10 Predictions for Android in 2013

by: David GilsonJanuary 12, 2013


A lot can happen in a year, and it’s probably foolish to predict what might happen, but we’ll have a go anyway! Android has been doing incredibly well the last few years, and 2013 is set to be no different. As the New Year begins, there’s still time to make some predictions about what might happen in the coming months of 2013. Also, see our article on Technologies we’re looking forward to in 2013.

1. Android in the living room

2012 saw the announcements of the Nexus Q and Ouya console, these followed Google’s seemingly unending efforts to make the Google TV system gain traction with consumers. Given Android’s versatility, we may see Google scrap Google TV and work with OEMs to create more Android powered Smart TVs and set top boxes. While the Nexus Q didn’t live long, it was more of a marketing failure (including pricing) than a technical failure. Given Google’s efforts to get movies available in the Play Store, having Android take over the living room makes more sense than Google TV.

2. Google Wireless

Google’s history with carriers has been something of a Faustian Pact as at the time of its launch, OEMs and carriers alike were looking for a platform that they could have more freedom to control – e.g. custom skins and carrier bloatware. The Nexus 4’s lack of LTE showed that Google, for whatever reason, was unable or unwilling to work with carriers on developing an LTE device. Therefore, we may see Google creating its own wireless network, either by buying an entire network in the USA or (more likely) creating its own MVNO.

3. Android 5.0 features

It’s a safe bet that at this year’s Google IO, we’ll see the Android 5.0 release, but what will it bring? It’s likely we’ll see even more performance updates, and that there will be a significant user interface update. To keep up with the social integration of Windows Phone, we should expect to see better social integration with the People app in Android.

4. More wireless charging

The Nexus 4 came with Qi wireless charging – contrary to Google’s PMA wireless charging deal with Starbucks. Despite that, Qi still looks like it will become the de facto standard, especially since Nokia has adopted it in its latest Lumia devices. However, OEMs need to agree on the implementation – The Verge recently found devices made by different companies weren’t fully compatible yet. We can hopefully see Android OEMs follow the example of the Nexus 4 and include wireless charging as standard.

5. More colors

Nokia’s Lumia devices are notable for the range of bright colors they are available in. HTC has followed this trend with its Windows Phone 8X and 8S phones. The Android may also see a splash of colour if OEMs decide that the Windows Phone makers are setting a trend that is worth capturing.

6. Android tablet sales overtake iPad sales

This prediction is more of a gamble but we have already have data suggesting that Android tablets will outsell iPads by mid-2013 (source). The tablet market is growing, and as it does the section of the market that can afford Nexus 7s but not iPads is going to grow. Further to this, tablet sales are replacing eReader sales (source). Again, the section of people who are expecting prices lower than offered by Apple is going to grow. This has all happened before in the smartphone market – it’s what we call commoditisation.

7. Bigger batteries

In light of the capacious batteries on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Motorola Razr Maxx, we might just start to see a new trend towards larger batteries besting the trend of thinner and lighter devices. One of the biggest geek complaints with smartphones in general is battery life. The fore mentioned devices show that extra battery life need not make a device too much like a brick. If you disagree, how many tweets have you seen with people complaining that a phone was too thick, versus the number complaints you’ve seen about battery life?

8. Xenon flash

Since the first Android phone to have Xenon flash, the Motorola XT720, was released over two years ago, we have seen precious few phones out there with this superior photo flash technology. Xenon flash allows for much faster exposures, cutting down on image blur, really allowing your phone to freeze a moment of time. Of course, we do now have the Samsung Galaxy Camera, but this is not a phone. Samsung may take its experience with the Galaxy camera and import some of its technology into Galaxy S phones in an attempt to take the attention away from Nokia’s imaging prowess.

9. Drop in activation rates

I have no data for this one. However, the amount of daily Android activations, as reported by Google, has been growing to insane levels. The last reported figure was 900,000. On the grounds of economics and finite populations, I predict that this growth is not sustainable, and the growth rate will decline this year, possibly plateauing. This is on the basis that Google does not make a change to how it claims to count activations.

10. Nokia uses Android

This prediction is all but certain to not come true. However, with the constant uphill struggle faced by Windows Phone to gain market share, and Nokia’s struggle to actually turn a profit, the question of whether it should have replaced Symbian and MeeGo with Android never seems to go away. Stephen Elop was recently misquoted (well, mistranslated really) as saying “Today we are committed and satisfied with Microsoft, but anything is possible”. The actual quote from the Nokia CEO can be found here. This prediction makes it into the despite, not because of, that original news story.

  • Tony Raffini

    One of those android 5.0 features will be a stock unified messenger that combines all communications into one package. Having features from Talk, G+ Messenger, Hangouts and Google Voice.

  • creatorstar

    Good article :-)

  • longbow

    I believe there will be decline in android activation rate.
    Android user will still grow but not as aggressively as before.

    • MasterMuffin

      That’s what the article says… :)

  • MasterMuffin

    For android 5.0 I want to see a new cool (buttery smooth) UI that will win the design award again like 4.0 did :)

  • fran farrell

    My prediction: Apple patents the golden ratio and the Fibonacci Sequence. The G(r)eeks discovered that the golden ratio is the most eye-pleasing shape for a rectangle. Kodak and index-card makers have used 3×5 and 5×8 (Fibonacci Numbers) and Google frames HDTV (9:16) with a little extra for user controls. Other Fibonacci numbers 8×13, 13×21, 21×34 and 34×55 inch screens fit net-books, ultra-books, super-sized tablets and TVs for homes and home-offices.

    Great designers including English Architects have used it. It’s time Sir Ives.

  • Jared Persinger

    About the battery thing, I want more battery life not an ultra thin phone. Although both would be nice.

  • Roberto Tomás

    From Android 5.0 I want to see more integration with other devices: tvs, hdtv/gaming consoles, network storage. The phone and tablet should act as general input devices, coordinating with the tv, the radio, etc.

    I’d like the phone or tablet to be the primary personal computing device, with tethered things like consoles and storage reserved for home/cloud usage.

    I want an actual SATA-driven NAS option from Android! Even using yesteryear tech, the memory bandwidth and cpu is plenty enough to drive at least 1 full SATA3 ssd. I am going to call it a conspiracy if there isn’t at least one ~$50-$100 option by the end of the year!

    I wish companies would offer flagship-calibre phones without rear camera, and 2 front facing cameras for 3d video capture and use as a make-shift gesture controller.

    I believe I will buy a tablet this year if it comes with a ~60-80gflop/s gpu and an OLED screen. The CPU is already entirely sufficient, but GPUs are still well short of that 240gflop/s console-replacement territory they’ve been teasing over the past few years.

  • Alex Murphy

    Good article! However, the last reported daily activations were over 1.2 million, a few months ago, and they continue to grow. With over 5+ billion people in developing nations still without smartphones, I only see this number increasing.

  • Another Android tablet maker worth a look at in 2013 is Ainol Electronics – which recently introduced a number of impressive, well-priced Android tablets and is also
    noted for winning Runner-Up for “Best Tablet of the Year” at CES 2012

    One of the first U.S. resellers to carry Ainol – Novo brand tablets is a site called TabletSprint — and this week the Novo 7 VENUS launched — a 7 inch tablet with a
    QUAD CORE processor for only $149 that takes on the Google Nexus 7 and other competitors for a lot less and offers a lot more — with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, a high resolution 1280×800 IPS screen, 16GB memory, a 4000 mAH battery, both front and rear cameras, a MicroSD memory card slot for unlimited storage, Google Play with access to 400K+ Apps, a MicroUSB port for connection to printers and other electronic devices, HDMI – to view personal videos and to download movies and watch in full 1080p (HD) on to a large screen TV, WiFi, Ethernet, and an option for 3G/4G connection. It’s also a great gaming device with its high resolution screen and motion gaming sensor. The site TabletSprint also offers a 7″ Compact Case with built-in Keyboard ($22) which easily transforms a tablet into a mini-laptop —

  • The last one is the best !