May 14, 2010

Musing About the Mobile Marketplace

Posted in Mobile Devices at 3:21 am by michelle1130

Last Thursday, at InnoTech Oregon, attendees were abuzz about mobile applications and websites; just a click away on the cell phone. The buzz turned to a roar during the panel: The Mobile Application Marketplace. Four panellists, with hands on experience with the mobile application business, spoke about opportunities and challenges in this industry. According to these experts, mobile applications were exploding; especially social applications, like Facebook. Free applications with ads or bundled with a cell phone provider seem to be the new business model. But, finding a standardized language to develop the mobile applications has been a challenge; especially with a wide variety of phones (e.g. iPhone, Android, Nokia, etc). While it was fascinating listening to the panel, I thought I would search the web to learn more. The librarian in me likes to check facts based on more than one source.

The 2010 Statistical Abstract, http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/information_communications.html is an excellent source to start to get a handle on the mobile marketplace. Granted statistics still need to be collected specifically for mobile applications and websites. But, the site does contain documents of interest and relation to the mobile marketplace (e.g. Cellular Telecommunications Industry; Household Internet Usage by Type of Internet Connection, and State; Wired and Wireless Telecommunications Carriers–Estimated Revenue, etc..).  Each document opens in an Excel format or a PDF format; displaying data covering the United States. The charts paint pictures on potentional revenue expanding opportunities in the mobile marketplace.

Another resource, a must read, puts a legal perspective on the opportunities and challenges in the mobile marketplace. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, published a report, in April 2009, called  Beyond Voice: Mapping the Mobile Marketplace , found at http://www.ftc.gov/reports/mobilemarketplace/mobilemktgfinal.pdf . The report was written from a town meeting held in May 2008, to discuss consumer protections in the mobile market place. The report first covers an overview of the Mobile Marketplace, Session 1. Then the report unfolds into 6 meaty sections: Mobile Messaging, Mobile Applications, Location Based Services, Mobile Advertising and Marketing, Managing Your Mobile Device, and Children and Teens. The report considers action with a section on Best Practices and another on Mobile Security. This report will leave the reader with a sense of how revenue from the mobile marketplace may be impacted by privacy and legal controls.

After exploring the 2010 Statistical Abstract and the Beyond Voice: Mapping the Mobile Market Place, I have become more excited about the potential of the mobile market place. As one of the panellists said at InnoTech Oregon, this is a new frontier another gold rush. It is debatable how the mobile marketplace landscape will emerge. In the meantime I am grateful for my Android. I find places with the GPS application, I keep my schedule on it, and search the Internet by voice. I keep finding a myriad of uses I just did not see before and considerations for testing software. It will be interesting to see where the mobile marketplace emerges next.

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