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Chetan Sharma Releases 2012 Mobile Predictions

David Murphy

The analyst, Chetan Sharma, has released the results of its 2012 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey, based on a questionnaire, answered by 150 executives, developers and insiders from established mobile companies and startups from across the value chain.

In releasing the results, the firm points out that in the waning hours of 2011, we crossed the 6bn subscriptions milestone, noting that, while the first billion subs took 19 years, the last billion took just took 15 months.

Chetan Sharma estimates that by the end of Q4 2011, over 60 per cent of the devices sold in the US were smartphones, and over 30 per cent of global sales were for the evolved brethren of “primordial featurephones”. Sparked by insatiable consumer demand for mobile data, LTE and HSPA+ networks are sprouting all over the planet, with US leading the charge for broadband deployment.

According to the survey, the most newsworthy event/issue in mobile in 2011 was the rise and domination of Android, followed by the passing away of Steve Jobs. The biggest mobile stories of 2012 are forecast to be the continued growth of mobile data around the world, followed by Amazon’s entry into the mobile arena; Microsoft/Nokia resurgence; 4G deployment and marketing battles; and Google and Android.

Some key questions for the year, says Chetan Sharma, are: Will Microsoft/Nokia devices make any meaningful progress? Will RIM survive the year? Facebook IPO and its mobile ambitions? And will Apple continue to dominate on both smartphone and tablet front?

The survey also asked what applications will define 4G, and names video, cloud computing, and access as the most likely suspects. When asked what will be the breakthrough category in mobile in 2012, for the second year in a row, respondents opted for mobile payments and mobile commerce. Mobile advertising has become mainstream, so it lost its ranking in the top three. And in answer to the question, ‘Who will make the biggest mobile acquisition in 2012?’ respondents said they expected Microsoft and Google to continue making the biggest acquisitions. Finally, respondents concluded that there is a better chance of humans discovering water on another planet than the rise of another significant mobile OS.

You can read the full survey results here.