10 Tech Predictions for 2012

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In 2011, daily deal sites flooded our in-boxes, tablets and smartphones continued to show stronger growth than personal computers, and social media became relevant across the globe.

So what will 2012 bring? Here are 10 predictions about what the coming year may have in store for tech watchers everywhere, some more likely than others.

Facebook Goes Public

This one is almost guaranteed to happen, as The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the company is looking to raise $10 billion in early 2012, at a valuation of $100 billion. The social media giant will also likely be over the 500 individual investor mark by that time frame, and the Securities and Exchange Commission requires companies to file to go public once they have reached that number of investors.

Twitter Gets Acquired

Twitter has become the go-to destination to learn the zeitgeist of any given moment with people able to tweet 140 characters worth of whatever they feel like at any hour of the day, and the micro-blogging service could be approached by a number of different suitors, including the aforementioned Facebook.

An interesting possibility is Google ( GOOG). The Internet search giant launched Google Plus, its own social media presence in 2011, but may still feel increasing pressure to spend some of its $39 billion in cash on an acquisition of Twitter, which was recently valued at $8 billion.

AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Goes Through

AT&T ( T) announced the deal to acquire T-Mobile USA from parent Deutsche Telekom(DTEGY.PK) for $39 billion back in March 2011 but the transaction has run into regulatory resistance and its prospects for completion are dim.

The thing is though the transaction was never going to pass muster in its initial form, as analysts and the media speculated all along. AT&T plans to record $4 billion charge related to a break-up fee in the fourth quarter but there's still a chance the acquisition could come to pass in 2012, albeit in a very different form.

Some have speculated that AT&T and T-Mobile will share a network, or that AT&T sells some of its existing assets to Leap Wireless ( LEAP) in order to win regulatory approval.

An Apple Television

Steve Jobs revealed in his biography that he had "finally cracked" how to create an Apple television, something he had longed to do for years.

There is increasing speculation that the company will come out with a television set, perhaps as early as next year. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster recently made some comments that Apple could be planning to release multiple sizes of the television.

CEO Tim Cook has overseen the launch of the Verizon ( VZ) iPhone and the iPhone 4S, but the iPhone originally launched under Jobs. An Apple-branded TV would be the first venture into a new product area with Cook at the helm.

Daily Deal Sites Go Bust

Daily deal sites such as Groupon ( GRPN), Living Social, Google Offers, Amazon Daily Deals, and a host of other sites gained traction in 2011. Groupon was the first to go public, raising $700 million in its initial public offering.

The deal was met with some skepticism however as analysts wondered about slowing revenue growth at the company, and its "economic moat," which refers to its ability to stop others from entering the space.

With a host of new daily deal sites popping up all the time, one of these major players could end up on the rocks.

Tax Repatriation Sparks Tech M&A

As the United States struggles to get the national deficit under control, there will be increased pressure from Washington to do a tax repatriation holiday. Many tech firms such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. have significant amounts of cash overseas.

Instead of using the cash to create jobs as Washington wants, tech companies are more likely to use the tax holiday to benefit shareholders and themselves.

That could translate to some sizable tech mergers, and cloud computing companies may see heavy demand. Some names mentioned in the past have been Salesforce.com ( CRM), Red Hat ( RHT) and Citrix Systems ( CTXS).

Windows Tablets Fail

Apple and Amazon so far are the only two companies that have been able to get the tablet computing space correct. Microsoft made significant strides in 2011 when it announced that its newest version of Windows, Windows 8, would run on ARM-based chips, and thus be tablet friendly.

But with companies like Hewlett Packard ( HPQ), Acer, and Lenovo potentially leaving the tablet market because demand hasn't materialized, Windows-based tablets will be a commercial flop, despite getting good reviews.

Apps Fall Out of Favor

Smart phones have become so popular in part because of "apps" but the presence of HTML5 will really take form in 2012. HTML5 is the language for showcasing information on the web, and as companies like Microsoft, Apple, and others begin to integrate HTML5 into their software, apps could become a thing of the past.

The Internet Suffers Major Terrorist Attack

This has been a threat for years but so far there have been no major outages. That doesn't mean something is not coming of course.

Financial exchanges, such as Nasdaq OMX ( NDAQ) or NYSE Euronext ( NYX), are prime targets.

Mobile Payments Will Take Off

2011 was the start of the transition to people using their cell phones to pay for purchases. Both Master Card ( MA) and Visa ( V) have bet heavily on mobile payments, along with Google and eBay's PayPal.

Companies like Starbucks ( SBUX) have begun already implementing the technology and the trend is sure to pick up momentum in 2012.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York.

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