What to expect in the mobile space the rest of the year

Summary:No question 2012 has been an exciting one in the mobile space, and it is going to continue for the rest of the year. We will see a flood of unique tablets, and the phone space is going to heat up, too.

As the excitement over the iPhone 5 wanes, it is easy to assume the mobile space will get quiet for a while. This isn't going to be the case, as the remaining months in 2012 look to be big for mobile technology.

Tablets on the way

Kindle Fire HD 8.9

While only a rumor, the iPad Mini is expected to arrive in October to much fanfare. In the past it has not been prudent to put much stock in rumors about Apple's products, but given the total leak of iPhone 5 information the small iPad rumors hold more water.

An iPad Mini will set the Android tablet market on its ear. Android hasn't scratched a big share of tablet sales to date as the iPad has owned the market. A smaller version of the iPad would be in a position to grab even more of the market share from Android. The iPad Mini may be the biggest device launch of the entire year.

Amazon recently captured attention with the unveiling of the Kindle Fire HD line, and the 8.9-inch model will arrive in November. The Kindle Fire has already captured a bigger piece of the tablet market than Android tablets, and the HD version should continue that trend.

The hardware packed into the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is very good for the low price, and it should be a big seller for the holidays. It's not really an Android tablet with the proprietary interface from Amazon, and many prospective buyers will go for the simple operation over the more PC-like operation of Android tablets.

The tablet space will see a major happening late this year as the first Windows 8 tablets hit the market. The tablets based on Windows RT should appear with the release of Windows 8 toward the end of October.

Microsoft will have its Surface RT tablet with keyboard case on sale, and it could be a disruptor in the tablet world. That will largely depend on pricing, which Microsoft is not divulging yet.

Other major OEMs will be hitting the market at around the same time as the Surface, so tablets running Windows RT will be flooding the stores. Recent pricing information leaked would indicate that Windows RT tablets are going to be priced on the high side, but we'll see soon if that is the case.

We may seem some Windows 8 Pro tablets running full Windows this year. Microsoft stated its Surface Pro tablet will not be out until early next year, but other OEMs may look to beat that to market. Pricing of Windows Pro tablets is looking to be on the high side, but we should start seeing them late this year.

Tablets are going to be the big story for the rest of 2012, and there will be no shortage of new models to fight for buyer's dollars.

Smartphones poised for release

The big news in smartphones the rest of this year will be the release of Windows Phone 8. We've already been teased with looks at upcoming handsets from Nokia and HTC , and other OEMs will no doubt join the fray. 

Windows Phone 8 is looking to be a capable competitor to the big guys, Android and iOS, and pairing it with hardware that is state-of-the-art will capture attention. 

The iPhone 5 had the expected big release and will no doubt continue to have big sales for the rest of the year. There won't likely be any surprises from Apple coming soon, so the setting is ripe for Windows Phone 8 to get the attention Microsoft is hoping to get.

There will continue to be Android phones released throughout the year, but nothing on the horizon looks to be ground-breaking. There will probably be new handsets from the top players, a Samsung Galaxy S4 comes to mind, but it should be business as usual for Android phones.

RIM won't be releasing its next-generation BlackBerrys until next year, but will likely tease the faithful with regular information about BlackBerry 10 throughout the rest of the year. BB10 is looking pretty nice from what's been shown so far, but the details of the hardware will be the deciding factor for RIM.

Topics: Tablets, Apple, Microsoft, Smartphones, Windows

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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