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As the nature of “Mobile” changes, the mobile devices industry is expected to see more disruptions

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on June 3, 2011

Cue: “Mobile” referred to in the heading is Verb, the act of being connected on the move!

In a recent Uplinq keynote, Qualcomm has quoted that the number of Smartphones is expected to touch the 4 billion mark by 2015. That is pretty significant and it signals that the mobile phone industry is migrating from from a device based specialization to a platform and eco-system based specialization. Quoting Stephen Elop: “Mobile market “no longer a battle of devices; it’s a battle of ecosystems”

However in the larger context, it is about consumer-ization in the age of Me-onomy. The Mobile Phone/ Smartphone represents the most significant and personal touch point in the technology-consumer domain. Me-onomy is a consumer paradigm where the consumer is the brand, the centre point of the universe with all other services/technologies as enablers of a consumer experience. Enablers in terms of Apps to help the consumer connect better and create an experience around each consumer connect. This need gratification is manifested in terms of Cloud based services, the mobile wallet, media, information, social networks. The eco-systems/ platforms that are able to integrate all these services in a seamless manner to personalize, customize consumer experiences around these services will be the winners-all.

Me-onomy is a result of the larger context of consumer/user lives shifting to Internet. As Consumers start living more and more of their lives and transactions on the web, services which cater to this trend will emerge as big winners. Mobiles will perhaps be the most critical delivery nodes of this paradigm, the other delivery mechanisms being web (laptop/ Tablets), Cars, TV, Gaming Consoles and others electronic categories. This is best described under Web 3.0 or the Internet of all things.

Device Makers such as Nokia, Blackberry, LG, HTC, Samsung, Motorola will in the future have their roles diminished to being the nodes of experience delivery whereas Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft are now graduating to the creators, assemblers and enablers of such experiences. Thus device makers are increasingly getting marginalized by service providers. Even though device makers are putting up their own front for delivery of such experiences, it is unlikely that without a competence in the Internet experience space, they are going to make any splash. Between the service-experience providers there is a likelihood that the consumer markets may fragment to say Enterprise (Microsoft), Consumer (Apple and Google) and more. The other set of companies which have lost out in terms of defining this space are the operators who theoretically own consumers, but have been unable to do anything worthwhile around this ownership!

The example of the Nokia (or even Blackberry) fall was an inevitability considering that they donot own any part of the consumer in the web space. As consumers migrate to internet, these device makers would find themselves increasingly out of sorts. Though they would keep delivering a few knock-out punches once a while, that would not significantly impact the overall slide. The future hereon revolves around how services and solutions are delivered through great experiences to the consumer and the existing device makers are no masters in that realm.

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