The weekend review: social, cloud and connected consumer in 2013

Our 2013 outlooks began rolling out this week, and they’re already some of the site’s most popular content. Stay tuned as we close up the series with Jo Maitland’s forecast of the big data market. Also note we’ll be taking a quick holiday break from the weekend review post next week and will resume in January.

In “Connected consumer 2013: how 2012 laid the groundwork for change,” Paul Sweeting provides a quick retrospective of the past 12 months. While the company arguably did not release a truly groundbreaking product in 2012 (though much lauded, the iPhone 5 and iPad mini didn’t represent any major design or technology innovation),  Apple continued to dominate the consumer device market. But the real story is behind the scenes, as the company slogs through music and television rights to prepare for a major media streaming service in 2013. Sweeting also looks at the major trends that emerged in 2012, such as the growing importance of mobile content, and how they’ll impact what happens in 2013. And, of course, the briefing wraps up with a cheat sheet of companies to watch in the coming year.

Next, David Card looks to the social media investment climate as a harbinger for the market at large in “Social 2013: The enterprise strikes back.” Lackluster IPOs from Groupon, Zynga, and Facebook have scared off many investors from social properties at large. But Card sees major growth opportunities for the enterprise in connected work, marketing technology, and native advertising, as 2012 has seen major acquisitions and other developments in this sphere.

Last, according to David Linthicum in “Cloud computing 2013: how to navigate without a map,” the cloud market continues to be “confusing and hype-driven,” even as small businesses embrace it and large organizations try to figure out how and what to do with the various public and private cloud solutions on the market. The past year has also seen the rise of the consumer cloud and ongoing concerns about security and standards. In this volatile landscape, the continued evolution of the cloud market is the only sure thing, and Linthicum closes with some advice for those considering or already using cloud solutions.

Also popular this week:

The manufacturers’ race to a cost-effective solar source

How the mobile-first world will transform the data center

2012: Data, spectrum and the race to LTE