Mobile Predictions Optimistic As Ever
It's that time of year for raising a glass and making bullish predictions about the high-tech industry in 2010. Will it finally be the Year of Mobile? Yahoo seems to think so. Hilary Schneider, executive vice president of Yahoo North America, told attendees of the Reuters Global Media Summit that she expects "exponential" growth in mobile advertising next year as the overall market begins recovering from the downturn.
But as she herself pointed out, that mobile growth rates -- like those of any emerging media -- look impressive because they're starting from such a small base. Forrester, for instance, expects U.S. mobile advertising to jump from $391 million this year to $561 million in 2010 and hit $1.3 billion in 2014. That would still be a tiny fraction of the $55 billion in overall interactive marketing spending Forrester projects by then.
Technology research firm IDC has weighed in with a few bold predictions itself for mobile in 2010. For starters, it expects more than a billion mobile devices worldwide to access the Internet, approaching the 1.3 billion doing so on PCs.
When it comes to mobile applications, IDC projects the number of iPhone apps available will nearly triple to 300,000 a year from now. One factor that could slow growth, though, is developers releasing a single, upgradeable app instead of separate free and paid versions. Apple opened the door to that option in October when it allowed developers to monetize free programs with in-app transactions.
IDC projects Android apps will ramp up even faster-jumping from about 10,000 now to 50,000 to 70,000 by the end of 2010 as Google's open mobile platform spreads across multiple devices. The firm also says the much-rumored Apple tablet will finally arrive. Look for the "iPad" a year from now. IDC calls this prediction a "no-brainer" but PC World last month declared the Apple tablet "dead," a mere fanboy mirage.
In any case, IDC expects 40 million netbooks to ship next year from companies including Dell, HP and Lenovo, representing a 25% increase from 2009. One area it says will be overhyped next year is the rollout of 4G wireless offerings. "The less glamorous, but real, wireless network story for 2010 will be the continuing, steady migration of carriers and customers to 3G technologies," according to IDC. A sobering thought amid the sugar plum visions.