During a Davos panel Friday, the heads of Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Sony (NYSE: SNE), NBC and China Mobile expressed optimism over the future of the mobile industry, with Google’s Eric Schmidt, in particular, calling current projections for the size of the industry too low. Responding to a Forrester report, which called for mobile advertising to reach $1 billion by 2012, Schmidt said it had failed to take into account a coming “tipping point” in mobile web usage. Google hasn’t been shy about its mobile ambitions and in typical Davosian rhetoric, Schmidt said that the power of location-based advertising was set to unleash a “huge revolution”. He told the panel, according to Reuters: “It’s the recreation of the Internet, it’s the recreation of the PC story and it is before us — and it is very likely it will happen in the next year.”
China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou concurred, not surprisingly, according to AP, though Sony CEO Howard Stringer was more skeptical on whether users would embrace mobile ads.
Jeff Jarvis covered the panel as well and noted that Stringer still said mobile will be the “platform for everything”, so obviously his caution on mobile advertising isn’t a statement on mobile in general. NBC’s Jeff Zucker was the only one, according to Jarvis, who didn’t convey a sense of revolutionary fervor on mobile, as he doesn’t see it having a huge impact at NBC… except they’re still planning on delivering 2,200 hours of Olympics content to mobiles this summer.
All in all, sounds like a typical Davos event: lots of optimism, talk of a tipping point and a chance for leaders to sound visionary without sticking their necks out too far.