Assessing My Mobile Predictions

Anyone who claims that everything that happened in mobile in the second half of 2011 was predicted is selling you a lie. We’re smarter than falling for untruths, you say?

Yup, call me on the iPhone 5 through the T-Mobile network and give me the details.

We missed – all of us did, including the most dependable of so-called insiders. No fifth generation of the iPhone, no iPhone business at all at T-Mobile, which spent the last six months envisioning a marriage with AT&T that hasn’t made it to the alter. At least Kim and Kris got that far.

Of course, what we got from Apple was Siri, a voice recognition technology that received the fanboy buzz treatment but is already considered a fading novelty by many.

In July, we suggested that with the iPhone in more hands, we would have a repeat of the time when the CEO said, “We need an iPhone app”. That may have come to pass to some degree, but we certainly aren’t fielding request after request at Hipcricket where clients and prospects are more interested in driving leads and building databases which produce remarketing opportunities.

How did I do on my other predictions?

I forecast that the convergence of mobile and social would be even more pronounced. That has come to pass with Facebook and Twitter introducing products that have yielded unprecedented activity through wireless devices. Facebook’s acquisition of location-sharing property Gowalla is the latest example of the coming together of mobile and social.

I predicted that at retail, even more mobile subscribers would be chronicling their “Moments of Trust” by posting comments, photos and even videos to social networks. Mobile devices have become megaphones for a large portion of users with more than 40 percent telling those in their social networks about negative or positive experiences with brands. Is this trend growing? Try finding someone in a mall without a mobile device in hand.

I said that Groupon would prove to be more valuable to mobile users than to PC members, providing that the mobile customer opts in for Groupon Now offers.  According to daily deal aggregator Yipit, Groupon Now—geared toward consumers using mobile devices—generated $1.2 million in revenue in October, a 24.5 percent increase from September. By way of comparison, Groupon’s October revenue was up 22.2 percent.

I said to expect outrage over bills that charge for data overages. We’ve heard this one before – text messaging became mainstream once consumers were offered unlimited plans that prevented shocking bills. With the carriers doing away with all you can eat data, we’re back to surprise time in our bills. As it turned out, the Federal Trade Commission noticed. In October, it unveiled its "bill shock" plan, which would require wireless providers to alert users when they have exceeded or are about to go over voice, text, or data usage.

I predicted that the hype around the mobile wallet would intensify and asked if that was even possible. I also said that everyone is chasing the opportunity, but consumers wouldn’t be leaving their wallets at home when they hit the malls in November and December. This is true. The Google Wallet payment system was announced in May, but it only works with Sprint’s Nexus S 4G.The buzz continues, though, with the news that the Google Wallet will soon be linked to vending machines in New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., and San Francisco.

I suggested that with smartphone adoption making a march toward 50 percent share, expect more to make the claim that apps are on the way out because so many more subscribers will be able to access the mobile web. I also said that we’re years away from deciding the apps vs. web question. I still believe that. We now have over one million apps offered through various stores. The great majority are ignored or get downloaded and forgotten. But some, mostly utilitarian ones, appear to be here to stay.

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