Juniper Research has gathered together a list of its top ten predictions for the coming year, led by its forecasts for the effect of financial conditions and the impact of the 2012 Olympics in London.

Top Ten Wireless Predictions for 2012:

1. Recession Likely to Hit Smart Device Sales

2. London 2012 to Boost Mobile Advertising and M-Gambling, and Kickstart NFC

3. Mobile Coupons to Drive mCommerce Market Despite Economic Stagnation

4. 2012 – The Year of the Quad-Core Processor

5. Windows 8 OS to Fuel Nokia Revival & Disrupt Tablet Market

6. 2012 to see High Profile Malware Attacks on Mobile Devices

7. MEMs Accelerometers and Gyroscopes to Transform Sensor Market for Mobile Devices

8. Social Gaming to Become a Major Mobile Play with Introduction of Synchronous Gaming

9. Online, Mobile and Physical Will Begin to Fuse into One Retail Market

10. Cloud Mobility to Drive Collaborative Communications

Going deeper, the first prediction indicates that recessionary conditions will hit the tablet market, with sales of premium devices flat at best while consumers opt for nothing or perhaps go for a lower-priced competitor like Amazon’s Kindle Fire or those from Archos. Juniper expects smartphones to be less affected, although the recession will be felt in countries where devices are not subsidized by carriers.

The impact of the London 2012 Olympics is much more positive. Juniper foresees a happy year for companies involved with location-based advertising and marketing. It also expects to see a significant growth in augmented reality implementations using both image recognition and markerless tracking techniques. NFC (Near Field Communications) may expand beyond developed Asia as well, thanks to Lloyds TSB, Samsung and Visa’s interest in the event. Additionally, the research firm predicts a spike in mobile gambling. Not just on Olympics events, either – the U.S. may not care, but the rest of the world is eagerly anticipating the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer tournament which similarly is held once every four years.

Third on Juniper’s list is growth in mobile couponing, driven by straitened finances combined with increased use of phones for transactions. Fourth is quad-core processors becoming more common, improving both performance and battery life, a development that will definitely please fans of mobile gaming.

Jupiter is most controversial with its fifth prediction: Microsoft and Nokia will thrive. The researchers point out that the next Microsoft OS will span the entire device ecosystem of smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, providing a unified experience for developers to target. Since Nokia is moving over to Microsoft’s platform, the global market leader could be set to restore luster to its crown.

The next two predictions are impossible to disagree with. At number six, there will be high-profile malware attacks on most mobile operating systems.

Next, systems like accelerometers and gyroscopes will become commonplace. What’s interesting about that is the dramatic increase in advertising, marketing and gaming applications Juniper expects will result.

Juniper’s final three predictions are important but unsurprising to anyone following the mobile space; social games will become synchronous, meaning players can participate at the same time rather than wait for a notification that it’s their turn; retail will blur the lines between online, mobile and physical even further; and corporations will develop and use collaborative mobile communications.

The entire white paper is available for download HERE.

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