The total mobile ecosystem will balloon into a $1-trillion market by 2014, according to market researcher Gartner, which advises enterprises to develop a "high-level mobile strategy," rather than committing to any particular device or platform.
Mobile will generate revenue from a wide range of additional voice and data services such as context, advertising, application and service sales, totaling $1 trillion dollars annually by 2014, according to Gartner analysts addressing last week's Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Stamford, Conn.
"We see three major eras of mobility," said Nick Jones, a Gartner vice president. "The device era was characterized by iconic devices such as the Motorola RAZR and was dominated by device manufacturers. This was followed by the application era which arrived with the iPhone, popularizing application and media stores. Going forward, the service and social era will build on the application era, but it will be characterized by cloud services and streaming media. Applications will survive, but often as a component of a more complex end-to-end experience involving the cloud."
Jones advised enterprises to develop a high-level mobile strategy based on technology-independent management goals and styles, rather than detailed device, platform or application policies. Traditional mobile strategies were designed to support well-defined requirements with devices, applications and services provided and managed by IT professionals. Requirements of this type will persist, he added, but it will not form the majority of corporate mobility by 2015 because of changes in user requirements, technology, and the nature of work itself.
In mature markets, including the U.S., smartphones will dominate device sales for the foreseeable future, Gartner analysts predicted. Many new device types such as tablets and e-book readers will emerge through 2012 and some will find a role in corporations. However, none will achieve a market share comparable to smartphones or laptops, which will remain the dominant corporate mobile devices. Mobile knowledge workers will require both a PC and a smartphone through 2014, they said.
The smartphone platform market is very competitive, and the leaders will change through 2014 with Nokia's Symbian continuing to lose share to Google's Android and Apple's iPhone OS (iOS). Android is gaining ground fast and will appear on consumer electronics and non-handset devices such as tablets.
"As the platform wars rage, a variety of new tools are becoming ‘platforms' in the sense that they provide a user experience and framework for delivering applications," Jones added. "These include the mobile Web, where HTML5 will be very influential, OS independent ‘platforms' such as Flash, and scriptable tools such as augmented reality browsers and mapping systems. In the long term, some will be absorbed into the OS or browser."
Gartner believes that "context" will be a defining principle of mobile business for the next decade. It will play a key role in many areas of mobile business, especially advertising and marketing.
"In 2010, we are seeing the beginning of simple context using location to suggest interests and to guide searching," Jones said. "Context will also be a key criteria for the selection of partners. Many mobile business systems will exploit contextual cloud services hosted by others. It will also be a major commercial battleground with powerful vendors such as Nokia, Google, and Apple striving to own the consumer's context. Context will also be bound up with social relationships and social networks, illustrated today by services such as location-tagged posts to Facebook and Twitter."