- Charles Duncan jr.
The adoption of smartphones is increasing at an incredible rate. Nielsen predicts that smartphones will overtake feature phones by the end of 2011. This shift will be the catalyst for innovation in the mobile marketplace. Marketers and their partner agencies need to consider how they’ll create for the next-generation mobile devices.
These next-generation mobile devices will push far beyond current devices in both hardware and software capabilities. Increases in mobile broadband, processing power, image resolution, storage, and connected services will drive innovation.
A competitive mobile platform marketplace dominated by RIM, Apple, and Google has been the primary storyline over the last few years. Previous market leaders such as Nokia and Microsoft are poised to challenge the current leaders and regain market share.
The operating systems that have dominated the marketplace for the last few years have focused on an app-driven paradigm. The central focus was on the capabilities of the individual mobile application. Nokia, RIM, and Apple built successful platforms based around this type of user interaction. More apps in a platform’s market provided the end user with more options and a perceived greater value than other competing platforms.
The Android platform and its tight integration with numerous Google services have helped push the trend in a new direction. If someone is already using Google’s Gmail, Maps, and YouTube via a desktop computer, these services can be leveraged to mobile in a unique way. A perfect example of this is the ability to broadcast my physical map location while searching for driving or walking directions. A user who is using these same services on a desktop computer has different needs than a mobile user.
Another great example of this new direction is Microsoft’s Windows Phone Application Platform where the focus is on “hubs” (photo, video, and productivity) as opposed to apps. Hubs put the focus on your contacts and your social interactions with those contacts — for example, a photo hub where instead of only being able to see your photos, you are able to see your friends’ photos. This trend will result in an increased need for applications to support more social and contacted features.
Many times we struggle with how consumer brands and their services can be more social, particularly when the context is personal (e.g., financial services and healthcare). While the solution may not be a public broadcast of status and personal information, we’ll need to think more about the relevant potential connection points between people and how mobile can help bridge those points.
The next key element to this trend is how our mobile devices physically connect to larger systems. Historically, this connection has been through the audio and video feed of a larger device, such as the ability to play the songs on my iPod through my car stereo. We’re starting to see more enhanced integration where someone’s mobile device is the main communication and data-display hub of next-generation automobiles. With mobile devices having gigabytes of mp3s, streaming via 3G networks and updated map information, is it necessary to have factory-based car stereos or information displays? This will provide marketers with a new platform to create within while providing utility to the end user.
Innovations around mobile will mean that simply having a mobile application presence will not be enough for engagement. The next generation of applications will need to consider a new way to provide utility and communication with connected users. As the convergence of communication mediums continues, our mobile devices and the applications that power them will continue to become more of a central focus in our lives. Innovation around the constantly emerging mobile platform will be the key to marketers staying relevant.
Read more from theSoDA 2011 Digital Marketing Outlook at: http://www.cmo.com/SoDA2011DigitalMarketingOutlook