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2012 Wrap-up. 2013 Predictions, Part III.

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1st January 2013

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 Motorola Mobility Motorola Mobility

Despite being taken over by Google, Motorola continued to struggle during 2012 even with a quite  Motorola RAZR HD decent range of mobile devices under its belt. A refreshed RAZR range has certainly helped to raise their profile, but the long-term future of Motorola is still unclear, especially given Google's reputation for shutting acquisitions down.

Motorola itself has pulled out of most Asian markets, and certain interesting handsets are only released in limited markets. Their dismal handset range in 2008 and 2009 led to many carriers dropping them altogether, and it has been a long road to get Motorola handsets back on shelves in many markets.

Will Google keep the patents and sell the handset business? It's certainly a possibility, but who would actually want it? The future for Moto still looks uncertain.

 Sony Sony

Despite launching a mass of very decent devices, Sony has struggled to get traction in the  Sony Xperia U market. But overshadowing difficulties with the mobile business are massive losses for Sony as a whole, losing 520 billion yen (about €4.7 billion) during 2012.

But few companies have the capabilities of Sony, with interests in all areas of consumer entertainment, and the "Sony" name is still a very desirable thing to have on a gadget.. so there is hope yet that Sony can turn their fortunes around.

2012 also saw the demise of the "Sony Ericsson" name as Sony headed off by themselves. This went hand-in-hand with a complete redesign of their handsets, achieving an consistent and very smart look across the entire Sony range.

 

 BlackBerry RIM / BlackBerry

RIM managed to announced just two low-end devices during 2012, which is clearly a sign of a company in trouble. But the unfolding disaster at RIM is huge, with sales collapsing as the  BlackBerry Curve 9320 existing BlackBerry OS platform looks increasingly like a relic from the last decade. BlackBerry hope to launch a new OS next year based on the QNX platform.. but they've been working on that for over two years now and no matter how good it will be, it is likely to be irrelevant by the time it comes out.

Is there anything that RIM can do to turn things around? Probably not. CEO Thorsten Heins has been criticised for not understanding the danger that the company is in, but even if he does take action it is likely to be too late to restore RIM to its former glory.

 HTC HTC

In our opinion, no company has done more to define and develop the modern smartphone than HTC. This Taiwanese company created the first smartphones on both the Windows and Android  HTC One X operating systems, and it has made some good looking and popular devices in that time. However, in the past couple of years it seems to have lost the initiative somewhat, and is struggling to compete against the marketing might of Samsung.

Perhaps HTC might merge with another company in the future, although it is equally possible that they could turn around their declining fortunes with some canny marketing. As with Nokia, a competitive HTC benefits the industry as a whole.. we hope they can regain some of their former sparkle.

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