Early this year, and late last year, tech blogs were rife with speculation about what would transpire in 2014. Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon and many others featured prominently as potentially delivering new devices and innovative new services, but how accurate were the “digital press” exactly? Let’s take a look back.
No one generates event-buzz quite like Apple, so expectations at the beginning of 2014 were high. One thing that analysts and journalists predicted accurately was Apple finally jumping on-board the “phablet” trend. Of course, it has to be said that many expected the announcement of a 5-inch iPhone back in 2013, so this has long been on the cards.
The long-expected “iWatch” was also announced at the 2014 keynote, mirroring many of the same features found in Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.
TechnologyTell, among others, predicted that a long-time rumour would become a tangible product in 2014 with a 4k Apple Television. For the uninformed, the idea of Apple breaking into the TV manufacturing market has been around for some time – the reality is that it’s unlikely to ever happen, given the logistical complexity of the industry, Apple’s lack of hard manufacturing power and the tight margins involved.
We finally got the long-rumoured Amazon-branded smartphone, the Fire in 2014, but its reception so far has been somewhat muted. Certainly The Examiner’s prediction that it was a “smartphone to blow all others away” was perhaps a tad hyperbolic, given hindsight of course. However, they were spot on regarding Amazon Prime growing into more than just a next-day delivery service, given the expansion of the Amazon Prime streaming service.
ABC News, slightly over-optimistically predicted Amazon rolling out their “drone delivery” service. Whilst the service would certainly be a gigantic game changer for the online-retail giant, they’ve since run into significant hurdles with the Federal Aviation Authority about regulations of unmanned drones, which, according to recent sources, are pushing them to take testing of the drones outside US borders.
Google’s Chromebook slowly but steadily gained traction in 2014, something that was expected by many analysts. Interestingly, this ground is particularly pronounced in certain areas, such as education – a tentative prediction for 2015 given this is that it could lead to increasing competition between Amazon and Google in the education industry, particularly given Amazon’s big plans here.
2014 was supposed to be “the year of wearables” – including Google’s headline wearable product, Google Glass and CES 2014 was billed to be the battleground of these devices. In reality we haven’t seen much of Google Glass, in spite of a limited rollout to developers – reviewers blame lacklustre performance for part of this, but the reality is that the Oculus Rift and competing “VR” products have stolen much of this thunder, particularly since the Facebook purchase of the former.
As expected, Surface Pro 3 tablets were released and Microsoft, now under new leadership since August, has progressively sidelined its RT products. Perhaps unexpectedly, the Xbox One has also managed to beat-back naysayers and claw back a respectable position in the US marketplace.
TechRadar, among others, expected Microsoft to change Windows’ product update cycle into something resembling Apple’s (yearly versioned updated) – With 2014 being the year in which “8.2” was released. In reality, Microsoft have moved the bulk of their development efforts over to the irregularly versioned “10.0”. Plans for future revisions to the much-maligned 8 platform remain to be seen.
A fairly unanimous prediction, echoed by most was that Samsung would continue to push 4k on both TVs and handsets. Whilst Samsung handsets (and handsets in general) have been slow to push the 4k trend, UHDTVs are seeing significant support across the board from all TV manufacturers and are becoming increasingly visible on the shop floor. The price point isn’t yet at a point to trigger widespread adoption, but it’s only a matter of years before it becomes affordable.
Samsung’s long-expected deal to launch a Tizen phone (the OS they co-developed with Intel) didn’t happen in 2014, despite a great deal of expectation that it would – that expectation is now piling on an expected Indian release this month (December). In reality it represents a stark departure from Tizen’s debut party in 2013, which was marked by a glitzy event hosted by Samsung themselves and the Korean conglomerate must have since toned down their expectations surrounding it.
Similarly, Samsung’s wearable “Galaxy Gear” has thus-far received a frosty reception, prompting many to cast doubts on Apple’s own predictions for their wearable smartwatch.
Speaking more broadly, Samsung has probably seen the gloomiest year out of all the big tech players, with analysts turning increasingly bearish about their prospects.
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Categories: Industry opinion