10 Cutting-edge Mobile Application Trends for 2012
Focusing on high-end devices with an average selling price of more than $300, analysts have identified the top 10 cutting-edge technologies and trends for 2012. Winning mobile apps will have unique features that cater to the mobile environment rather than act as a mobile extension of their online peers.
Mobile applications will be a highly competitive marketplace that attracts the interest of many stakeholders, Increasingly, mobile applications will define the user experience on high-end devices and device vendors that proactively integrate innovative apps and technologies at the platform layer will have the competitive edge.”
Mobile apps themselves will not only generate good revenue ($15.9 billion in expected end-user spending in 2012) but will also drive hardware sales, advertising spending and technology innovation. Brand companies will increasingly shift their marketing budget to the mobile channel, and experiment with cutting-edge apps to capture marketing and sales opportunities. Companies, as well as technology and service providers, that stay abreast of the latest developments could make their products stand out from the pack, enhance brand image and retain user loyalty.
Location Based Services (LBS)
Location is one of the main enablers that deliver services to users based on their context and it is expected that the total user base of consumer location-based services will reach 1.4 billion users by 2014. Location-based services strive to deliver features and functionalities in tune with the user's context, taking into account the user's location, personal preference, gender, age, profession, intention and so on, thus offering a more-intelligent user experience than basic location services can. It is believed context-aware services are a key trend for mobile apps, and location is a key enabler of that.
Mobile social networking is the fastest-growing consumer mobile app category. Social network platforms are sucking in increasing amounts of network traffic. They are becoming portals, transit hubs and cloud storage for increasing amounts of messaging and e-mail traffic, videos, photos, games and commerce. As mainstream adoption progresses, global social sites will be driven toward providing services in partnership with third parties using open APIs, and are likely to evolve to a role as infrastructure providers acting as data warehouses and providing user data and access to the more-consumer-facing brands.
Visual search is usually related with product search to enable price comparisons or to check product information. To bring mobile search to the next level, the app would allow users to take actions based on the result, such as making a call or reservation, buying a ticket, placing an order, and so on. Search providers will build the experience around mobile to allow users access to immediate results and to take actions, given the short time span users have. Mobile device vendors should partner with or acquire promising search providers to integrate the technology, preferably at the platform layer, to offer a differentiated user experience.
Today, mobile commerce is more of an extension of e-commerce but in a smaller form factor and with a more-streamlined experience. However, over the next 24 months, the emergence of uniquely mobile functions, such as the ability to "check in" to a store to alert a retailer that you are there, or the ability to add items to a shopping cart simply by taking a photo of an item or bar code in the physical store should be expected. In the future, richer mobile commerce capabilities will expand from native apps to the mobile browser as HTML5 starts to be deployed, though this will happen at a much later stage.
Although near field communication (NFC) payment was included in high-end phones from 2011, It is believed that it will not become mainstream before 2015. In order to get consumers on board, payment solution providers need to address ease-of-use for users and ease-of-implementation for customers without compromising security. They also need to increase user awareness, extend the service coverage and address ease-of-use to appeal to end users.
Context-aware applications provide improved user experiences by using the information about a person's interests, intentions, history, environment, activities, schedule, priorities, connections and preferences to anticipate their needs and proactively serve up the most appropriate content, product or service. Mobile carriers, along with handset manufacturers, should provide expanded location services to include, among others, directory assistance, mapping, advertising and privacy controls.
Object recognition (OR)
High-end devices have an increased sensor and processing capability that enable sophisticated applications to recognize the user's surroundings, including specific objects of interest. Because OR provides an easy-to-use interface, more apps will come to the market with enhanced capabilities in 2012. Users will rely on the camera, as well as other device sensors as a communication tool when OR capabilities are combined with more-traditional app functions, giving users advanced search capabilities and a plethora of entertainment and productivity functionality.
Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM)
It is expected MIM will attract consumers to new types of unified communication (UC) client, provided by over the top (OTT) service providers such as Skype. These service providers are threatening traditional communications service provider voice revenue. Companies that consider including MIM into new products should consider integrating it with other communications types, such as location and presence, but be cautious about developing other functionality, such as federation of social network activity.
Smartphones have begun to drive the mainstream adoption of mobile e-mail through a series of technology enhancements enabling low-cost mobile extensions to existing e-mail service.. E-mail addresses are personal and potentially extremely sticky, thus provide carriers, e-mail service providers and OTT players with an opportunity to lock in consumers. Technology and service providers should consider how they can make it easier for consumers to use their affiliated mobile e-mail services as a way of ensuring long-term engagement with customers.