Trends in Mobile Devices: What's Driving Use in 2009?

By Ellen Pearlman


The cellphone is the most coveted global mobile device: roughly 50 percent of the world's population now owns one, versus just 12 percent in 2000. While its first iteration was mainly for communicating with others, it's now used to send and receive e-mail, get information, access business applications, download music and videos, play games, participate in online communities and locate a person or physical place.


John Markoff, in The New York Times, says that these devices are "changing how we think about information." Unlike the PC of an earlier generation, that used icons, files and folders, the new metaphor for organizing information on the cellphone is a map, he says. Google has a new location-based service, for example, called Latitude that lets friends track each other. The explosion in new uses for cellphones is also fueling interest in a mobile advertising market to reach the billions of users worldwide.


In Deloitte's 2009 Technology, Media & Telecom Predictions report, analysts say that enterprise social networking (ESN) will spread beyond the consumer experience of social networking, with ESN tools allowing mobile workers to be part of the social network phenomenon.


Deloitte also expects that the telecommunications sector will face challenges based on the uncertain state of the global economy. They believe that financial pressures felt by the operators and their customers will actually accelerate the telecom industry's transformation. Some key highlights from the Telecom report are:




    • Data Ascends from the Basement to the Boardroom—Customer information has long been part of telecommunications operators' asset base, but collection has outweighed insight. Given the economic outlook, however, better customer information may help operators retain and gain customers.



    • Farewell Mobile Phone, Welcome the Wireless Device—In 2009, the mobile phone will evolve from being a device dedicated to cellular mobile networks into a truly wireless device.



    • Integration Unleashes Mobile Phone Convergence—The promise of mobile phone convergence remained largely unfulfilled in recent years, requiring consumers seeking top-of-the-range performance little alternative but to carry multiple devices. But in 2009, the convergence compromise may be overcome.



    • The Joys of Disintermediation: Why Operators Should Embrace the Application Store—Mobile operators have long been concerned by disintermediation: the intrusion by third parties into the originally closed relationship between operator and customer. But in 2009, mobile phone users are expected to download more than 10 billion applications to their mobile phones—the majority from sites managed by mobile device manufacturers, consumer electronics firms, and software houses.


There's a lot more information about trends in mobile devices. Here's a roundup of some useful books, articles, blogs, events and reports that will keep you in the know.


Next: Top Resources on Mobile Device Trends

{mospagebreak title=Top Resources}

Blog: OpenGardens, founded in 2005 by Ajit Jaokar, also the founder of the London based publishing and research company futuretext. The blog covers wireless/mobile applications, open networks and mobile web 2.0. Ajit is also the author of Mobile Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing. Two more books-Open Mobile and Beyond Web 2.0: Web 3.0 and the Internet of Things-are being released in 2009.


Blog: Technology Review Editors. "How Google Is Making Books Mobile" by Erica Naone, February 6, 2009. The company released mobile versions of more than 1.5 million public-domain books. Google eventually plans to make copyrighted books available for mobile devices. Google Book Search already has deals with 20,000 publishing partners covering more than a million books.


Book: Mobile Advertising: Supercharge Your Brand in the Exploding Wireless Market by Chetan Sharma, Joe Herzog and Victor Melfi, published by Wiley, March 2008. A practical guide to the emerging mobile advertising market. This is a how-to guide for anyone who wants to understand and take advantage of this hot new advertising medium. Drawing on the experience of three industry veterans, insights from key influencers and decision makers, and detailed case studies, the book gives you practical guidance for getting the most out of mobile advertising.


Book: Mobile Web Design by Cameron Moll, paperback published by Cameron Moll, January 2008. This book provides a web standards approach for delivering content on mobile devices.


D: All Things Digital: "Kara Visits AdMob (And Talks About How the iPhone Turbocharged the Mobile Advertising Business) by Kara Swisher, published November 14, 2008. The number of ads AdMob is serving on the iPhone jumped to more than 100 million in September, compared to 35 million the month before. Swisher's video interview with Omar Hamoui, founder and CEO of AdMob, on the growth of mobile advertising.

"Mobile Internet Trends"—original content from the industry's top thought leaders. This includes weekly content by Caroline Gabriel, Research Director at ReThink Research, special reports by Yankee Group Research, and more.


Organization: Mobile Web Initiative. Mobile Web Initiative participants are developing best practices for creating mobile-friendly content and applications, enabling easy access to device descriptions, setting up test suites for increased interoperability of mobile browsers, and exploring ways to use the Web on mobile devices to bridge the digital divide.


Report: Deloitte's "2009 Technology, Media & Telecom Predictions," an in-depth look at the emerging issues that will have an impact on the technology, media and telecommunications sectors in the coming year. The 2009 series has drawn on internal and external inputs from conversations with member firm clients, contributions from Deloitte member firms' 6,000 partners and managers specializing in TMT, and discussions with industry analysts, as well as interviews with leading executives from around the globe. Each report includes recommendations on how to leverage these trends. "Google Latitude Broadcasts Your Location" by Scott Gilbertson, February 4, 2009 blog about Google's Latitude.


"Wireless Watch Japan"—an independent English news source on Japan's mobile industry, it provides original coverage via news reports, analytical articles, streaming video & audio programs and a free email newsletter.


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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and