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   August, 2010

2010: The Year Mobile Grew Up

When we look back at 2010, we’ll say this was the year that mobile grew up. The hottest and most popular web applications aren’t Internet sites folks visit on their PC at home. The most talked applications are apps designed for mobile devices.

Smartphone’s are taking over a larger share of the market. Some people predicted that this growth would slow with the recession, but instead, the pace has actually accelerated. The introduction of the iPad only increased the extent to which people look to apps and mobile devices for activities they once performed on full-sized computers.

Most popular sites, originally designed for traditional computers, are adjusting to the mobile world. Yelp now uses smartphone GPS functionality to find your location and quickly read or write a review. Of course, FourSquare wouldn’t even exist without mobile. Even Twitter is getting into the game – not just with apps, but with text messaging, encouraging folks to sign up for SMS tweets.

As usual, Facebook is poised to be a major player in the shift towards mobile. Facebook Places uses geo-locating to let people “check-in” and see which friends are nearby. As usual, Facebook’s innovation has generated concern about privacy and the aggregation of personal data.

One of the stories of the year is how television viewing is on the decline, as people divide their time among multiple devices. Responding to the trend, HBO rolled out HBO Mobile, giving subscribers access to full episodes of HBO programs on their mobile device.

Over the next four months, things will continue to evolve. Tools that are hot today will eventually take their place next to your old Atari 2600 as little more than nostalgic relics for a small coterie of collectors and researchers. Something unexpected will take off and become wildly successful.

The only thing certain this is that our world is getting more connected and more mobile. And if your organization doesn’t tap into that, you risk becoming one of the tools that gets left behind too.