Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Wrap-up: Review of last year's Mob4Hire predictions

We hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season, and like many others, want to pause to reflect on the bigger trends in the industry that reveal the opportunities and challenges for all of us that are on the leading edge of the mobile revolution.

As we reflect on the barn-stormer of a year that 2010 was, we’d like to shout out a BIG BIG thanks to all our customers, mobsters, partners and investors for making this such as great year for Mob4Hire. Mob4Hire has morphed from a mobile testing company to a full-featured mobile usability and market research community, serving not only mobile developers, but product and brand managers as well as ad agencies. We’re very proud of our role in helping to bring excellent mobile experiences to users around the world.

We'll unveil our 2011 predictions in the next couple of days. For now, let’s see our report card for how we did on last year’s predictions (overall B+, we think!):

Google launches their own phone. In January 2010, Google released the Nexus. Now, they have a Nexus S. We thought, however, that this would turn into a new significant product line and therefore would be seen as competitive to their current partners HTC, Samsung, Motorola, etc… It turns out the manufacturers don’t care, and embraced Android in a tremendous year of growth for the platform.

Android will stall. Yah, well, we got this one wrong. We were right (like many others) that there would be wide spread adoption, but would see difficulties in the latter half of their year because of the anticipated fragmentation of the Android O/S making it difficult for developers to maintain code across different handsets and carriers. We also thought other handset manufacturer would NOT choose the platform because Google was introduced their own competitive handsets (see #1 above) … the opposite came true, and many handset mftrs and telecoms have adopted Android. Thus, fragmentation has become an even bigger issue for Android developers, but it has not slowed the enthusiasm for the platform. Finally, we also thought Windows Phone would be released earlier and have a bigger impact on 2010 ... the future is still bright for Microsoft, we think (as you'll see in our 2011 predictions), but Android was the platform story in 2010.

Get ready for lots more devices. PNDs, Netbooks, Tablets, TV's, M2M devices, u name it … they all appeared on the scene in 2010.

By Christmas, 2010, it will be all about Microsoft in mobile. As we thought, they got Windows 7 right for mobile phones. They released late in the year, and while the numbers aren’t in for Q4, 2010 yet, they made a great debut with their advertising position and technology. However, Microsoft did not affect Android penetration as much as we thought, and will have a hard time gaining marketshare, so we’re giving ourselves a B+ on this one.

Palm will be acquired. We thought Nokia or RIM would be the most obvious. HP was the acquirer.

M&A in telecoms will accelerate. Global M&A in telecoms has been sliding every year since 2005, but 2010 saw a turning point. According to The New York Times, M&A in Telecoms will be up 50% in 2010 over 2009.

The need for a better Mobile 2.0 web experience happens WAY quicker than anyone expects. Apps are playing an important part in the way brands and companies relate to their customers. And, with the explosion of app stores, this seems to be the primary channel to get discovered. Mobile 2.0 web is still important, but apps are leading the way. HTML5 created a buzz, and will drive the urgency to mobile web over the next few years.

Mobile advertising will be somewhat disappointing in 2010. 2010 will be remembered as the year brands tried out many types of mobile advertising (QR codes, SMS campaigns, AdMob banner ad click-through campaigns, apps and mobile web). Brands have had varying success with all types, and much has been discovered about the potential of mobile ad / appvertising. And, while there were successes, the web and traditional media still play a more important part of advertising spends. The best is yet to come for mobile (and it's also inevitable).

RIMs service woes will continue. The late 2009 event of RIM’s Messenger brown-out was quickly forgotten and not repeated. We were dead wrong on this one.

Apple will surprise us again. With tongue-in-cheek, we predicted an iFridge would invade our kitchens. They didn’t do that, but they did pretty well everything else and their stock price soared because of their vision. Next will be the iKitchenSink.

So, what will happen in 2011? Stay tuned ... we'll post our thoughts soon.

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