2009 Predictions

It’s that time again!  With 2008 in the bag, what will be the key themes for 2009 (as far things “mobile 2.0” go anyway). Alan Kay famously quipped that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. In that spirit: if I have anything to say about it, 2009 will bring with it increasing convergence between the mobile and Web communities. Right now, these communities are miles apart. I can attest to that because I’m often stuck in the middle of this clash of civilizations. I believe the mobile and Web ecosystems are going to converge, but a prerequisite for this to happen is that these communities need to converge. As long as mobile people only talk to other mobile people and Web people only talk to other Web people, there will be no convergence. At Mobile 2.0 in November, we successfully brought together these communities, at least in part, to talk about the future of both mediums. Watch out for more of this in 2009.

Prediction two: mobile widgets and Web applications will rule the day.  W3C-standard Web widget platforms and downloadable widgets will proliferate and begin to eclipse the current proprietary platforms for downloadable mobile applications. This will be accompanied by increasingly capable Web and widgets platforms (with hooks into device capabilities and functions like the camera, location, etc…). Yes, there will be fragmentation in this space that will have to be reigned in. Nobody said reinventing the Web was easy.

All the best for 2009!

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3 Comments on “2009 Predictions

  1. As a web guy who only recently developed some interest in mobile, I can tell you that – at least form my point of view – there are two reasons why web people haven’t been talking to mobile people in the past.

    The first reason is that even though manufacturers have been saying their phones are “internet enabled” for years now, they were absolutely useless for anything web related and could only be considered offline devices with tiny screens and awful input methods.

    The second reason is a simple fact that mobile people just haven’t been producing anything interesting at all until recently (at least from a web guy’s point of view). The web world, on the other hand, has been absolutely flooded with interesting stuff.

    Last year I attended the first future-of-mobile conference and my thoughts at the end were: “Great! We haven’t missed anything yet!”. But I must admit that things have changed a lot in the last year, with more and more phones finally shipping with a decent webkit based browser. So, yes, the mobile platform finally is starting to look interesting to web people. You might be on to something with your predictions. :)

  2. I’d have to agree on both predictions and maybe add some of my own. Communities will converge but mostly because of the explosion of social networks. This phenomenon is spreading to mobile through applications like Ebuddy, Mig33 and Nimbuz. These “apps” all enable people to stay in touch with friends through chat irrespective of the platforms they’re using. As an example, i had a skype “chat” with our head of PR on my phone while she was at her desk. Web 2.0 sites like Facebook have also migrated to mobile with some of their functionalities intact. So I can update my status on the go and even take a picture and post it to my account to share with my friends / colleagues.

    Although web apps and widgets will be successful I still think ultimately this will vary from OEM to OEM and literally from device to device. Downloading googlemaps on an iphone is easy. You download it from itunes, synch it and it’s there on your desktop. Now if you do that on an N73 you can either sideload it, go to the relevant site (wap.getjar.com or other) or text in to get it. Then you have to make sure you can find it in the right place on your phone which isn’t always intuitive especially for new users.

    Another prediction I’d like to add is related to my own experience – mobile games. I think we’ll see some of the big players (EA, Gameloft) move aggressively into D2C using their own sites. Smaller players, who now have less to loose with the traditional carrier business, will also go D2C either through their own sites or develop alternate business models to enable them to reduce the end user cost of their content. Some traditional mobile publishers may not make it. With handset fragmentation increasing, more platforms to develop for which entail higher cost, pressure on margins due to either carriers bringing in 3rd parties to manage content on their portals or the cost of expensive licenses these players will either need new business models or run out of battery….

    stay tuned.


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