Joel usually posts his predictions for technology gear on Geek.com and after almost 2 years of maintaining this humble blog I finally decided to post my predictions for the mobile device market. Next year I will visit this list and see how I did, along with making more predictions. I will post 10 predictions, thus making it simple for me to calculate how I did next year:)
2005 Mobile Device Predictions
(1) The MDA IV/imate 2005/QTEK 5050 (all fictional names) will be released and this will find me selling my imate PDA2K to get this latest Phone Edition. This model from HTC will include the 2005 operating system and have a VGA display, 1.3 megapixel camera, 128MB RAM and 128MB ROM, QWERTY thumb keyboard with a display that swivels so you can use the keyboard in landscape or portrait mode (this may just be wishful thinking here), integrated Bluetooth 1.2 that works in headset and hands-free modes, and integrated WiFi.
(2) Windows Mobile 2005 will be released in August. It is almost certain this OS update will be released in 2005 so my prediction hinges on the month of release. This latest update should have improvements in the Office suite. I wish they would also improve some of the usability issues that I have provided feedback on, i.e. the ability to minimize the top and bottom toolbars for true full screen viewing in Word, Excel and other Windows Mobile applications, better Find feature that allows you to see how much space each app/document is taking up and where it is installed, improved Pocket Internet Explorer that has the features I get using PIEPlus (multiple windows, hardware button navigation, etc), better soft input panel in landscape mode, and better dialing support in Phone Edition devices.
(3) Dell will release a Windows Mobile Smartphone and Pocket PC Phone Edition. Dell will see the value of having phone features integrated in mobile devices and come out with a couple new devices. I love the Phone Edition platform and would like to see Dell enter this market.
(4) More Windows Mobile Smartphones will enter the US market with the latest WM2005 OS and Microsoft will finally start an advertising initiative to explain the power and versatility of these devices. Microsoft needs to provide this education to consumers if they want people to know there is a difference between a Smartphone and a standard phone with some of these basic capabilities provided by the carriers.
(5) A palmOne device will be released with integrated WiFi, but without Palm Cobalt (OS 6). After all the bad press and user feedback, palmOne finally figured out that WiFi was indeed important on high end devices. palmOne may actually start polling users before creating new devices.
(6) No Palm Cobalt devices will be released in 2005. I was holding out for a Palm Cobalt Sony CLIE UX device last year and those hopes were dashed on two fronts. While I sincerely hope a Cobalt device is released, I do not have much faith in palmOne at this time for 2005.
(7) The Treo 650 will be a hot seller and no additional model of Smartphone from palmOne will be released.
(8) Tapwave will release the Zodiac3 that will add integrated WiFi and a better web browser to the platform. It will still have 128MB RAM, integrated Bluetooth, and 2 SD slots to make it the BEST Palm Powered device on the market.
(9) PalmSource will release the developer code for Linux support, but no devices with this new OS will be released in 2005.
(10) Another Sharp Linux device will be released in 2005, but the U.S. will continue to be snubbed and it will only be available in Japan. This device will be like the Zaurus SL-3000 with integrated hard drive, but Sharp will finally include some wireless capabilities (both WiFi and Bluetooth) instead of requiring the users to have CF WiFi or Bluetooth SD cards.
So, do you think I am way off base or will some of these things come true in 2005. I do think 2005 will be an interesting year for mobile devices as we see how palmOne’s future shakes out, whether WM 2005 will be a worthy update, and if people drop the dedicated PDA for Smartphone devices.