Why is Aereo on the
List? Aereo allows consumers to stream broadcast channels over the Internet. Its technology has been challenged by those broadcasters, and the company now finds itself battling them in a landmark Supreme Court case. Aereo cleverly uses individual antennas to receive broadcast signals. If it wins its case, broadcasters have threatened to move to cable. The fate of the company could alter the entire television landscape.
Why is Broadcom on the
List? Broadcom’s claim to fame is that 99.98% of all data crosses a Broadcom chip. While the company has been unable to battle Qualcomm in areas like wireless modems and processors, it has a much stronger position in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology. The number of connected devices is expected to increase from 2.5 billion in 2009 to a projected 30 billion in 2020. With those devices often using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to “talk,” Broadcom’s leadership in those spaces looks very valuable.
Why is Sony on the
List? Sony wouldn’t have made this list in past years, the company has become a consumer electronics laggard. Yet, its 2014 product line-up shows promise. The most impressive product, PlayStation Now, promises to move gaming into the cloud. That could lead to a monthly service that streams its gaming library (think Netflix). It also means games can be played across devices like a TV or tablet, without the need for a gaming system.
Why is InvenSense on the
List? The Wii was heralded as a technology achievement when it was released in 2006. It used a controller with an accelerometer to bring motion to gaming. Today, accelerometers and gyroscopes are seen across consumer electronics, from smartphones, to fitness trackers, to remote controls. As a leader in creating chips for motion tracking, InvenSense stands to benefit from trends picking up steam in 2014 such as wearables.
Why is Snapchat on the
List? Who ever thought disappearing messages could be so valuable? Snapchat turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook last year, believing it can achieve a larger pay day later. The growth of Snapchat and other peers like WhatsApp – especially by the teen populace – will be an interesting field to watch in 2014. If the user base and engagement of these companies keeps increasing, it could foreshadow problems for Facebook down the line.
Why is Apple on the
List? While Apple stock cooled off across the past year and a half, it’s still the most valuable company in the world. The company’s App Store continues to impress, generating $10 billion in sales during 2013, and the newest iPad Air was a major upgrade to its tablet line. The days of Apple’s past growth rates are gone, but it’s still a tremendously powerful company in mobile. Not only that, but what it does – or chooses not to do – in markets like wearables and televisions will have a major impact in 2014 and beyond.
Why is Netflix on the
List? Netflix, left for dead by investors during 2012, saw its stock rebound dramatically in 2013. The company used continuing subscriber growth to prove its doubters wrong last year. 40.4 million people now subscribe to its services and the company has been able to continue expanding aggressively overseas.
Why is Oculus VR on
the List? Oculus created the Oculus Rift, otherwise known as the first virtual reality headset people actually want to wear. The company’s new Crystal Cove prototype premiered at CES and was showered with praise and “Best in Show” awards by the media. One tech journalist who wore it said, “I wore the new Oculus Rift, and I never want to look at real life again.” Oculus Rift units are not yet being sold, but with a recent $75 million funding round recently in hand, the company is poised to be one of the most disruptive forces to video games this decade.
Why is Qualcomm on the
List? Qualcomm is the 800-pound gorilla of everything connected. Its dominant in smartphone processors, cellular modems, and controls the essential patents to wireless technology. Telecom is a $1.6 trillion industry, and Qualcomm is the leading innovator in improving wireless standards that ensure mobile networks can handle increasing data loads. Between 2013 and 2018, mobile data growth is expected to grow over six-fold. That alone continues to make Qualcomm a fascinating company.
6.) LINE Currently a subsidiary
of Naver – Preparing for IPO in 2014 Number of employees: Unknown Revenue (LTM): $159 million in Q3 Company value: To Be Determined
Why is LINE on the
List? You may have never heard of LINE as its Japan’s largest social network. Yet, LINE is driving huge revenue growth, and is gearing up for a reported $28 billion IPO. That would put it in the same league as Twitter. LINE makes revenue mainly by selling stickers. As it continues succeeding, the company proves out a novel non-advertising way to monetize social networks and messaging apps.
Why is Amazon on the
List? Amazon might be garnering attention for its plans to use drones to deliver packages in recent months, but the company’s web services should attract the real attention from investors in 2014. In July of last year, the company lowered the price of its broad cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services, for the 37th time. The company is not only fending off competitors, but also accelerating adoption of cloud computing by America’s major companies.
Why is Box on the
List? Box is another cloud computing contribution to the list, allowing users to upload and manage files in the cloud. That’s not a field empty of competition with other wellknown names like Dropbox. However, what makes Box so fascinating is its 28-year old CEO Aaron Levie. He hasn’t been shy about speaking at industry events or writing editorials in publications like TechCrunch or The Washington Post. Though young, Levie radiates deep intelligence and foresight on the technology industry.
Why is Nordic on the
List? Nordic might not be on investors’ radar. The company is located far away from Silicon Valley in the Norwegian city of Trondheim and trades on the Oslo Stock Exchange. However, its focus on ultra-low power wireless communications makes it one of the most intriguing ways to invest in “The Internet of Things.”
Why is Google on the
List? Even as one of the world’s largest companies, Google is endlessly fascinating. In everything from mobile phones, to the connected home, to self driving cars, to the automated home, Google continues making acquisitions and extending its reach. The continuing growth of YouTube will be particularly fascinating in the coming year. eMarketer estimates the service brought in $5.9 billion in revenue across 2013.
Why does Xiaomi top the
list? Xiaomi went from being a start-up in 2010, to becoming one of China’s largest smartphone companies. The company set a target to sell 20 million smartphones last year, and according to one researcher, bested Samsung as the top smartphone brand in China during December. Unlike the litany of Chinese hardware companies that sell products resembling knock-offs of more established brands, Xiaomi has created its own unique style and designs.