As the end of the year rolls towards us, pundits and sycophants alike are beginning to make predictions about what companies, trends and products will skyrocket in the next 12 months and which will fade from public recollection.

The group of tech reporters who participated in the recent PRSA Media Predicts event definitely don’t fall into the latter camp, as they pulled no punches when discussing tech trends and products, including those of the event sponsors. The major predictions of the evening were:

  • Devices controlled by voice, swiping and gestures will continue to grow as this convergence in user interface makes the most sense for the mobile age.
  • With the growth of desktop virtualization, the hardware space is reaching an end of an era
    and acquisitions of major companies are expected.
  • There will be a major reset of market valuations, which are based on the actual worth of a company and its business model, rather than the inflated numbers that have been seen in 2011.
  • Privacy legislation will be top of mind for regulators, and clamp down on questionable practices utilized by a number of leading technology companies.
  • Apple will continue to produce smart and cool products, but it will operate differently
    than if Steve Jobs were at the helm of the company.
  • Google will scrap its Chromebook line and Chrome OS due to the company’s overextension into a number of tangential markets in a short period of time.
  • An Amazon phone may exist in the near future, along with a host of other hardware, as the company already has the content available to populate a number of options.
  • YouTube will continue to mature because its analytics will boot content creators’ ability to see viewers and build appropriately for their target audiences.
  • There will be a drop-off of social deals and couponing websites, including Groupon, as there is an oversaturation of the market space.

If even half of these predictions occur in 2012 it will be a year of great upheaval in the technology industry, as enterprise players continue to battle for dominance and consumer-focused companies fight to be heard in an increasingly crowded market.

As always, it will be interesting to look back a year from how to see which of these predictions came to fruition and which fizzled – unless the Mayans were right and December 21, 2012 is the end for all
of us – then it won’t matter.

— Caitlin Cassady is a senior account executive at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.