Our favourite Mobile Predictions For 2013

We’ve skimmed through many of the “Mobile In 2013” lists to create our own top 10. These are the predictions that either came up again and again, or that echoed our own analysis and data. 

We’ve tried to include predictions from across the mobile ecosystem. But many of the important trends— such as the slow-but-steady gains of HTML5, and mobile advertising’s consolidation— will have impacts that cut across the industry. We’ve linked the sources so that you can view the original predictions. Here they are: 

  1. Mobile payments gain wider acceptance. In Chetan Sharma’s mobile predictions survey, 35 per cent of respondents said mobile payments will be the big breakthrough in 2013, more than any other category. We’ve learned how to consume media on our phones, shop on our phones (via eBay, Gilt, etc.), and of course, communicate and take photos. Now, payments and the wallet itself will go mobile. And it will likely be via credit card readers and payment apps like PayPal Here and breakaway success Square, and not via phone waving or tapping (also known as near-field communications, or NFC). David Marcus, PayPal’s president, may be biased, but he’s right when he says NFC will sputter in 2013. (See chart, above.)
  2. HTML5 will gain traction. Parmy Olson at Forbes put this at number one on her list. We believe HTML5 will be helped along by two factors. Firstly, it’s now more fully baked. The W3C announced in December that HTML5 is “feature complete,” meaning it’s a stable standard that businesses and developers can plan around. It will be official by 2014. And mobile players in emerging markets are betting that HTML5 can anchor a low-cost smartphone economy. 
  3. Mobile advertising will consolidate and simplify. We plumbed the complexities of mobile advertising in one of last year’s most popular reports. In 2013, more market-leading mobile ad platforms and technologies will emerge. Mergers and acquisitions will remove some clutter. Ad exchanges, networks, and data management products will streamline. Programmatic buying will add efficiency and transparency. Advertisers and consumers will win. 
  4. Mini-tablets and phablets will successfully blur the lines between device types. Reuters writes that phablets (phones that are also tablets) are the gadget of 2013. Tablets will become more portable (and cheaper) thanks to 7-inch screen sizes. Phones will become better viewers as they cross the 5-inch threshold. The proliferation of large-screen mobile devices will boost the uptake of mobile video, rich media ads, and mobile games. 
  5. Feature phones will become obsolete in many developed markets. However, as analyst Horace Dediu says in a podcast discussion of a post titled “The Last Feature Phone,” it doesn’t mean all smartphones will be the fully-featured kind many of us are familiar with. On a visit to Wal-Mart, Dediu noticed many Android phones on sale run outdated versions of the platform that won’t allow users to fully participate in the modern smartphone ecosystem. 
  6. Android will make progress on its monetization problem. The app economy already has 1.2 billion consumers worldwide. But Apple makes a lot more money in it than Android, despite the fact that Android has a larger market share. Android is working with carriers globally to enable carrier billing so that apps can monetise without credit cards. It’s also making sure that the Google Play app store is omnipresent across Google’s platforms. 
  7. The app discovery problem gets some serious attention. As we reported, Apple’s App Store now has 775,000 apps. Google Play is not too far behind. The growth in apps has outpaced the development of solutions that help consumers find and download useful apps. Look for technologies and services to emerge that cut through the mess and help consumers find what they need. Advertising may find a foothold in these search engines. 
  8. LTE speeds will become accessible to a critical mass of consumers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Certain data-heavy applications, like mobile video and graphically intense games, aren’t feasible outside of Wi-Fi range without 4G LTE, which offers connection speeds as fast or faster than home broadband. LTE already is already driving data usage for carriers in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. LTE means a video-centric mobile world is around the corner. 
  9. The third platform will in reality turn out to be a handful of niche players. As Roger Chen writes on CNET, there will be the HTML5 mobile Web powering low-end phones, Windows Phone for Microsoft Office and Windows aficionados (it will likely have the most success among the contenders for the third platform title). Amazon will perhaps roll out a smartphone to drive sales of digital media. BlackBerry will hobble on independently for at least a short time as an alternative for those that like a physical keyboard. 
  10. Multiscreen supplants mobile-first as the buzzed-about paradigm. Michael Cassidy, CEO of Undertone, which works on digital campaigns for brands, told Bloomberg TV that in 2013 marketers will “go beyond individual devices and platforms” and look for multiscreen solutions that cut across the complexity of digital. We’ve discussed the limitations of a mobile-first paradigm, and it seems as if the momentum is shifting towards multiscreen. 

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