Smartphone Application Services
3. Smartphone application services
While we have seen gigantic growth in the number of applications built for smartphones (well over 500,000), you'll see the next big growth happen in services. This is where the user gets access to proprietary content or is provided a service for a monthly subscription fee beyond the application itself (which likely will be given away free). Such examples include multiplayer online mobile gaming, stock services, information alerts and music streaming.
Pandora is a good example and I expect that Apple will have a streaming service available this year. In fact, they should consider renaming iTunes to iMedia since it will become a hub for the distribution of rich media on PCs, Macs, iPhones and, perhaps, all smartphones. You'll finally be able to either rent (temporary local use) or own (permanent local use) content.
4. Smartphone application search
As I mentioned in a previous Inside Mobile column, one of the big new areas in mobile will be application Search inside mobile application stores. This will offer beneficial services beyond looking up applications by categories (which helps). Personal profiles will be inputted to assist in the application Search process. This is an area ripe for innovation.
It's easy to notice that tablets are becoming very popular. I believe tablets will form the "three legs of the mobile stool" in which we have: 1) a notebook for creating information (Microsoft Office) and doing serious message management (for example, via Outlook), 2) a smartphone on which to talk and do quick reviews and 3) tablets on which to review, think and do more thorough on-the-go messaging.
6. Tablet applications
Just as the smartphone helped spur the creation of application stores, watch for tablets to help create application stores that are more focused on the tablet environment. You already see this with publishing applications for the iPad that are designed for the tablet and not the iPhone. I think that education will be a huge area for tablets.