of 2014.

Blackberry: Things will get worse before they get better

The big change for BlackBerry is its shift away from the consumer handset business in North America and a greater focus on its enterprise and messaging software business for the enterprise. The company will also be targeting developing markets with its mobile handsets. And it’s created a partnership with device manufacturer Foxconn that will allow the company to cut costs on device manufacturing and minimize inventory risks. …

BlackBerry may also announce plans to bring its security and productivity enterprise apps to Google Android and Apple iOS devices.

Microsoft kills Lumia brand

As the Nokia sale to Microsoft is finalized in early 2014 and as Microsoft begins integrating the products into the mothership, it’s unclear what will happen to the Lumia brand. While it’s obvious that Microsoft bought Nokia for its hardware, Microsoft has begun building its own mobile hardware. The company has been selling its Surface tablet, based on its Windows RT software. And while it hasn’t announced a Surface smartphone, one has been rumored to be in the works. …

In any case, a rethinking of the Lumia and Surface brands are likely to be in the works as Microsoft and Nokia finalize their merger. What this means for the products themselves and for consumers using them is not yet known. An optimistic prediction is that regardless of what they call the new hardware, Microsoft-developed and -built products will hopefully incorporate Nokia designs and focus on mobility.

Apple vs. Samsung: The saga continues

The long-drawn out battle between Apple and Samsung over patent infringement will continue in 2014 and beyond. The two companies have been embroiled in a bitter legal battle since April 2011 when Apple filed a lawsuit accusing Samsung of copying the look and feel of its products. Samsung countersued two months later over patent infringement.

Unlocked phones hit the mainstream

 This could finally be the year that US consumers get access to a wider variety of unlocked phones. For years wireless operators have controlled which devices can be used on their networks by forcing manufacturers to put software locks on them. And though there have been a few mobile devices sold without such locks, such as the Google Nexus phones and the new Motorola G just announced this fall, most devices even if they are paid for in full, have these locks. But there could be a greater variety of unlocked devices at different price-points hitting the US market in 2014.

LG re-emerges as a hot Android device maker, while HTC’s star fades

LG’s presence in the US smartphone market has waned in recent years. But it looks like the company started to get its mojo back in 2013 with the introduction of some new high-end devices. …

While LG’s star may be rising, HTC’s seems to be fading. It’s likely to be another tough year for the Taiwanese mobile phone maker. Despite releasing its critically acclaimed smartphone, the HTC One, this year, the company also reported its first ever financial loss. And it’s not likely the company’s financials will rebound anytime soon.

Read Marguerite’s full predictions at CNet >>>

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Marguerite’s predictions? Are there any changes to the mobile world that you see coming up in 2014?

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