Mobile & Wireless Slideshow: Gartner's 10 Mobile Apps to WatchBy Tony Kontzer | Posted 02-22-2011
Location-based services (LBSs)
Gartner expects the total user base of consumer LBSs to reach 1.4 billion users by 2014. LBS 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.
Mobile social networking is the fastest-growing consumer mobile app category of the 19 tracked by Gartner. 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 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, or placing an order.
Over the next 24 months, Gartner expects 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.
Although near field communication (NFC) payment will be included in high-end phones from 2011, Gartner does not believe that it will become mainstream before 2015. There's need to first increase user awareness, extend service coverage and address ease-of-use to appeal to end users.
Context-aware applications provide improved user experiences by using 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 services.
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 by 2012.
Mobile instant messaging (MIM)
Gartner expects MIM to attract consumers to new types of unified communication (UC) clients provided by service providers such as Skype. These so-called "over the top" service providers are threatening revenues for traditional communications service provider voice.
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 services. Gartner expects mobile e-mail users worldwide to increase from 354 million in 2009 to 713 million in 2014, to account for 10.6 percent of the global mobile user base.
Mobile phones with larger screens and media tablets offer the ideal platform for video consumption and consumer education. Companies also can benefit by enabling mobile workers to access content such as executive messages, training videos and maintenance instructions.