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2011 Wrap-up. 2012 Predictions, Part II.

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19th December 2011

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 Apple Apple

Almost everybody was expecting to see the iPhone 5 from Apple during 2011, but we got the iPhone 4S instead, oddly enough we got that prediction almost completely right. Rumours say that the iPhone 5 was  Apple iPhone 4S originally scheduled to be released instead of the iPhone 4S, but it was cancelled a few months before launch as Steve Jobs did not want to mess around with the iPhone's screen size and resolution too much. But after his untimely death, it is likely that Apple will want to match industry trends and release a bigger screen version of the phone.

Expect to see a replacement for the iPad 2, but possibly not the iPad 3, during 2012. There's a fair chance that Apple might make a 7 inch version of the iPad as that does seem like a viable market niche.

As with 2010 and 2011, Apple will continue to be at the centre of several bitter lawsuits over patents during 2012.

 Nokia Nokia

2011 was a highly turbulent year for Nokia, a company that tore itself away from its roots and  Nokia Lumia 800 aligned itself with Microsoft and Windows Phone 7.5 during 2011. Nokia's new Windows phones are looking promising, but it will be a while before we can judge their market success. However, across the board sales slumped and the stock price took a very big hit.

This year saw the first and last MeeGo phone, the Nokia N9. Symbian finally came of age with Symbian Belle, just as Nokia start to wind down their Symbian line.  Nokia N9 We don't know when the last Symbian handset will be launched, but we do expect to see handsets running this OS still be announced through to the end of 2012.

At the bottom end of the market, Nokia continue to innovate with dual-SIM phones, their distinctive "Touch and Type" range plus the new Asha line-up of value feature phones. Nokia have struggled against rivals Samsung in this sector, but we think that Nokia have the edge when it comes to innovation in the value end of the market.

2012 will be a difficult year for Nokia, but it is in everybody's interest that it remains a competitive and strong player, but it may never again be the dominant player it was a few years ago.

 Motorola Motorola

During 2011 Motorola Mobility showed itself to be one of the most competitive smartphone makers, coming up with some very powerful and desirable Android devices such as the RAZR. But during  Motorola RAZR 2012 the company will be taken over by Google (pending regulatory approval), and this has the potential to make things very different.

What will Google do with Motorola? Allow it to go on as it is? Pump it full of money to dominate the smartphone market? Or raid it for patents and then sell it on. Unfortunately, we suspect that Google is really interested in the patent collection, and in our guess Google may look at divesting itself of the hardware business during 2013.

Despite questions over the long-term direction of Motorola, we think that it will certainly be a manufacturer to watch during 2012, certainly an improvement over some recent years when the company lost direction.

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