NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- One year from now, we will sit right here and ask: What was the most important thing that happened in the smartphone world in 2013?Here is the good news: You are about to get the smartphone news of 2013, right now, at the end of 2012. Smartphone advancements will be made on three fronts in 2013: 1. Smartphones will see little in terms of actual improvement, but they will be cheaper to assemble and fall in price a lot. 2. The new service to be launched on cellular networks is VoIP, and Google ( GOOG) may end up leading this revolution in price: Zero or near-zero. 3. The price of cellular service will plummet as carrier voice and SMS revenue disappear from carrier columns, focusing competition on simple data plans. Let us take these three factors in turn, in more detail:
With a Nexus starting at $199, the price between totally constricted contract phones -- requiring laughably expensive monthly plans -- would be blurred with a SIM-unlocked, contract-free Nexus enabling a user to cut the monthly expense by two-thirds. It's easy to dismiss competition against the outstanding iPhone 5 but, at some level, price does matter. If an iPhone 5 will cost three times as much to own and operate over two years, it has to impact market share.
This leads us to 2013 prediction number three.