12/23/2008 5:16:00 PM
Inq boss discusses where mobile internet is headed in 2009
Email and social networking through mobile will get the most advertising and development money in 2009. As the user accesses the site on their mobile, it also drives up overall internet usage on a PC. Instant messaging and Twitter-like services will get the big usage gains as people start to get comfortable with those services on mobile due to better user experiences like on INQ.
I expect a lot of companies to follow INQ's lead and provide better integration of internet communication services on mobiles such as email, IM and social networking. Internet companies will get more involved with mobile and particularly with those handsets that can provide some source of revenue to them and particularly drive up overall usage of their PC based site.
Mobile companies will start to compete for 'exclusives' from internet companies and pay for it, and although this is not a good idea for an internet company (witness MySpace losing the UK mobile market completely to Facebook because of MySpace's exclusive deal with Vodafone which didn't have the right tariffs or user base to make that deal a success), nonetheless the offer of mobile company’s money may tempt them again.
Also the emergence of a wide range of Android devices will be good for overall internet use as they flood the market in 2009.
There will be a lot of handsets claiming to be 'the Facebook phone', but it will come down to user experience and ultimate usage statistics to see which handset actually drives use. I think Twitter will take off in the mass market in the UK. Mobile operators will start to throw money at social networking advertising in a bid to drive new revenues.
Only the best experience coupled with great value will be good enough to get people to purchase anything. Companies that have coasted on rather poor user interfaces and poor value tariffs will be found out as the market gets very tight even at the top end. 'Essential' services such as email, instant messaging and Facebook will be the most important to the consumer. Expensive mobile music and TV packages will drastically slow as people go to side loading and become more adept at getting content to their handsets without paying big sums for it.
Factors to get consumers using data services will be good access to essential internet communication services. Except in case of iPhone where the browser is good enough to just drive overall internet usage higher.
I expect to see Apple continue to dominate and probably strengthen it's position at the mid to high end (GBP 35+ contracts) because the ecosystem and experience that Apple offers at the high end is vastly superior to anything else for the consumer.