Gartner has produced a list of Top 10 Consumer Mobile applications for 2012. Unfortunately the list is extremely disapointing and fails to provide much insight.
Predicting the future is always difficult. One solution is to offer very vague predictions, which is how Gartner have approached it. Some of their list represents services rather than applications as such. Take location based services (LBS). They are rarely an end in themselves but a service within applications. What’s more, I don’t see how that is the future … LBS is already here and widely used with apps.
Another questionable prediction is the increase in mobile music. The iphone was launched very much with music in mind, as were various Sony Ericsson’s and Nokia phones. Yet it hasn’t taken off. Gartner suggest that the payment model is part of the reason, and that with changes in the way music is sold, the market will take off. That simply doesn’t make sense to me. Music downloads took off with itunes. Paid music. Since then other download brands, such as Spotify have re-defined the way that music downloads are purchased. So, there have been plenty of opportunities to shift this into the mobile channel. Yet this hasn’t happened. The reason, I believe is simple. We are generally happy with downloading through our PCs and we will only switch to mobile if there is a sufficient benefit in doing so.
If I look at my own music habits for example, I use itunes on my PC as the central music manager. Some of it is purchased through online stores (including itunes), but much of it is ripped from CDs. Once in itunes I can do many things with it: burn it to CD to play in the car, put it on my iphone and put it on my (old) ipod which is now linked to a set of speakers and my alarm clock. Downloading through my iphone is a pain. For starters my PC has a fast, reliable internet connection – something I cannot get with a mobile data connection. After that I have to get the track back into itunes and on to CDs, the ipod etc. In short, I am happy with my current music management arrangements and don’t see any reason to change.
So, when it comes to Gartner’s predicitions I am very dubious about a number of them. I would agree with them on the payments and NFC side of things however. That is an area to watch out for.