Phil Roberson, HTC executive director UK and Ireland, for Mobile
We have seen a huge growth in the mobile industry last year, but 2012 is set to be a crucial time for the entire industry. As smartphones become increasingly popular they also become ever more ingrained into daily life. There is a huge opportunity for a wide range of industries to capitalise on these intelligent, connected devices that people keep by their side constantly – not only to help us to work more efficiently, but there’s a big growth opportunity in entertainment too.
2011 saw smartphones firmly replace ‘feature phones’ as the standard device, and sales are growing dramatically. For 2012, Canalys predicts 25% growth for the smartphone market which means new opportunities for network operators, service and content suppliers, games and app developers. There are even opportunities for those outside of the mobile industry. Consumers expect a smartphone to deliver a more sophisticated experience, syncing data with their computer or even with their car.
Most importantly, consumers want this experience to be seamless. Despite a number of technological advances and breakthroughs, the user experience will still be the most important factor. People want to be able to enjoy content like videos and music on the go without having to treat each portable device as a separate sandboxed entity. They want to take their data with them without restrictions, not having to stop and start each time they move from the computer screen to the mobile device to the TV. The expectation is that smartphones will set the pace and create new ways for people to keep in touch or share their lives, as well as new ways to experience content.
2011 started the mainstream movement towards content being hosted in the cloud and 2012 will only accelerate this paradigm. This means network capacity and speed will be incredibly important. Currently, the UK is lagging behind on the implementation of high speed networks. This puts a lot of pressure on the network operators, as consumers want to use their smartphones and tablets to their full potential. Another major area will be content and services.
Smartphone users demand more processing power to handle their increasing data consumption in tandem with making their mobile experience bespoke; from tailoring the look of the user interface, apps and widgets to having their social networks integrated. But this is just the start, location-based services are just one example of how the mobile experience will be enhanced. With increased processing power in devices and faster access to the cloud, we’ll see big leaps in content and services.