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2013 Wrap-up. 2014 Predictions, Part IV.

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22nd December 2003

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Microsoft

Even before Microsoft announced that it was taking over Nokia's handset business it was clear that without Nokia sales of Windows phones would be insignificant. Microsoft's track history in mobile phones has not been great, but the company does seem to learn from its mistakes and it understands very well that smartphones and tablets will be the key future battleground that it needs to fight it out in.

Microsoft is almost uniquely placed to sell to businesses and other organisations, and if BlackBerry collapses then Microsoft are likely to be the main beneficiary. Although the long-term prospects for Microsoft are not clear, there is still plenty of fight left in this firm and it will continue to try to grow market share.

Google

Google's Android OS dominates the smartphone market, but it doesn't make any money from it.. as far as Google is concerned it exists as a way to funnel users into its products and towards its advertisers. During 2013 Android devices typically outsell iOS devices by two or three to one, which is an impressive slice of the market.

However, as Google attempts to keep the Android OS fresh it also runs the risk of breaking popular applications with ill-thought-out updates as some users of Google Maps, GMail and Play Music might agree.

Other companies to watch

ASUS's relationship with Google has come up with some interesting tablet devices and we hope that continues into 2014. Huawei and ZTE are still trying to break into markets worldwide, but Huawei in particular faces a tough time in some markets with accusations that is has a close relationship with Chinese intelligence. 2014 should finally see the YotaPhone, a dual-screen device which sadly will probably not change the world and the interesting Jolla smartphone with its own OS.

There are of course thousands of firms making mobile phones covering many different niches. But to jump from a small player to a major competitor is a huge step.. but just perhaps we will see interesting advances from smaller firms in 2014 which will encourage continued innovation throughout the marketplace.

Finally

This wraps up our coverage for 2013, our tenth anniversary year. From next year we will be changing our emphasis a little with a closer look at retro devices rather than trying to cover every new release. We hope you will like the changes!

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