July 21, 2009

Mobile Apps - Putting the "Smart" in Smartphones

Do you still use your mobile phone just to text or call? If your answer starts with a “Y”, please accept my sincere condolences… for sadly, you’re part of a dying breed. Jokes apart, let’s sneak a peek at how smartphones are changing our communication, our business, and our lives… and how mobile apps might just rival the entire Internet in the years to come!

According to mobile research firm CCS Insight, if you fall in the age group of 24-36, you’re more likely access the Internet, download apps, or pay for goods or services through your mobile phone. The study predicts that by the end of 2009, some 44% of mobile users will access data via their handsets, rather than simply making calls or texting. What’s even more interesting is that access to social networking sites is becoming one of the primary reasons for using the mobile Internet.

This is important. Not only is social networking changing the way we communicate on the Web, it’s also driving up smartphone usage, which is further changing our communication and other functions when we’re not tethered to our desktops. Consequently, mobile apps and social networking are together changing the way we live and conduct our business! On the mobile social networking front, Facebook is the strongest driving force. CCS Insight reports that in UK, Facebook is now more popular than Bebo, MySpace and Twitter combined!

IBM predicts more than 50% of its consumers would substitute their PC based Internet connection for a smartphone by the end of this year. Another report from Juniper Research predicts that by 2014, the number of mobile app downloads will be close to 20 billion/ year. Smartphones are not simply being used to download apps or access the internet. Nielson reports that 9.2 million Americans have already used their mobile phones to pay for goods and services.

Smartphones, supported by mobile apps, are increasingly becoming important as tools for eCommerce as well. Innovative mobile apps can now help to reduce lines and accelerate checkout, audit inventory levels, schedule deliveries, enhance customer service, increase loyalty and create additional revenue streams. Mobile applications can actually help you generate better return on operational investment, accelerate speed to market, and lower capital expenditures.

The market for mobile apps expected to peak at 10 million applications by 2020! “Apps will be as big if not bigger than the Internet,” says Ilja Laurs, chief executive of the leading independent application store GetJar. “The full blossom will come in ten years and mobile apps will become as popular as websites are today with consumers.”

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