These are the companies, startups and giants alike, that are changing or could potentially change the mobile landscape in the most profound ways.



CEO: Noam Bardin

Number of employees: 90

The business:

Waze is a crowd-sourced traffic app that uses anonymized data from users’ phones to paint an accurate picture of traffic conditions. Users are able to further contribute back to the community by sharing live reports on conditions.

The backstory:

Waze grew out of a hack by Isreali Ehud Shabtai, who used crowd-sourced data to map out his country’s red-light cameras. The effort turned into a larger mapping project, which became Waze in 2009. In 2010, the company debuted in the U.S. and later moved its headquarters to Palo Alto.

The innovation:

Waze effectively turned millions of smartphones into moving real-time sensors that fed back data into a larger network. The service leveraged the concept of social network in which everyone provided a little data for the good of the entire community.

The plan:

Waze is now trying to create more benefit for users who join the Waze social network. It has created a gas-finder service that lets people find exclusive discounts on gas. Waze is looking at more partnerships with retailers that will offer deals to its users.


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  1. Tapit were Winners @ 2012 AIMIA for Best New Service in innovation – NFC

    http://www.mobileawards.com. au/MA2012/entry_details.asp? ID=10757&Category_ID=4852)

  2. Check out this slide deck titled “A Catalog of Mobile Device Innovations”


  3. Surya Narayanan Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Sadly you have not looked at the emerging markets hard enough. You would have found very interesting examples including Safaricom’s m-pesa which is by the larger than Western Union Money Transfer. Please look to create a more inclusive list..

    1. It would have been good to consider the social impact of innovations. There are so many innovative mobile companies out there, but if they don’t make people’s lives better then do they really answer the “so what?” test. M-PESA is a great example of a mobile innovation that has changed millions of people’s lives and is helping to create a vibrant mobile ecosystem. Its influence can be seen in every mobile wallet/banking/payments initiative the world over.
      If you don’t know M-PESA, read this: http://mobithinking.com/country-guides-home/guide-mobile-web-kenya

  4. all of your links to the “Mobile 15″ are broken

    1. Thanks, this is fixed.

  5. Alcatel – Lucent and Nokia? You’ve got to be kidding me…Why not add RIM and MySpace too..

  6. With Windows 8 just around the corner its bizarre that Microsoft didn’t make the list.

  7. Have you ever heard of republic wireless?

  8. I did not realize GigiOm was this desperate for money

  9. Including Nokia and **not** Qualcomm renders your list laughable, and from the entire staff to boot ? No need reading any further and further questions the value of anything Gigaom.com?

    Jim M

  10. Great innovation! Glad to see Thinfilm on the short list!

  11. What an amazing story. I had the luck to meet all of the team yesterday, and today at #SEMICONEuropa http://twitter.com/SEMICONEuropa here in Dresden, Germany

  12. Amazing folks – currently in Dresden at http://Twitter.com/SEMICONEuropa – had the pleasure to talk to them, and learn more about this amazing product. Well deserved!!!

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