As a reporter, commentator and blogger on mobile technology, I’ve collected what happened in the industry in 2013 and make predictions on what will and won’t happen in 2014.
You can read what did happen in the mobile technology in 2013. Often I deliver a comment with the news item and usually there is a link to the web page of the original announcement. This way you can dive into any detail level you desire, read my news feed for the overview or follow the related web link to the longer article.
History is moving so fast now that it is all recorded electronically, but I’m surprised no one else has collected it and presented it for consideration. Here is 2013 from the mobile technology industry for your consideration along with my own observations and opinions about where things are headed.
It’s often overlooked that the technology industry is an industry. By that I mean its main concerns are profit and growth. As consumers we love the new products and unique abilities we are gaining from technology, but it is a business akin to any other, trying to seduce us to pry money out of our wallets. So I cover the horse race aspect of the business, who’s up, who’s down. Is that changing? Is that likely to change?
The longer implications of what the technology industry is doing are vast and social. We are moving to an always on, always connected society where we can communicate with someone instantly and find an answer to any question quickly. The entire database of human knowledge is now available in the palm of your hand whenever you desire it. Everything is there, the good, the bad, right and wrong, hate and love, music and noise. We are obsessed with technology, not in and of itself, but as a means to an end. Technology is the means to satisfy our curiosity or even our desire for self-expression. We are taking photos machine gun-style with our smartphones and choose the few to share. As humans we are gathering ever more data about ourselves and sharing more about ourselves than we probably thought possible.
Bill Gates was once asked why the computer industry had generated so much improvement in its products over a relatively few years. He gave some boring answer about Moore’s Law, but the real answer is that computers are in their teenage years. They are growing and growing. They will not always do so. So too the technology industry is in a state of rapid change. I see the shift to smaller devices as a new paradigm, smashing some businesses and growing others into giants. Their stories are here in the news.
In short here are predictions for what won’t and will happen in 2014 for the mobile technology industry, breakdowns of marketshare figures on the horse race aspect of the business, chapters on Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Blackberry, Amazon, Yahoo, news about social media giants Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, SnapChat and the carriers themselves Verizon, AT&T, Sprint andT-Mobile. You can also review my 2013 mobile predictions and see my track record on predictions.
Finally there are some essays on how all this mobile tech is figuring into our lives.
I’ve divided the news into the subjects it covers, but also put in the appendix all the news as it came out in chronological ordering. You can read the firehose of events in the appendix, or just read about one topic at a time in the earlier chapters.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: 2014 Predictions
Chapter 2: Mobile Marketshare
Chapter 3: Apple
Chapter 4: Samsung
Chapter 5: Google
Chapter 6: Microsoft
Chapter 7: Nokia
Chapter 8: Blackberry
Chapter 9: Amazon
Chapter 10: Social Media
Chapter 11: Yahoo
Chapter 12: Carriers
Chapter 13: 2013 Predictions
Chapter 14: Essays
Mobile technology is huge in our lives today. You’re probably carrying a smartphone, going to work with a desktop or laptop during the day and web surfing on your couch with a tablet. We’ve moved into a constantly connected, always on, continuously communicating lifestyle. This would not be possible without technology and the tech industry has been going through a big upheaval with the migration to ever more mobile devices.
It all started in 2007 with the introduction of the Apple iPhone, but like most tech products, it was really an evolution based on all that came before it. I can say this because I’ve worked in the technology industry for 30 years and have watched the incredible rise of microelectronic devices in our lives.
In June 2010 I began reporting the tech news I read into my @pdxmobile Twitter account, so named because I live in Portland, Oregon (PDX is the local airport designation) and mobile is where all the technology action is nowadays. I worked in the tech industry because I was an enthusiast for the products. As an engineer I helped design some or helped on equipment used to build others. I feel this gives me insight into how things get put together before they’re made available to the public.
I gather most of my news online now, or at in-person meetings that the tech community love such as Lunch 2.0, CHIFOO (Computer Human Interface Forum of Oregon), Barcamp, Ignite Portland, PDX Breakfast, WebVisions, Dorkbot, Open Source Bridge, Android User Group, PDX Cocoaheads, InnoTech, Drupalcon, Chirp, Beer and Blog, PADNUG and other meetups. It’s a big wild tech world out there and I enjoy being part of it as an engineer, a consumer of tech goodies, a visionary on my blog at pdxmobile.com and just a watcher of all things technological.
The 140 character limit of an utterance imposes a brevity that makes the tweeter get right to the point. Living within this harsh constraint you'll find SwamiRoberts or @swamiroberts on Twitter. The Swami began tweeting in 2010 when something became important enough to comment about.
While the Swami offers up opinions on many topics, most can be classified into the categories: Work, Wise, Love, Cash, Soul, Joke, Tech, Twitter and Food. These are the chapters of the book with insights onto each.
Language is a fascination of the Swami. Recently the phrase "throwing sheep" came to mean offering up a pointless or senseless comment. The Swami strives to avoid throwing sheep, but on occasion will refrain from seriousness. Often there is a serious side to the Swami and a truth inside the funny comment. The Love and Soul chapters are more serious than the other sections, although fans of Dilbert or Office Space will find the truths in the Work chapter familiar.
The world around us is the inspiration for the Swami. Here in Portland, Oregon food carts have exploded all over town. I just don't recall seeing very many before 2009, but now they are everywhere. One such food cart sold mini (small) sandwiches. Eating one such sandwich inspired the Swami tweet: "When you are very hungry eat a mini-sandwich and you will only be hungry."
2012 was the year that the ancient Mayans predicted as the end of the world, or at least some kind of apocalypse happening. In the chapter Wise there are eleven apocalypse survival tips the Swami gives you. My favorite is tip number one: "Do not warn others about the coming apocalypse."
In the past it was only the court jester that could speak the truth safely to the king. Of course even the jester had to be cautious and was careful to conceal his insight with humor. Take the Swami in the same vein. There be truth in these tweets.
twisdom has an entire chapter on Twitter and while it's not exactly a course in manners, there are dos and don'ts -- not just for Twitter, but also for Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Google+ and any other social network. The Swami also has some thoughts on the differences between these social networks.
There are a few quotes in this book. Paul Bingman was a close personal friend who died in 2011. I really wish he was here to read this book, although he did read the Swami's tweets and had fun feedback. Paul's quote is "All you really have is your time and your attention." That was the philosophy of at least his later years, where Paul always strove to help others and do the good he could while also having some fun.
You might take the Swami in small doses. You might gorge your eyes and mind with a long good read. I find myself reading the Swami when I'm feeling lost or down and the Swami always picks me up a bit. Here's hoping the Swami lifts you to a higher self too.
But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?
Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:
“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”
Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?
Developing video games—hero's journey or fool's errand? The creative and technical logistics that go into building today's hottest games can be more harrowing and complex than the games themselves, often seeming like an endless maze or a bottomless abyss. In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Jason Schreier takes readers on a fascinating odyssey behind the scenes of video game development, where the creator may be a team of 600 overworked underdogs or a solitary geek genius. Exploring the artistic challenges, technical impossibilities, marketplace demands, and Donkey Kong-sized monkey wrenches thrown into the works by corporate, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels reveals how bringing any game to completion is more than Sisyphean—it's nothing short of miraculous.
Taking some of the most popular, bestselling recent games, Schreier immerses readers in the hellfire of the development process, whether it's RPG studio Bioware's challenge to beat an impossible schedule and overcome countless technical nightmares to build Dragon Age: Inquisition; indie developer Eric Barone's single-handed efforts to grow country-life RPG Stardew Valley from one man's vision into a multi-million-dollar franchise; or Bungie spinning out from their corporate overlords at Microsoft to create Destiny, a brand new universe that they hoped would become as iconic as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings—even as it nearly ripped their studio apart.
Documenting the round-the-clock crunches, buggy-eyed burnout, and last-minute saves, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels is a journey through development hell—and ultimately a tribute to the dedicated diehards and unsung heroes who scale mountains of obstacles in their quests to create the best games imaginable.