How The Big Mobile Stories Of 2008 Will Play Out In The New Year


This year was somewhat an anomaly for the wireless industry. A lot of things got done: the impossible of mergers closed; new phones launched that hold the promise of significant industry change; new business and distribution models emerged; and higher-speed networks were more prevalent, making for a better user experience. The industry does tend to move quickly, but the number of big events in 2008 seems staggering. Because of this, I wanted to provide a look back at some of the biggest mobile headlines of the year, and project forward as to what these deals and companies will have to do to remain relevant in the new year. In a lot of ways, the deals may have been done, and the products and services may have gotten out of the gate, but 2009 will be a year of execution.

2008 Olympics in Beijing: The worldwide Olympic games were considered the biggest example of a digital event, where content would be available en masse on the three screens: mobile, online and TV. The event was largely a success with NBC reporting surprising mobile traffic, and others seeing customers experiment with new content for the first time.

— Looking forward: The big question is whether these one-time users, who logged in for an addictive event like the Olympics, will continue to come back to the mobile phone for events with less significance. Already there’s predictions that massive numbers of people will turn to their phones for history-making events, such as the president-elect


Steve Martin

all the success depends on one thing, the amount of traffic it can draw into the service, thats why beijing Olympic was such a success, it is able to draw such a huge amount of traffic because it was held in one of the largest country in the world.

Stephen Dolle

I think the big challenge for 2009 will be in how the carriers balance the availability of (and support for) phones with integrative applications versus phones whose applications that rely on network and data. Carriers can reap obvious revenue streams from enhanced data plans, yet can equally realize new gains from customers seeking phones with integrated applications.

With a slowing global economy, I suspect it will be several years before the benefits of data based applications can outweigh the benefits of apps in integrated phones. With new training and customer support preogatives being undertaken by the carriers, it would seem they should start with instruction on the integrative apps first, before widely marketing data plan apps. I have been working on a proposal to improve the training, marketing, and adoption of phones, and as such am weighing the integrative v. data apps argument. Each phone design has its pluses in these applications. Clearly, the seniors and digital divide (age 40 -60) markets are the least developed.

Lafayette Howell

The author is right that 2009 will be about execution, but this is always the case. The winners so far have done a good job at execution. I believe what we are seeing is rapid maturation in the mobile space, yet, there is still more of a need that should be placed on relevance for the user, high quality and fresh data and utility for all users not just iPhone owners. It is worth repeating that the iPhone has a miniscule fraction of the market and Android even less so. Thus, my bets are on the remaining 97% of devices. Developers would be best served to develop apps that are relevant and helpful to this large and profitable market.

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