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December 22, 2010

Mobile predictions for 2011

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by Brian Turner

Ilja Laurs, founder of open apps store Getjar, has provided a set of interesting predictions for mobile computing for 2011.

Like it or loathe it, there are certainly some very interesting suggestions - of course, we’ll have to ride through next year to see how much of this become real or almost real. :)

1. Although app stores continue to grow in popularity as a concept in 2011, app store industry consolidation will become inevitable – Just as there were thousands of search engines in existence ten years ago, app stores will experience consolidation. In five years only six major app store players will make it, and in ten years, only two to three app stores will matter; all other app stores will become app store ghettos.

2. In ten years, all closed app systems will need to open up or fail – This won’t happen in the next 1-2 years but closed app stores will continue to feel pressure to become more open or else loose competitiveness. Closed ecosystems make it harder for developers to get their apps discovered, shared and monetized.

3. URLs go out of vogue. The new paradigm is tapping not typing – In the next five years, consumers will access more services via apps than the WWW as tapping apps to access information and Internet services grows in popularity over typing URLs. As consumers shift to mobile modalities, HTTP and WWW which require keyboards will still remain popular, but will play less of a role in an apps dominated world.

4. In 2011, we’ll see successful app companies raking in 100 M or more in revenue – Just a year ago, the rubric for a successful app company was to generate revenue in upwards of 10 million. Today, the bar for success is ten times that.

5. Brands that understand and advertise on the mobile market today will have a competitive advantage in reaching consumers tomorrow - It took ten years for the Internet to attract ten percent of its advertising capacity and mobile ad dollars will likely follow a similar pattern. As virtually all consumers young and old have a phone, and as smart phones in the US outpace feature phones in 2011, brands that understand and advertise on mobile platforms will reach those younger consumers while brands that don’t, loose out.

6. In three years most brands will have an iPhone and Android platform presence – In the next few years, spend on apps will be roughly equivalent to today’s spend on web presence.

7. Tablet devices explode in popularity – Tablet devices will explode in popularity and their sale patterns will be similar to that of netbooks five years ago. While the iPad remains an expensive, niche device, tablets that leverage Android as an operating system (such as the Archos or Samsung Galaxy 10) will benefit from lower price points, open platform, and wide spread availability from common retailers.

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