date: Mobile Future Forward 2012 - Sept 2012
Mobile Future Forward
is a gathering of some of the most influential minds in the
mobile industry. The experts and visionaries from around the
world will discuss and debate the future of mobile industry.
In proud partnership
2012 Mobile Industry
First things first. From all of us at
Chetan Sharma Consulting, we wish you and yours a very happy,
healthy, and prosperous 2012. My thanks to all who participated
in our 2012 Mobile Predictions Annual Survey. It gives our
community an insider’s view of trends.
2011 was a terrific year for the mobile
industry. With all its ups and down, consumers embraced devices,
applications, services, and technology with more gusto than ever
before. In the waning hours of 2011, we crossed the 6 billion
subscriptions milestone. While the first billion took 19
years, this last billion only took 15 months.
Smartphones are selling like hot cakes.
We estimate that by the end of Q4 2011, over 60% of the
devices sold in the US were smartphones and over 30% of
the global sales were for the evolved brethren of the primordial
featurephones. Sparked by insatiable consumer demand for mobile
data, LTE and HSPA+ networks are sprouting all over the planet
with US leading the charge for broadband deployment.
Our annual survey is a way for us to
engage our community on the trends for the next year. We put
some of the pressing questions to our colleagues and industry
leaders. We are able to glean some valuable insights from their
choices and comments, some tangible shifts, and get a sense of
what’s to come. Executives, developers, and insiders (n=150)
from leading mobile companies and startups from across the value
chain and around the world participated to help see what 2012
might bring to keep us on our toes. What makes this survey
unique is that it draws upon the collective wisdom of folks who
are at the center of the mobile evolution.
Fifteen names were randomly drawn for the
limited edition of the
Mobile Future Forward 2011 book. The
Minde, Head of Ericsson Labs, Ericsson
Somasundaram, Industry Solutions Practice Director, AT&T
Ortiz, Mobile Technologist, About Mobility
Buckley, CMO, Eagle Eye
Marck, VP – Engineering, Starbucks
President, ZED USA
Saez, Sr. Director, Orange Spain
Senior Director, Microsoft Asia
Reuther, Advanced Analytics Lab, Sprint
VP of Mobile, Isobar
Day, Director of Finance, Trilogy International
Research Staff Member, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
X J Wang, VP
– GM China, Vesta Corp
Lee, Director, SK Telecom
Chandak, Sr. Analyst, Cisco Systems
Thanks again to everyone who contributed.
We will be calling on you again next year. It has been a
terrific year for us at Chetan Sharma Consulting and we are
looking forward to an engaging and productive 2012.
Be well, do good work, and stay in touch.
Thanks and with warm wishes,
Your feedback is always welcome.
Now onto the 2012 Mobile Industry
Predictions Survey Results.
1. What was most newsworthy in Mobile 2011?
Android had a spectacular rise in 2011
around the globe. Android OEMs collectively shipped the most
number of devices and while margins shrank, they were able to
put a united front to iOS. 2011 will always be remembered for
the passing away of the industry transformer Steve Jobs. His
work directly or indirectly touched billions of souls around the
planet, many times over – something rarest of human beings are
able to achieve in their life time. Regulatory tussles and
significant increase in IP disputes also occupied the headlines.
Amazon announced its intention for the mobile space with the
launch of Kindle Fire.
2. What will be the biggest mobile stories of 2012?
As we look towards 2012, our panel voted for the continued
growth of mobile data as the biggest story followed by Amazon’s
entry into the mobile space. Some key questions for the year
are: Will Microsoft/Nokia devices will make any meaningful
progress? Will RIM survive the year? How does Google manage the
fragmentation, decline in margins (for the OEMs), and the IP
issues? Will any high-profile security and privacy mishaps lead
to more regulatory entanglements? Facebook IPO and its mobile
ambitions? How do operators manage the data demand? Which M&As
will capture industry’s attention? Will Apple continue to
dominate on both smartphone and tablet front? What does Apple do
with mobile payments? and much more. Clearly, it is going to be
a terrific year.
3. Who will be the most open player in the mobile ecosystem in
File this in the “perception is reality” folder. Despite all the
criticism, Google has maintained its strong position as the most
open player in the mobile industry.
4. What applications will define 4G?
Still looking for a killer-4G app? Video, cloud computing, and
access will continue to drive 4G demand and growth.
5. What will be the breakthrough category in mobile in 2012?
For a second year in a row, the panel voted for mobile payments
and mobile commerce as the top two category that will find their
voice. Mobile advertising has become mainstream so it lost its
ranking in the top 3.
6. What will be the most popular consumer mobile applications in
Apps preferences vary by regions depending on a whole range of
factors. Messaging and Commerce are the top two categories for
the developing world while consumers in the developed nations
are likely to gravitate towards commerce and location based
7. Which will be the most dominant (unit sales) tablet platform
in 2 years?
iOS and Android will dominate the tablet landscape for the next
24 months. A late entry by Windows 8 tablets could make a dent
but don’t count on it.
8. Who will make the biggest mobile acquisition in 2012?
2011 had its fair share of block-buster acquisitions, some
successful while others were not. Our panel expects Microsoft
and Google to continue making the biggest acquisitions.
9. How will the "Apps vs. Mobile Web" debate shape up in 2012?
It seems like the pendulum is swinging towards the mobile web
though hybrid solutions are likely to stay with us for a long
10. Who will define the mobile payment/commerce space?
The financial companies safely locked in the mobile payments
space and while the value chain is fairly complicated and
definition confusion abounds, the likes of Visa, Operators and
Google will continue to drive the payments/commerce space.
11. Which solutions will gain the most traction for managing
mobile data broadband consumption?
Managing data growth and margins drives all strategies at mobile
operators these days which in turns drives the value chain. 4G,
tiered pricing, and mobile offload continue to be the top
solutions if one has the spectrum that is.
12. Which category will generate the most mobile data revenue in
Messaging, access, apps, and advertising are the four broad
categories that drive mobile data revenues around the world. The
developing markets rely on messaging while the developed markets
are increasingly looking to access as their dominant form of
13. What will help mobile cloud computing gain traction in 2012?
Mobile cloud computing will continue to be defined by
enterprise, storage, and media needs.
14. Which enterprise segment will mobile impact the most?
Best buy is becoming the next Circuit City. Other retailers will
follow unless they can successful reinvent themselves. Health is
more regulatory driven so the progress will be slow though it is
ripe for a complete overhaul and developing nations are moving
much faster in this space.
15. What will be the dominant revenue model for apps in 2012?
In-app revenue model made good strides in 2011 but the
combination of the various available revenue models will be the
norm for most application developers.
16. What mode of mobile payments will get traction in North
America and Western Europe in 2012?
2011 was the year to set the ground work for growth in the
mobile payments space. Given the investment and focus, we are
likely to see more movement and consumer involvement in 2012
with proximity based solutions and commerce of physical goods on
17. What will be the most successful non-mobile-phone category
Tablets dominate. Period.
18. Which of the following are likely to happen in the near
The is a significant shift in computing taking place right in
front of our eyes wherein tablets are replacing laptops and even
desktops in the enterprise. European operators have been
experiencing tough times while some of the Asian operators are
flush with cash, they might make their move in 2012 though
regulatory hurdles might prove to be an issue. 33% of the
nations will have elections in 2012, maybe which will move
mobile voting to the forefront in some nations. Our panel
thought there is a better chance of humans discovering water on
another planet than rise of another significant mobile OS.
19. Which areas will feel the most impact from Regulators in
Net-neutrality and market competitiveness will keep the
regulators busy in 2012.
20. Who was the mobile person of the year?
Clearly, Steve Jobs was an easy choice but who will replace him
2012? Jeff Bezos has an early lead followed by Andy Rubin and
Mark Zuckerberg. Angry Birds representing the developer
community will be in for another terrific year. Other honorable
mentions were Tim Cook, Paul Jacobs, Sanjiv Ahuja, Dan Hesse,
and Glenn Lurie.
A lot to look forward to in the New Year. My thanks to all who
participated and we hope you found it useful as you embark on
your journey for a successful 2012.
We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless
data sector in our blog, twitter
The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Feb
2012. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued
in Apr 2012.
Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this survey are