tablet_thumb_2013.jpg CMSWire peers into the magic crystal ball to see what's coming from the likes of Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft and RIM in the coming year. 


Return of the RIM

Having just reviewed 2012, the first big act of 2013 is already pretty much set in stone. RIM will kick off the year with the launch of BlackBerry 10 OS and a range of new supporting devices including a full-on smartphone and a more typical keyboard toting BB10 model.  

With the official unveiling to take place at the end of January in New York, RIM should have the scene pretty much to itself with the first consumer-focused devices coming out to coincide with Mobile World Congress which takes place near the end of February in Barcelona. 

Samsung Stretches Its Lead

That event is likely to showcase a new Samsung smartphone, will it be the Samsung Galaxy S4 or another, budget-level device for the masses? We'll see, but Samsung has spent the end of this year diversifying its range to great success as it now the biggest seller of smartphones on the planet.

Samsung was pretty brave with the S3's design and an S4 could push the boat out further with more sculpting, innovative materials and the latest in Samsung's own processor technologies. Are we ready for a  bendy-screen, soft-skinned device? Certainly not at the high-end yet, but Samsung's scientists are bound to have some cool new tricks to show us. 

Of course, Samsung doesn't only play in the Android camp, and if its Windows Phone 8 devices help build that market, perhaps the successor to the ATIV S will take innovative queues from the Galaxy range?

One thing is pretty, sure Samsung will continue to build its lead in smartphones. On the subject of diversifying, Nokia will be looking to the mid-range Lumia 620 to drive sales of Windows Phone 8 devices. If anyone or anything is likely to challenge the big two, it will be this level of device that can appeal to a huge audience while offering 'new and different' features. 

The Big Apple Question

Naturally, everyone will be looking to see what Apple will do in 2013, and our initial thoughts are not all that much. The iPhone 5 is so new, that apart from an iPhone 5S refresh, it is unlikely to show anything revolutionary on the phone hardware front until the end of the year. 

If there is an iPhone 6 launch, Apple may have to create a larger form factor to keep up with its rivals who offer all kinds of screen sizes. Adding more width to the screen for another column of icons would be a natural move after making it taller (a move which many think looks odd), and a more scratch-resistant material had better appear in the next model to keep fans happy. 

Similarly, with the new iPad and iPad mini working in tandem, there is little reason to expect a radically different-looking design for them. Perhaps Apple's big first move of 2013 will be a retina-class iPad mini, it will need some factory-side cost reductions to be able to launch one, but once the screens are available at the right price, that is probably a shoe-in.