After experiencing some of the most exhausting days in the life of a “mobile” analyst, I am back from Barcelona. I shared some thoughts before the event started (see here), but here are my key takeaways from the 2013 event. I saw:
Fewer high-end smartphones. Gone are the days when handset makers announced their flagship devices in Barcelona. In a communication ripped from Apple’s playbook, Samsung announced a press conference for the likely launch of the Galaxy S4 on March 14. Among the most interesting devices from a price/technology standpoint were the Huawei Ascend P2 and some of the LG handsets.
More and more “phablets” and tablets. In the “phablet” category — I prefer to call them supersized smartphones — a special mention goes to the LG Optimus Pro. Numerous tablets were announced, including the Sony XPeria Tablet Z for $499, three Android Lenovo tablets, and the HP Slate 7 — an Android tablet for business users at only $169. These types of announcements are new for MWC, highlighting the evolution of personal computing and the growing importance of the screen size.
It’s that time of the year: the pilgrimage to the Mobile Mecca, Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona. This is my 10th pilgrimage in a row and, needless to say, the event has changed tremendously over the past few years – from 3GSM in Cannes to the new venue in Barcelona this year. While CTIA is still very US-centric and CES is still a lot about TVs, MWC is really the only global mobile event with a strong presence of operators and handset manufacturers from all over the world. Every year the show becomes not only more global, but also more open to new categories of players — such as advertisers and developers — willing to make the most of mobile technologies, and more open to connected devices that go far beyond the traditional definition of a mobile phone. Markets are colliding and mobile innovation is at the center of these upheavals. MWC used to be a telecom show focusing mainly on mobile technologies, but the event is now bringing together people from every industry.
In the light of today’s first announcements, here is my take on how to put in perspective the announcements to be made at MWC 2013 in the coming days:
If you still believe that tablets are merely a fad or just a way to engage more affluent early adopters in their 30s or 40s, you need to change your mind — now.
According to our latest Technographics® data, European tablet ownership is highest among 18- to 24-year-old online users — 25% of them own one! 2012 saw a surge in the popularity of tablets among this age group. Why? As with any technology that’s reaching critical mass, the profile of its adopters evolves over time — and it will continue to do so.
With double-digit growth in tablet uptake across Western Europe in 2012, about one in seven online Europeans now owns a tablet. And with further double-digit growth expected in the years ahead, tablets are changing the consumer technology landscape. According to the Forrester Research World Tablet Adoption Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global), 55% of European online consumers will own a tablet by the end of 2017.
Tablet owners are not precious about their devices: Of those that have a spouse/partner, 63% share their tablet with them; one-third of parents share their tablet with their children. This makes tablets a far more social device than smartphones, which are much more personal and intimate.
In advance of Mobile World Congress, I revisited our 2012 mobile trends predictions with my colleague Julie Ask and we found that all of them are still evolving and relevant in 2013.
The trends we’ve identified for 2013 center on multiyear plans and scaled-up investments. Mobile’s dynamics of immediacy and ubiquity will challenge the notion that mobile is immature. Innovators will overcome any concerns about maturity to make big, strategic investments in mobile to pull ahead of their competitors. Differentiating with mobile will require marketers to develop the multiyear visions required to drive real change in their business and their approach to implementing mobile services.
When we categorized the key 2013 mobile trends and their implications for marketers, they fell into two major groups:
To summarize the key takeaways into three main points, here’s what we think will happen in 2013:
Advanced Marketers Will Integrate Mobile Into A Multiyear Strategic Vision
Mobile platforms will act as a catalyst for the next generation of connected experiences. In particular, smart apps connected to products and CRM systems will emerge. In 2013, leading marketers will anticipate the longer-term mobile disruption and shift from tactical efforts to more transformative mobile strategies.
Implementing This Strategy Requires Significant Investment And Marketing Control
To avoid brand dilution, RIM’s corporate brand name is disappearing today and is being replaced by BlackBerry for shareholders and employees in an attempt to instill brand values internally.
While the (too) long-awaited new Blackberry OS is innovative and will help reduce churn among BlackBerry’s 79 million existing subscribers to competing devices from Apple and Android in 2013, the longer-term challenge for the BlackBerry brand is still huge.
Don’t get me wrong: The great strides that BlackBerry’s made in the device and OS deserve credit.
The two new devices announced today — in a price range above $500 — also look great and on par with, if not better than, the best high-end smartphones on the market today; they have eventually put an end to the poor browsing, app, and multimedia experiences delivered on BlackBerry devices until now. The new OS brings some very interesting and innovative features. The smart contextual prediction keyboard, the BlackBerry Hub, the BlackBerry Balance, as well as the new video chat and screen-sharing functionalities available to BBM users will also offer a seamless and innovative experience to the “business execs,” “working moms,” and “hyperactive teens” that BlackBerry is targeting. Telecom carriers will also significantly support the new devices, with about 200 operators worldwide launching them by June 2013. Why? BlackBerry devices have always delivered more profitable customers to carriers because of their network efficiency. Due to the limited uptake (for now) of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, telecom operators will no doubt give the new products a chance to succeed in order to avoid being dependent on Apple or Google.
However, there is little rationale today for most product strategists and marketers to invest in customized BlackBerry experiences.
At the beginning of this year, I took the time to sit down with my colleague Dan Bieler, principal analyst on Forrester's Business Technology Futures team and a specialist in the telecom space, to discuss the top trends that will affect the European telco landscape this year.
Although we believe that the business/consumer split is increasingly vanishing, we decided to split the top 10 carrier themes that will matter in the European telco market in 2013 by enterprise and consumer perspectives.
In the enterprise segment, we see five main themes:
Over the top (OTT) and app-based communication services will become part of the IT landscape. OTT voice, social media, and messaging will spread in the enterprise space at the expense of traditional services. Our research shows that professional workers who travel are the most likely to embrace application-based communication services, often irrespective of what their company’s official IT policy is. Still, 2013 will not be the year (yet) that sees RCSe becoming a B2B2C communications platform.
Cloud-based enterprise services by carriers will see increasing interest from businesses. Communication-as-a-service will receive increased attention by CIOs as they plan UCC projects. However, as our research shows, carriers will not be perceived as the top choice of providers for cloud-based services. Mobile device management firms like AirWatch and MobileIron will offer reselling opportunities for carriers but limit the carriers’ ability to add value around device and app store management. Business models for cloud-based data analytics of end user demand will grow in importance in 2013, but will begin to materialize on a larger scale only in 2014.
Every year for the past few years, I've been revisiting our mobile trends predictions. So let’s do it again for the 2012 Mobile Trends post I put together a year ago with my colleague Julie Ask.
So many things happened in 2012 that it's difficult to sum up the year. We’ve passed three key milestones in 2012: more than 1 million apps available, more than 100 million tablets and more than 1 billion smartphones in consumers’ pockets!
Let’s take a look at some of the key trends we highlighted last year. We expected product strategists to work with other roles to:
· Develop a scalable approach to delivering mobile services. Most advanced organizations took a more strategic approach to building and spreading institutional knowledge as well as governance for the development of mobile services. However, the majority still do not coordinate their approach between marketing, IT, agencies, and vendors.
· Craft a mobile strategy that expands beyond phones. Only the most advanced players differentiated their tablet strategies. I know of a leading online retailer that is now generating 10% of its overall online sales via tablets because of the launch of an iPad app only eight months ago! However, most players still lump smartphones and tablets into the same “mobile” bucket without understanding the differences in the context of use.
It's that time of year again: Tomorrow, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs looking to raise funds, journalists, bloggers, geeks, and digital executives from all over the world will be gathering at LeWeb in Paris. For a couple of days, Paris will turn into the digital Mecca.
A lot of the media and investor attention will focus on the now-traditional startup competition, looking for the new Evernote, Instagram, Nest, or Withings. Here’s the list of the 16 semi-finalists. Emblematic of the entrepreneurial spirit of the conference, David Marcus, founder of startups like Punchd (acquired by Google) and Zong (acquired by eBay) and now CEO of PayPal, will be speaking at the event and will cross paths with a long list of digital visionaries and key executives, such as Pascal Cagni, former general manager and VP of Apple EMEA.
Here are some of my observations on this year's theme — The Internet of Things — as well as a summary of some of Forrester’s latest research on this quickly evolving space.
That’s kind of a bold statement to make when many companies — be they media players or the likes of Facebook — face a mobile monetization gap and when most successful companies generate only dozens of millions of dollars of direct mobile transactions. Despite the hype around “freemium” models, the reality is that few companies can now rely on a standalone mobile business model and that most mobile business models remain unproven.
The Web extended most business models and created only a small number of truly successful new ones. Mobile will follow the same path: Extension, rather than disruption, will be the norm for most businesses, with a few disruptive mobile pure-plays as the exception but not the rule. That doesn’t mean, however, that mobile-first businesses won’t disrupt existing players. Mobile is an enabler of new direct-to-consumer products already, in industries such as car services, food delivery, and home health products. And mobile is disrupting born-on-the-Web companies such as Facebook.
Unlike Ovi a couple of years ago, this brand will speak for itself. This is all about interaction with places around you, about context. Thanks to a best-of-breed product experience, Nokia is well positioned to deliver the most differentiated location experience.
During “Mapplegate” at the launch of iOS 6, my colleague Ted Schadler explained why it was a strategic imperative for Apple to do its own maps. However, at that time, most consumers and observers were comparing only Apple and Google Maps. The harsh reality was that Nokia couldn’t leverage its strength in the location-based space without an umbrella brand like “here.”
Make no mistake: This is not “HERE by Nokia” or any other form of sub-brand. This is an independent brand. Why? Because the opportunity is bigger than just Nokia.
This is about addressing different types of connected devices — not just mobile phones but also tablets, connected cars, and wearables. As such, “HERE” could play a pivotal role in helping Nokia leverage tomorrow’s new mobile form factors.