What NOT to expect in tech in 2011

Android-based smart phones will not even begin to eclipse Apple Inc.’s iPhone in 2011 despite Android winning the device shipment volume race. That’s just one global prediction of what will definitely not happen in 2011, according to ABI Research Inc.

“We will see a push on low-cost Android devices that don’t nearly have the technology capabilities of an iPhone,” said Victoria Fodale, senior analyst for mobile devices at New York-based ABI Research Inc.

Android-based smart phones may have outrun the iPhone on shipment numbers, but the comparison cannot be all quantifiable. Fodale said the iPhone’s combination of hardware and software gives it a certain elegance.

“It might not be for everybody but it’s an experience that sets the bar,” said Fodale.

According to New York-based research firm NPD Group Inc., Google Android shipments surpassed Apple at the start of 2010 to take the second place position behind Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry.

In Q1 2010, Android held 28 per cent of the market share, RIM held 36 per cent, and Apple was at 21 per cent, according to NPD Group “As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smart phone market share,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD Group.

Research from ABI Research takes these figures further to show that Linux-based smart phones will outpace the rate of growth of the overall smart phone market by 2015.

Android’s failure to beat the iPhone in the smart phone race in 2011 is among the annual non-predictions that ABI Research is again making for the IT industry globally in a reverse approach to foretelling technology happenings, the sort that predicts what definitely won’t happen.

The BlackBerry will not be eclipsed by the iPhone is another prediction by ABI Research. The BlackBerry emerged from within the enterprise whereas the iPhone has its roots in the consumer market. “The BlackBerry was purpose-built for the enterprise,” said Fodale. “They have deep, deep architecture around security.”

Fodale said while industries such as banking are steadfast committed to using the BlackBerry, employees will continue to bring the iPhone into the enterprise especially as IT departments increasingly allow and support them.

Acceptance by the IT department may give the iPhone a bit of a push, said Fodale, but not enough to out-do the BlackBerry.

Another non-prediction by ABI Research is that Apple’s iPad won’t be superseded by other rival tablets even if those tablets came to market first. An impressive integration of hardware and software aside, Fodale said brand and the funds to market that brand has much to do with the iPad’s success.

“It means something,” said Fodale. “But when you think of Android, what does it mean? It might mean Google. But there’s not really an Android experience.”

Apple, on the other hand, offers an appealing user experience in addition to a loyal following. “It’s kind of scary how Apple fans are really ideological about it,” said Fodale.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau  

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