My take on gadget makers' holiday offerings — From Apple to Blackberry to Microsoft, Motorola and more
iPhone 5: Announced Wednesday, this will obviously be a big hit. The iPhone always is. But when you look at the upgrades, Apple is once again just catching up to its Android competition (bigger screen, thinner phone, panorama camera shots, etc.). It's hardly innovative, and soon the Android competition will be better than it. Still, Apple fans will come out in droves and buy the new iPhone, and in the end it mostly comes down to your choice of operating systems. Some folks prefer Android, others like Apple's iOS.
A smaller iPad; This is rumored to be coming -- a 7-inch iPad to compete with the Kindle Fire and other smaller tablets that are starting to eat away at Apple's tablet domination (which is still dominating, but not as much so as in the past). This might prove popular, and it's probably a smart business move for competition's sake, but I don't see this being a huge seller. I've tried many 7-inch tablets, and usually I'm not very impressed. I'm pretty sure this will fall in that same boat.
New Kindle Fire lineup: Speaking of small tablets, the key is to the have the right price. Amazon's Kindle Fire is more affordable than most of its competition, so it is more popular. That should continue this year, and it should sell better than most 7-inch tablets -- though an Apple offering could gum up the works a little bit -- how much so would depend on its price.
NEW RAZR PHONES: Motorola is upgrading its Razr lineup on Verizon, and as in the past these Android phones will be big sellers, I can say with confidence.
MICROSOFT TABLET: The Surface tablet from Microsoft debuts in October.
A couple words on this: Too late. Microsoft will not do well with this, I can safely say. With so many tablets already on the market, it will be very hard for them to make a dent with the Surface, especially since the price won't be far off from the iPad's. No name recognition = no sales.
NEW BLACKBERRY PHONES: No need to explain. They're done for. Have been for a while. New phones won't measure up to offerings by Apple, Samsung and others, and I wouldn't be surprised if Blackberry maker RIM is absorbed by another company within the next year. They can't sustain their current business model, as people have moved on from their products. Period.