16 Jan 2014

Tech’s winners and losers; 2013 edition

The technology industry rarely goes a week without something big and dramatic happening, and 2013 was no different. From the world’s largest tech organisations starting to see their dominance stutter, to the upstarts taking the world by storm, the IT industry remains exciting, dynamic, and unpredictable.

As we start the New Year, let’s take a look back into 2013’s tech winners and losers, to see where there industry might head through 2014.

The Winners:

Twitter: Unlike Facebook, when Twitter listed on the NYSE in 2013, it was largely seen as a success, and the company is off to a good start as a listed corporation, both in terms of share value and reputation. It also made a wise acquisition early in the year when it picked up Vine – the video equivalent of Twitter that encourages people to be creative with six second videos.

Gaming Units: Both Sony and Microsoft released new consoles late in 2013, and both have proven to be incredibly successful, with stock on the shelves limited, and expected to remain so well into the New Year. With Steam also preparing to launch their own gaming console for the massive library of games they support, gaming is also looking strong in 2014.

Tablets and Mobility: In the last 3 months of 2013, PC shipments totalled 82.6 million units; a 6.9 per cent decline from the same time in 2012. Results show that 2013 really was the year of the tablet, with sales increasing every month throughout the period and prices continuing to fall as computing power and functionality grow exponentially. With the availability of the $37.99 Datawind tablet, the downward pressure will continue throughout 2014 and we will continue to see tablets taken up in a business environment.

Streaming On-Demand Content: We don’t even have Netflix in Australia, but it’s a behemoth of an entertainment company that’s doing for TV and movies what iTunes did to music many years ago; completely disrupt the incumbent business models. It saw great success as the producer of House of Cards, too; proof that it’s a genuine competitor to other premium TV services such as HBO. Should this service finally land in Australia in 2014, expect it to be a game changer.

Mobile Apps and Applications: While mobile apps have been with us for some time, 2013 was a big year for businesses sitting up and taking notice of the trend. With an app for almost everything, every business needs one to either make internal operations more efficient, or to interact with their consumer base.

The Losers:

Smart watches: 2013 saw the launch of a plethora of smart watches, each with different functionality and target markets, but none that were a complete success. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear was undeniably innovative and first to market, but take up has been slow.  First out the gate counted for something, but you can be sure that Google’s Glass and Apple’s Watch (should it turn out to be more than a rumour), will have a better sense of design and functionality. The 2014 CES has also shown a new breed of smart watches from a number of other companies that might just get it right this year.

iPhone 5C: Despite a fairly successful year for Apple in general, there was one great misread of the market with the launch of the iPhone 5C along the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5C was more or less the iPhone 5 in more colourful packaging, and its sales – according to the carriers – lagged well behind the much more technologically advanced iPhone 5S.