William Dudley, group director of product management at SAP, the Germany-based software giant, is weighing in with some mobile-industry predictions for 2013. Among them is a victory for Research In Motion and its new BlackBerry 10 operating system over smartphones based on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform.
Dudley believes Windows Phone will surpass Bada and Symbian this year, but will fail to keep up with RIM's BlackBerry 10, which will "[bring] new life to BlackBerry as its innovative LTE models hit the streets." The updated operating system is set to debut on Jan. 30 with the launch of at least two new handsets.
Among Dudley's other predictions:
- LTE build-out will be significant around the world, with the number of networks doubling by the end of the year. There will be more than 200 commercial LTE networks by Dec. 31. Of those, more than 50 will support commercial LTE roaming with other networks, Dudley said. These LTE networks will open the door for further rollout of rich communications services (RCS) — at least 35 operators will support RCS by the end of 2013.
- The SMS-enabled OTT/NUVO community will expand outside the U.S. to Western Europe and Asia Pacific, providing opportunities for SMS-enabled over-the-top (OTT) providers to help stabilize SMS traffic. SMS will remain the dominant medium worldwide, with Apple's market share remaining in the 15-17 percent range as more non-iOS devices hit the market.
- Customer engagement via mobile device will become more mainstream. The top 10 shopping apps will help push both retailers and brands. There will be more mobile customer-relationship management (CRM) solution apps to engage customers, offering more coupons and rewards to build brand loyalty.
- Look for more options for point-of-sale (PoS) payments through PayPal, Apple's Passbook and others without near-field communications (NFC) technology; however, more devices featuring NFC will enter the market. The next iPhone, Dudley says, will indeed have NFC support, something that's been often rumored for the Silicon Valley giant's iconic handset, but has never come to fruition.
- Big Data: Mobile operators will begin to understand the importance of the data contained within their call-detail records (CDRs). That data will be brought into the cloud where service providers can run behavioral analytics to provide aggregated demographics, protecting consumer identities, which can be used to better engage the consumers, Dudley said.
Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.