A Look Back at Our Predictions for the Mobile Landscape

December 2012 Newsletter

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We’ve reached the end of the year, which means it’s time to take a look back at our 12 Predictions for the Mobile Landscape in 2012. We’ve scoured the Web in an attempt to verify or debunk the claims we made in January. Our analysis shows that we were headed in the right direction for many, though perhaps we could have polished our crystal ball a little better for others.

Take a look at the predictions below to see how we matched up. Next week here on the blog, we’ll see how we stacked up for our predictions related to mobile learning.

Prediction #1: Gamification will increase in three areas: enterprise mobile learning, citizens and police, and health care.

While it’s tapered off just a bit, gamification is still hot hot hot. The three specialized areas of mobile learning, citizens, and health care have seen some growth, though it’s obvious that many are still grappling with the value of gamification in their organizations. In other words. Gartner hasn’t published a “State of Gamification” industry report just yet.

That said, if gamification is on your radar for 2013, you may want to read publisher O’Reilly Media’s new book by Michael Hugos called “Enterprise Games: Using Game Mechanics to Build a Better Business.” Reading that might not earn you a badge, but you can bet it’ll make you smarter about using games to help people learn.

Prediction #2: mLearning development tools will overpromise and underdeliver.

A number of vendors have released new versions of their products this year, including Articulate with Storyline and Adobe with Captivate 6.

A few other vendors have also announced new versions of their products. Nearly all of them tout some form of mobile output, or even “mLearning.” At this point, though, the offerings available center around eLearning on a mobile device. I think you know how we feel about that.

What software company will come out with the first product to offer contextual mobile-first solutions that can take advantage of the device affordances? Guess we will have to wait until 2013 to find out.

Prediction #3: Companies will create their own app stores.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stated earlier this year that 94 percent of Fortune 500 companies had deployed the iPad (one source: Engadget), so of course companies are looking to create their own app stores in an effort to sequester proprietary apps from public consumption.

Genentech, a biotechology corporation, hosts an app store that contained 110 apps as of July, according to CIO. IBM and Chrysler have also launched their own internal app stores.

To demonstrate how enterprise app stores have entered into the corporate landscape, CIO published a list of “The Enterprise App Store: 10 must-have features” in April, lending credence to this notion of growth. Networkworld also ran a feature on this subject recently.

Enterprise app stores will continue to be a trend, as in October 2011, a senior VP of Gartner predicted just how impactful they will become. “By 2014,” said Peter Sondergaard, “private app stores will be deployed by 60 percent of IT organizations.”

Prediction #4: Android will become enterprise-friendly.

Android made large inroads in 2012. “Android smartphone usage within the enterprise nearly doubled,” according to a survey released by Good Technology in July. Anecdotally, more clients challenged us to develop for Android this year than had before.

Perhaps the biggest validation of Android’s arrival in the enterprise is its adoption by the Department of Defense. An RFP issued by the DoD in October “requires bidders to manage devices running iOS 5 and newer OS versions as well as Android 2.2 and newer versions,” according to MSPmentor. Curiously enough, BlackBerry and Windows support is not a requirement.

However, iOS is still the preferred operating system according to three surveys released throughout the year. “Apple iOS device activations still account for more than twice the number of Android activations in the enterprise when it comes to overall platform activations,” Good reports in their press release for the study previously mentioned.

In an evaluation of 20 MDM software vendors in April, Gartner suggests (via Matt Hamblen at Computer World) the preference for iOS is “severely limited” because of the multitude of Android devices and operating systems. Hamblen cites Gartner in saying that the difficulty in managing Android in the enterprise is because of the lack of APIs available: Google provides 16 compared to BlackBerry’s more than 500.

Finally, SAP’s Eric Lai writes for Forbes about a joint study between Appcelerator and IDC that shows iOS is breaking away from Android as the OS poised to win over the enterprise in the long term. “The big news is that Apple’s iOS took a dramatic lead over Google’s Android in the enterprise app space,” Lai quotes IDC analyst Scott Ellison as saying. “For developers, Android appears to be evolving more towards a consumer play, which in turn provides a key competitive opening for Microsoft in the enterprise mobile app space.”

Samsung’s SAFE effort is also well underway at this point. The major Android vendor is doing what it can to ensure enterprise compatibility with MAM and MDM for their Android handsets.

Prediction #5: Targeted social networking will be favored over email.

It turns out that before we’d even made this prediction last year, the CEO of the French company Atos was planning to ban email by 2014 in favor of collaborative tools and social media.

“CEO Thierry Breton…said only 10 percent of the 200 messages employees receive per day are useful and 18 percent is spam,” ABC’s Susanna Kim wrote. “That’s why he hopes the company can eradicate internal emails in 18 months, forcing the company’s 74,000 employees to communicate with each other via instant messaging and a Facebook-style interface.”

A year later, ComputerworldUK has an update: Atos will use the enterprise social software ZEN by blueKiwi, a company that Atos acquired early in 2012.

HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes likens email to the “new Pony Express,” saying it’s “time to put it down,” citing declining use among 18-24-year-olds, especially.

“So what’s the solution,” he asks in a FastCompany article. “Our idea: Turn email into a conversation. Get rid of the inbox. Build an online platform where departments can post and respond to messages on central discussion threads, Facebook-style.”

Notebooks, a mobile computing news and review site, has also slashed email in favor of Yammer and Google apps.

Granted, these are only two examples (one being high-profile) in which companies gave email the boot. Until more companies adopt this trend, LifeHacker has a few tips on how to how to rock your inbox as a social network.

Prediction #6: Mobile phones will become a major research tool for polling and survey companies in politics and consumer preferences.

While pollsters didn’t necessarily use mobile devices as a method with which to receive feedback, we did learn much about mobile phone users during the 2012 presidential election.

For example, Pew found that 10 percent of presidential campaign donors contributed via text message or cell phone app (Presidential Campaign Donations in the Digital Age). A good portion of the 86 percent of registered voters who own a cell phone used their device to get info about the election, and almost half of these voters say they have a smartphone. The devices are used to access social networking sites to read about a candidate or campaign, look up claims, and post their own comments (The State of the 2012 Election).

Also, earlier this year, our own senior analyst, Gary Woodill, posted about a variety of ways in which mobile devices have been used as research tools.

Prediction #7: Predictive analytics will come to the forefront using dashboards and other forms of visualization.

Earlier this year, IBM released software capable of producing predictive analytics in an effort to perform better, no matter the task at hand. Whether they help detect Medicaid fraud, power the U.S. Open, determine social media stats, or keep cities safe (see video below), IBM has demonstrated the value of predictive analytics this year.


In addition to IBM, the Orlando Magic also instituted predictive analytics. They used “analytic models to predict which games would oversell and which would undersell. The box office then took that information and adjusted prices to maximize attendance — and profits. ‘This season we had the largest ticket revenue in the history of our franchise, and we played only 34 games of the 45-game season due to the lockout,’” Anthony Perez, the Magic’s director of business strategy, told Computerworld’s Robert L. Mitchell.

Prediction #8: Augmented reality will go mainstream.

How cool is Google Glass? And what further evidence do we need to say that augmented reality has become a big deal?

Okay, maybe AR isn’t the right category to put it in. David Pogue at the New York Times says Google doesn’t like when people refer to Glass as augmented reality. And, Pogue mentions that Glass likely won’t be available for consumers until 2014. But, developers will be able to get their hands on Glass next year for $1,500.

“In short, it’s much too soon to predict Google Glass’s success or failure,” Pogue says. “But it’s easy to see that it has potential no other machine has ever had before.”

Of course, Google doesn’t appear to be alone in this venture, as Apple filed a patent in 2006 for something like Google Glass.

Google Glass aside, augmented reality is also seeing love from Heinz Ketchup, Taco Bell, Sesame Street and Nokia.

Additionally, Hillel Fuld at Inneractive takes a look at how print publications can leverage augmented reality. “If you are an advertiser and want to sell your product, where will you do it? On the web where the buyer can hit a Purchase button in a split second and where you can easily track every click, impression, and conversion, or in a magazine where you hope the reader will copy the URL and purchase the item or remember it the next time they are in a store? Exactly.”

Prediction #9: RIM will collapse or be bought out.

RIM’s share of smartphone subscribers continues to decline – down to 8.4 percent from 10.7 percent in June, according to comScore – but the company has to be optimistic about a recent uptick in stock. RIM’s stock was up 55 percent over the previous 30 days, reported Mashable on Nov. 27, likely because of promising early reviews of BlackBerry 10. One analyst predicts RIM will move about 10 million more phones in fiscal 2014 than it did in fiscal 2013.

Another analyst and critic gave a vote of confidence to the BlackBerry manufacturer ahead of its Jan. 30 launch, likely another contributing factor to its recent surge.

Whether this will be RIM’s comeback or its final stand remains to be seen.

Prediction #10: Ice Cream Sandwich will help reduce Android fragmentation issues.

More than a third of Android users are now using Ice Cream Sandwich (source: Google), suggesting slow but continuous improvement in adoption of Android 4.x. Six months ago, Ars Technica reported ICS was only being used on 7 percent of Android devices. Gingerbread, on the other hand, still accounts for half of Android OS installations. For reference, Gingerbread was released in 2010, while Ice Cream Sandwich has been out for a year.

All of this could make the slant seem like the fragmentation is only increasing, but one should note that the newer device platforms are gaining ground faster and getting purchased at a higher rate of speed than the older ones were adopted. This market is accelerating.

Google recognizes the fragmentation issue, stating in its latest Terms and Conditions:

“You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK.”

If nothing else, this shows that Google is willing to draw the line somewhere. The number of third-party vendors creating proprietary Web browsers and keyboard types has dropped now that ICS and Jelly Bean are out.

Prediction #11: Sales of point-and-shoot cameras and GPS devices will shrink.

2012 was not the best year for these devices, to say the least. Global shipments of compact cameras are reported to have been slashed almost in half, according to an AFP article picked up by IndustryWeek.

At a news conference, the same source also states Olympus president Hiroyuki Sasa told reporters that “the market for compact digital cameras shrank at a faster speed and scale than we had imagined as smartphones with camera functions spread around the world.” Other Japanese camera manufacturers, including Canon, Nikon and Sony, were in a similar position.

As the holiday season is underway, writer Jessica Johnson says camera manufacturers are looking to appeal to photo enthusiasts and hobbyists as opposed to the general public.

The AFP article goes on to state that while compact camera shipments were greatly reduced, higher-end camera shipments were only down about 7 percent. And, an NPD Group survey showed that 46 percent of digital camera owners said they would spend up to $300 on a brand-new camera.

Personal navigation devices (PNDs) are also having to adapt to the smartphone phenomenon due to declining sales. After all, why spend the money to have a sophisticated navigation system installed in your vehicle when you can cobble a nice method of triangulation together with your smartphone and some apps? John Quain reports for the New York Times that Ford and Chevrolet are working to sync apps to a vehicle’s dashboard.

Garmin is reporting record revenue through the third quarter of 2012, though this is largely due to sport watches, outdoors equipment and licensing of their technology to other companies for inclusion in their products.

Prediction #12: Death will befall the unlimited data plan.

Just when we thought unlimited data was down and out, carriers began offering new plans in an effort to compete. Though, they may not all be the best option.

T-Mobile made waves late in the summer by offering what appears to be a truly unlimited data plan: no throttling to be found (New York Times, Time). The catch, reports NYT’s Ray Furchgott, is that the unlimited plan is offered on a slower network than LTE.

Besides T-Mobile, about the only people who can use unlimited plans are existing customers; new subscribers must purchase a capped data plan. Some carriers, however, are making it difficult to keep the grandfathered unlimited data plans. Verizon, for example, is forcing unlimited data subscribers to pay full price for the iPhone 5. US Cellular is offering unlimited data plans, too, but with several stipulations.

For those who are still eligible, CNN has a list of ways you can get unlimited data for your iPhone 5.

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On December 10, 2012
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