Summary:

For a deeper dive into the topics and technologies covered on GigaOM, check out the latest in-depth analyses on GigaOM Pro, our subscription-based research service. This week: the future of photo apps, the potential revival of the solar industry and native advertising.

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As we wrap up the year and rush to buy those last holiday gifts (if you’re still looking for a few last-minute ideas, be sure to check our connected gift guide), our network of GigaOM Pro analysts is looking back at the year’s hits and misses in consumer technology, mobile apps, enterprise spending and the cloud.

Note: GigaOM Pro is a subscription-based research service offering in-depth, timely analysis of developing trends and technologies. Visit pro.gigaom.com to learn more about it.

Cleantech: Risks and opportunities in the SolarCity IPO
Adam Lesser

The clean tech industry – and especially solar – continues to suffer in the wake of the Solyndra collapse. Despite support from the Obama administration, private investors still remain skittish about the sector. But there may be some indications of a (small) market turnaround:  Pro analyst Adam Lesser takes a look at the promising news that SolarCity, a rooftop solar system installer company, is on the verge of an IPO. Lesser takes a look at the risks and opportunities baked in to SolarCity’s business model for the both the company and its investors.

Cloud: IT spending update, fourth quarter 2012
Ralph Finos

It’s been a rough year for global IT spending  – a broad category that includes mobile devices, hardware, software, and a wide range of products and services (eg., PaaS, SaaS, software-defined networking products). A rough economy and market uncertainties led to cautious and conservative budgeting, but the industry still spent nearly $1.76 billion in 2012 alone. Pro analyst Ralph Finos  delivers the latest installment of GigaOM Pro’s quarterly spending forecasts, complete with detailed segment growth analysis, and focuses on key indicators that will shape market growth and determine spending trends for 2013. What’s happening this year that will impact growth and drive innovation during the next 12 months?

Mobile: An overview of the photo and video app market
Hans Hartman

Facebook’s billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram is 2012’s Silicon Valley success story. Pro analyst Hans Hartman takes a look at the rapidly-growing and very crowded photo and video app market. With over 16,000 photo and/or video apps apps listed in the iTunes Store alone, thousands of developers (and their investors) are clearly hoping to ride on Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger’s coattails. Hartman takes a look at major trends in the top-rated photo and video apps for both Android and iOS, lists a few other notable acquisitions, and analyzes sales and download data. Can there be another Instagram, and if so, what will it be?

Social: Social media and analytics counter online ad crisis 
David Card

With paper and online ad spending on the decline, the latest buzzword in the media world is native advertising: “marketing vehicles that blend in more naturally with content than banner ads, and that often take advantage of social media technologies.” Pro analyst David Card takes a look at how some of the biggest social networks are already using native ads, such as Facebook’s Sponsored Stories feature. Card also takes a look at Demabdbase and Bloomreach, some of the companies working behind the scenes to optimize the targeting and social graph analytics that are critical to the success of native advertising. Does this signal the end of online ads as we know them?

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