2008 Predictions

As we move into that Predictions time of the year, it’s worth just reviewing how I did on my thoughts of what 2008 would hold. It’s worth just saying that these things have a habit of sounding a little bleeding obvious now they’ve happened. But it’s not that easy – go on try it yourself and see how you do.

Top line is that I made 10 predictions and I reckon I got 8 about right and the jury will have to sit about the other two, as I’m not really sure if I qualify.

1. I said that one of the words of the year would be “privacy”, alongside Carlo’s “open” and I think this was pretty spot on. Scandal over Phorm, Chinese sms controversy, questions about Bluetooth proximity, the UK’s continuous loss of private data (and wait until ID cards are introduced), CCTV cameras, how much data operators should share with advertisers, sousveillance and Google’s StreetView – all these things made the news and these were just a few that spring to mind.

Privacy will continue to be a big story and I give myself a point.

2. 2008 will be the year of the mobile web.

The mobile web has exploded this year – I could use lots of measures here, but AdMob’s traffic has more than doubled and off a big base of 2 Billion pages a month (it’s now 5 Billion+) and much of that is simply organic growth of existing publishers. If there ever can be a year of anything (“when was the year of the car, the PC web or TV?” as Omar – AdMob’s founder quoth recently in a speech), 2008 was certainly the point where the mobile web started to go mainstream. But we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Anyway, I think you’d have to be a pretty curmudgeonly specimen on a bad day, after splitting up with his wife and whose dog had just got run over, to deny me a point for that one.

3. 3.5 Billion+ Phones

This was one given to me by our friend Tomi Ahonen, who said that we’d break through the 3.5 Billion milestone this year. Actually, we broke through 4 Billion, at least according to the marvellous little site Phone Count built by our friends at Mippin. Phone Count counts down towards the day when there will be as many phones as people – about 3 1/2 years apparently.

4. First projection phones

Ever wanted to re-create that scene with R2-D2 and Princess Leia (“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”)? Well it’s closer than you might think and yes, I was right that the first one would be launched and you can buy it here.

Admittedly, it’s not mainstream yet, but hey, that’s not what I said was it?

5. A Government will fall because of mobiles.

The mobile has become the most important tool in organising political protest, especially in countries with oppressive regimes and/or where broadband PC penetration is low. There’s still time for Zimbabwe to get rid of Mugabe before Christmas and mobiles have certainly played an important part in that opposition campaign. In which case, I would have earned my point.

In the meantime, I don’t suppose I can claim Obama’s victory, where mobile played a key role? No, I didn’t think so – you’re so hard!

I’ll write the other 5 up when time allows and anyway, you need to get on with something useful.

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