You don’t have to look too far to find companies’ and journalists’ prognostications about what will happen in the mobile industry in 2010. For instance, Wireless Week took a serious stab at peering into the crystal ball with their Trends for 2010 article, while FierceWireless’ Lynette Luna poked some fun at it with a playfully acerbic post on December 21: “A Peek at Wireless Executives’ Christmas Wishlists”.
But we didn’t see too many predictions about how consumers will benefit from all the launches and technological advancements in our industry. After all, customers are the ultimate decision-makers for every mobile app we test and deploy; every app store the carriers and device manufacturers launch; and every smartphone and device that hit the market and sizzles (…or fizzles).
So…we’re lighting up the holiday spirit with the gift of good news for consumers everywhere. Here are our predictions about how everyday people will benefit in 2010 from our industry’s hard work and innovation:
- mHealth Helps Consumers Take Their Health into their Own Hands—While the monolithic debate continues in Congress over the national healthcare plan, healthcare organizations and independent developers such as EOS Health and Sensei are launching all flavors of innovative mobile apps that enable consumers to proactively manage their own physical fitness, whether it’s alerting them to take their insulin or helping them make healthy eating choices at point of purchase. In the same way that mBanking has helped us manage our financial health, the new crop of mHealth apps are helping us manage the most important health of all…our own physical wellbeing.
- Choosing a Mobile Phone will Get Easier—Sometimes “too much choice” can be a bad thing, making it confusing and overwhelming for consumers to select the handset they want from a plethora of carriers and manufacturers. It’s becoming increasingly important now that smartphone functionality is becoming so sophisticated and feature-rich—you have to see them to believe them. Thankfully, some operators are ramping their efforts to help educate consumers by embracing technologies that allow people to “try before they buy.” Instead of providing static pictures and lists of features, this technology allows people to test-drive the devices—and see just what it looks like and how it functions in the real-world—through the Internet from the convenience of their home computer or at carriers’ in-store kiosks. Pretty soon, “try before you buy” will mean a whole lot more than simply checking out your friends’ phones.
- Watch out iPhone, There’s a New Kid in Town—As we mentioned in our November 13 post, handsets built on the Android operating system have been around for over a year, but they haven’t “wowed” consumers enough to pose a serious challenge to Apple….until now. Last month, GigaOm reported in November that nearly 250,000 Motorola Droids were sold by Verizon in the first week of its US launch, making it the fastest-selling Android device sold to date. And now that the handset is making its way around the globe, Motorola predicts it will sell a million units by the end of 2009. There’s wind in the sails of Android, and hearty market competition is good news for consumers everywhere.
- An App Store Avalanche? It’s Only Just Begun. Apple announced last month that they have more than 100,000 apps in the iTunes store now, up from 10,000 a year ago (annual growth of 900%). And now, analyst firm IDC predicts that there will also be 50,000–75,000 new Android applications this year alone. Consumers should expect mobile apps and app stores to multiply in triple-digit growth thanks to Android’s advantage as an open platform, and application testing solutions that simplify and speed deployment so developers can focus on making innovative, cool new apps that all of us will enjoy. Still haven’t seen all the apps that really compel you to fill your phone with downloads? Don’t worry—you will.