2009 Predictions, Part 2

And we roll on from Part 1 with the second installment of my 2009 predictions…

6. WiMAX networks become a success, at least in the US.

WiMAX largely been a moot point in the US thus far, but it should enter the mainstream in 2009. It’ll find success as more WiMAX-capable devices emerge, in all sorts of form factors, but also because WiMAX operators like Clearwire aren’t burdened with legacy networks they don’t want to cannibalize.

7. Mobile transactions take off in Europe and the US.

Note I said transactions, and not payments. Using the mobile phone as a transaction platform — for things like public tranportation ticketing, airline boarding passes, coupons and so on — will take off in 2009 in Western Europe and the US. I specify transactions and not payments because I think payments will remain stuck in neutral for the time being, because the value chain is a mess, with too many people wanting cuts of the action and too little harmonization of technology among the various parties. But transactions that can be carried out without something like NFC, for instance boarding passes and coupons using on-screen barcodes, will start to be a hit.

8. By the end of 2009, I’ll be able to count the failure of at least 5 mobile startups whose products I really enjoy or use.

The news about Trutap from a few weeks ago was pretty disheartening, but I have a feeling that it’s just the tip of the iceberg for 2009, as lots of startups (in mobile and elsewhere) will get caught out between pre-profitability and a lack of further funding.

9. Unless Android gets put into a really sexy device, it’ll stay in the background.

Android’s functionality is pretty solid. It’s biggest problem so far is the hunk of plastic that is the T-Mobile G1. Having all that nice software is wonderful, but until you can put it in a package that itself becomes an object of desire for normobs (see iPhone), all you’ve got is something for geeks, nerds and early adopters. The iPhone’s software is, by many normobs’ accounts, great. But what got it into so many pockets was the combination of function and fashion.

10. Term of the year: “app store.”

Everybody will want one, have one, or talk about having one. See already O2 Litmus, Android Market, etc etc etc. Still, this newfound fondness for applications won’t see operators stop trying to screw developers, nor will it make all of these new app stores successful.

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