Mobile App Internet: Making Sense Of The 2011 Mobile Hysteria

Starting with CES in early January and through the Mobile World Congress last week in Barcelona, the mobile industry has been in a feeding frenzy of announcement activity. At CES, it was centered on Android-powered tablets. During the Mobile World Congress, it was about the big Microsoft/Nokia deal and vendors scrambling to differentiate their Android handsets.

But behind all these announcements, there is a broader shift going on to what Forrester calls the mobile app Internet and the accompanying broader wave of app development and management. We have just published a report that explores the different vectors of innovation and sizes the mobile app Internet from an app sales and services opportunity.

The report looks at the three factors beyond hardware that will drive the market:

  1. Even at $2.43/app, the app market will emerge as a $38B market by 2015 as more tablets and smart phones are sold and the number of paid for apps per device increases due to improvements in the app store experience.
  2. A perfect storm of innovation is unleashed by the merger of mobile, cloud, and smart computing. I see innovation coming from the combination of apps and smart devices like appliances and cars, improved user experience around the apps by better leveraging the context from the sensors in the devices, and enabling the apps to take advantage of new capabilities like near field communications (NFC) for things such as mobile payments.
  3. Helping enterprises ride out the perfect storm of innovation is a $17B services opportunity. Firms will need help building mobile apps for employees and customers. Corporations will also need third-party services firms to manage the devices and apps as well as to set up and to administer their own private label enterprise app stores. And finally, the CIO and business executives will hire consultants to help their reengineer their business processes to take full advantage of the mobile and tablet apps and innovation.

The combined spend on apps and services will be $US54.6B a year by 2015. The shift to the mobile App Internet disrupts basically everything you thought you knew about building, delivering, and managing applications. It will also dramatically impact how traditional software is sold and delivered. Every part of the IT delivery system will be affected by these tiny tools we call apps. What have your experiences been? Please comment.


Yes, I agree with the general

Yes, I agree with the general message of this post. We are seeing a massive shift in the platform accompanied by greatly increased scale. The key thing to note, which the post refres to also, is that mobile apps and smartphones will coexist in the IT ecosystem together with PCs/laptops and mainframes to provide the maximum leverage. They will not be islands on to themselves. I also agree that the way people interact with apps will also change and great apps will have to be cognizant of the way the mobile worker behaves. I talk about these in my various posts at Finally, akin to the early days of the PC, apps will move quickly from consumer/gamish apps to business apps. When the latter start moving to smartphone... and the move is probably happening as we speak... the size of the market will explode. So the $55 billion number looks highly plausible to me.

The Mobile App User Experience Revolution

Great post. I smiled at the title -- because the "sense you make of the hysteria" is to agree with it, as do I.

Consumers and firms have spent billions to create a ubiquitous network, and now smart mobile devices are emerging as the ubiquitous interface which makes the network pay off through more flexible and convenient user experiences.

Besides smart computing, mobile and clouds, I'd add the emergence of semantic data and programming tools like HTML5 which break the page metaphor. As I speak and write about this I've described this convergence as Web3.0, and increasingly see that as change as dramatic as the introduction of the Web browser was.

You may more on how Apps will change digital marketing on my blog, --

Finding apps

What's the best search engine to help me find these apps?

Finding Apps

Perfect m-Storm

I think your hypothesis that mobile internet and apps will further lead to innovation and dis-integration of the IT value chain is spot on. While I believe that both apps and MI or mobile web will always exist in perfect harmony, what is becoming abundantly clear is that businesses are going to need more than a great app to navigate the mobile storm. Businesses will need to think about all the different pieces of the mobile puzzle - building the app/wap, targeting and distribution, changing/modifying/managing the service on a regular basis, monetizing in some cases and bringing in some mobile specific analytics that help businesses achieve their business goals. Once you start looking underneath the hood of the "app", there is a lot more to it. Would you agree?

Anita Moorthy
Sr. Director, July Systems.

Under the hood of the app revolution

I agree, Anita. The app experience shifts the digital ecosystem away from the corporate website, which is over extended due to corporate aspirations and political claims on it.

This isn't just a mobile revolution -- its a convergence of that, application experiences supported by apps and HTML5, and greater data and device integration encouraged by semantic data.

**In this new Web3.0 world Content won't be king -- providing tools that help people do tasks easily will be. This is the ubiquitous interface the the always on network we've collectively spent billions on creating over the last 15 years.

Though its been used by hypsters, would you agree that this shift will be "revolutionary"?


You're right on all levels.

You're right on all levels. I am in the political mobile app industry and seeing the interest peak on a daily basis.

Great article - keep them coming!

The Mobile Revolution

Excellent post! As founder of an interactive agency in 1994, I constantly had to sell companies not only on the virtues of a website but also how it would change the way that they conducted business. The explosive growth of the Internet was revolutionary and I expect to the Mobile App Internet to also be revolutionary. I envision websites becoming less important and the Mobile App Internet to become more important.