I think that 2009 is going to be a very interesting year for mobile phones.
Actually there are five things that are gaining momentum in most mobile phone manufacturers programs:
- Touch User Interfaces. It is no doubt that Apple with iPhone has set a trend. Every single vendor is going to offer a variety of touch mobile phones in 2009. Implementations will vary from proprietary RTOS to Windows Mobile and Android. This will somehow change the rule of the game. In past years everybody was trying to reach the smallest form factor for a 3G phone while now, touch User Interfaces will require much more real estate to provide the customer with a great User Experience. From a technical standpoint touch mobile phones will be faster than they predecessors since they will (usually) require more processing power. The challenge will be on battery life and User Experience. Unfortunately developers will have to deal with a greater level of fragmentation since no standard exists today for touch management.
- Application Store. This will be one of the greatest trend. A lot of manufacturer are working on this and some of them have already announced their willing to implement this for their mobiles. Unfortunately I do not think they will be able to have the same success Apple had with their Application Store. The main reason is that payment is already highly integrated in the iPhone experience while all the other will have to find a way to bill the customer. Whichever method they will chose it will be less friendly than the one Apple uses today. As of today I think that the closest experience is the one coming from Android.
- Android. It is definitely emerging as an alternative to high end operating systems like Symbian and Windows Mobile.
- Social applications. From the launch of the INQ1 mobile phone every vendor is going to implement some sort of strategy to address this area. This requires a paradigm shift in both mobile phone manufacturers and operators. We will see how well they will execute.
- Applications and Services. Everybody seems to be interested in launching their independent set of applications and services. Still to be verified how operators will handle this. The risk is that the customer is going to pay.
[Photo credit: fore]