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2011 Mobile App Outlook – 11 Trends & Opportunities for mobile Apps to watch for


Your mobile strategy will go beyond the iPhone and iPad

* In 2011, businesses will recognize that having an iPhone App does not constitute a real mobile strategy to achieve their goal of increasing reach
* With over 1 billion smartphones expected by 2013, this is a growing market with room for many other players (Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Symbian, Samsung, etc.)
* Gartner has predicted that mobile App downloads will surpass 4 billion in 2010 and grow to 21 billion by 2013

Android fragmentation will be a major challenge for all

* Google has issued 7 releases of the Android OS (1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.01, 2.1, 2.2) in less than 2 years
* Older and lower performance Android devices experience performance issues
* OEMs like Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC, Huawei and Sony Ericsson customize their version of Android for differentiation

Tablets will appear in every home and need Tablet Apps

* OEMs like Apple, RIM, Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer, Cisco, Dell, Motorola, OpenPeak, Viewsonic and others will all have their own tablets in 2011
* Distribution channels of tablets will diverse (OEMs, carriers, retailers) and many for consumers to choose from
* In 2010, Apple will sell over 10MM, Samsung over 1MM, while Gartner predicts over 55MM tablets to be sold in 2011

“# active users” will be more important than “# downloads”

* Most businesses today do not know what is happening inside their Apps, hence only report on the # of downloads
* Improved analytics will enable businesses to optimize Apps and the user experience
* Strategies to drive continued usage (which leads to revenue) will become more important than strategies to drive downloads

Social will differentiate the mobile App experience

* 35% of Twitter’s active users access the service through their mobile device
* 2 million websites online (not mobile…yet) have adopted the Facebook Like button
* Mobile consumption habits are different than online and social will play a role in providing a unique mobile experience

Mobile exclusive brands and content will have success

* New, mobile-only brands will be launched from traditional publishers
* Vertical focused content will be used to create greater user stickiness
* Mobile Apps leverage new distribution channels and as a result, new discovery options

Paid content will have limited success due to infrastructure

* Outside of iTunes, it is not easy to buy physical or virtual goods on your smartphone today
* Major infrastructure & billing improvements are required for mass adoption of paid content and micro-transactions on mobile
* Billing fees of ~30% are not going to work for major retailers and publishers who want to build a premium revenue stream from mobile consumption

Mobile Apps and mobile web will get hitched and play nice together

* OS makers are making it easier to launch Apps leveraging web technologies and skills
* Apps will heavily leverage mobile web in Apps as a means to scale utility/custom features cross-device
* The average user will not be able to tell the difference between a mobile website and mobile App eventually

Apps leverage NFC (near-field-communication) to become mobile commerce tools

* Android Gingerbread (recent release of the OS) supports an NFC API generating a lot of interest
* Retailers will leverage NFC in Apps to increase in-store purchase volume on a per customer basis
* RFID chips embedded in smartphones will enable devices to become payment tools in both the physical and virtual worlds

App security and threats will become important

* Unlike desktops, smartphones store in many cases more personal information that is easily accessible by Apps
* App distribution channels currently do not require security testing which will be an issue as the number of Apps available reaches 1 million
* Developers will need to use techniques such as spoofing, tampering, repudiation, information disclosure, denial of service, and elevation of privilege

Fragmentation across OS and device will grow exponentially

* OS: Apple iOS, Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, Windows Phone, HP Palm, Samsung Bada, Nokia Symbian, Intel MeeGo
* Device: smartphone, feature phone, tablet, smart TVs, automobiles, netbooks, browsers
* All large players who are not going anyway anytime soon will all have their own play to attract Apps to drive differentiation

Kunal Gupta is the Chief Executive Officer of Polar Mobile ( Polar Mobile provides an industry-leading Platform that enables top media Publishers around the world to launch mobile Apps cross-device easily and quickly.


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