Future Mobile – What Will Hit and Miss at Mobile World 2012

By: Debbie Meltzer

Already last year it became painfully clear: If you’re an Independent app developer – your ability to compete in the app market has been sapped. Apple’s App Store, once considered a mobile mall has mushroomed into a 500,000 index. App distribution through Amazon, the App store and other avenues has become too pricy. App review site’s tactics to lure developers into expensive exposure deals are proving to be crude and vulture-like.

The app gold rush is over.

Paradoxically, our appetite for mobile data is growing. Smartphone usage is set to rocket to 1.7 billion by 2013 and mobile internet use is projected to surpass PC access by 2014. Big mobile appetites for smartphones and tablets are also driven by demographic growth, particularly in Asia where over 2 billion mobile lines will be accounted for in 2012 alone.

Caught in a quagmire, mobile players are justifiably disillusioned… yet there are rays of hope.


The market is strongly indicating consumers want a fast, streamlined mobile Web experience. The dilemma – to develop a native app or web app is fading and the case for creating mobile websites is firming.

That’s good news for mobile. But does it go far enough? Should future mobile players place their bets on super-sizing their offerings for smartphones and tablets alone?

Truth is, no matter how fast we’d like to ride the mobile highway, no matter how much mobile bling catches our eye, the power is and remains in the network.

Mega tech giants like Intel get it, so much so they are embracing a new network design called Cloud-RAN. Intel wants Cloud-RAN to replace the big-iron wireless networks of today with server farms that can be built and deployed at a fraction of the cost. Other titans like Texas Instruments and Freescale have rebuked this as “wishful thinking.”

Sneer they may, but Intel and other visionaries are not just embracing a next level technology: Their leaders are adjusting to the future impact of the current socio-economic transformation and the drive for new sources of energy – from networks to road ways.

The outcome, in the next few years, could mark the next big thing after the Internet. If only we could just rise above the mobile, social media smog, and project beyond this era of uncertainty. If we did, we’d see the emergence of an Energy Revolution.

My colleagues and I are so caught up in social media mind shafts, Windows Mobile, Android apps, hyper location, e-Wallet, and other 2011-12 buzz words, we are distancing ourselves from a budding power play. We need to start looking at different ways of harnessing energy and focus marketing efforts on driving its agenda.

Futurist and trendologist Gerald Celente believes: “We’re going to see… an energy revolution. … Breakthroughs in new energy could shift the whole game. …”We need a productive capacity; and the best way that we see it is with alternative energy — not wind, solar, geothermal, biofuel, but something much bigger.”

I tend to agree with Celente – Going back to 1990. What got us out of the recession? A productive capacity: the Internet Revolution. Products were invented, designed, manufactured, serviced.

Back casting from 2015, what got us out of the double-dip 2008 – 2014 recession? The energy revolution.

In the next posts I’ll outline what it took to create an energy revolution and how smartphone technology, social media, crowdsourcing and politics can help to advocate the transition.