As I am sure that many of you are simply astounded at the depth of my insight regarding 7 for ’07, here are my 8 predictions for ’08:
- The WAP vs APP debate will end: There has been a long standing debate in the developer communities. Many preach ubiquity and reach, and therefore WAP. Others strike the battle cry of User Experience, and therefore promote applications. In 2008, those arguments will begin to fade as the developer and carrier communities realize that the right answer isn’t WAP or App, but rather WAP and App. The smart developer will publish to both as a method of providing the best combination of reach and experience for the entire mobile community, capturing both the long and short tail.
- The iPhone Will Continue To Push the Mobile Industry: Regardless of what you think of Apple, the iPhone will continue to drive the awareness and desirability of mobile data access. The iPhone is like the gateway drug for the industry. Consumers get a taste of what is possible from mobile, and developers and carriers get a taste of the enormous potential of consumer driven development. The iPhone, through its success, will continue to push the entire industry forward. Look for lots of bleary eyed developers rushing for the SDK in February.
- WiMax/LTE…Whatever: True high speed mobile data will not happen in any significant way this year. ATT is still on EDGE, Sprint and Clearwire aren’t holding hands anymore, and frankly, consumers still don’t care. When true high speed is widely available, highly reliable and better understood by the average consumer, then the clamor for the next generation of mobile technology will begin. Until then, EDGE and EV-DO can do the trick. Look for some big fun in 2009.
- T-Mo, ATT and Verizon Will Continue to Grow: Sprint will continue to get pounded by the media, won’t get Nextel figured out, and will still pay too much money for sponsorships that don’t have a clear ROI. Also, Sprint is the only carrier on which one cannot make a call on the Boston subway system. What’s the deal with that? (I am a Sprint subscriber, and I have no troubles with their service (other than the subway thing). But I don’t feel optimistic about their long term health, but I can’t for the life of me figure out who could acquire/partner with them to make things better.)
- I Will Lose My Phone This Year: There is a 100% chance that I will lose my phone this year. I will leave it on a plane, a cab, a client’s office, the subway, I don’t know, but, I WILL LOSE MY PHONE THIS YEAR! Paying $7.00/mo for a warranty that covers loss is an option, but with the deductible of $50 or $100 + $7.00/mo ($84 annually) that gets really close to full retail. It looks like some lucky eBay seller will get my business again this year.
- At Least 1 Major Carrier Will Offer a Post-Paid Plan Without a Cancellation Fee and at Least 1 Carrier Will Offer a Real Unlimited Voice/Data Plan: My guess is that T-Mo will do it, but that is pure speculation. The no-ETF plan won’t be a terrific value, but there will be one carrier that tries it and realizes that the spectre of a $200 ETF makes many consumers anxious so that they run seeking the benevolence of a new master once their contract is up. Further, a carrier will create a plan, around $140/mo, that allows for unlimited voice/text/data/video&pic messaging and includes either a PC Card or tether option. Count on it.
- Mobile TV Will Finally Start Making Some Real Money: There has been a huge years-long hype about mobile TV. Thus far, only the carriers (and maybe MLB and the NFL) have made any real money from it. Even mobile TV giant MobiTV doesn’t seem to be making huge profits from their 3mm+ subscribers, but in 2008, someone, maybe MediaFLO or MobiTV or perhaps Comcast/Sprint (through Pivot) or maybe a network (NBC2go?) will figure out a way to monetize their mobile audiences in a meaningful way. This will be a very exciting inflection point in the industry.
- Location, Location, Location: Location-based services will truly begin to flourish, even beyond the traditional navigation paradigm. As carriers become less protective of their APIs, and cell-tower triangulation becomes more and more mainstream, location-based solutions will really being to rise to the point of not only being interesting, but truly useful.
So, those are my silly rantings. What do you think?