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As Mobile Grows, So Does Revenue


6153522068 0437d550f7Whether your business is eCommerce or mobile app development, Mary Meeker's recent presentation on the state of the Internet had to please you. Mobile device use is up. Mobile monetization up. You're right where you want to be -- and if you're not, you should be.

That's because mobile is growing incredibly fast. Remember the talk about the Post PC revolution? It's happening and probably faster than anyone ever imagined.

For starters, according to numbers from Morgan Stanley, smartphone and tablet sales passed PC and laptop sales in 2011 and today they simply blow them away. (See p. 25 of the presentation for details.)

As for mobile phones, Morgan Stanley reported there were an estimated 5 billion mobile phones in the world this year and a billion smart phones. Now to be sure, that's not a one for one ratio when it comes to ownership because many people own more than one, but these are numbers simply too big to ignore, that is for sure, even if they are inflated a bit.

You want to hear about tablets? Pew estimates that between April 2009 and January of this year, the percentage of US adults who reported owning a tablet skyrocketed from just two percent in 2009 to 29 percent at the beginning of this year. And that number has probably increased again, especially with the release of the iPad mini, Google Nexus 7 and the new Kindle Fires stimulating even more sales.

And all of these devices are having a big impact on the percentage of Internet traffic in the world that comes from mobile. As recently as 2010, mobile accounted for just 4 percent of worldwide Internet traffic. As of last month, it was 13 percent of total traffic and it's just going to continue to go up with the continued proliferation of these devices, especially in places where it's much easier to afford a mobile phone than it it is a PC or laptop.

I'm sure this is all thrilling to you, but you want me to show you the money.  You can't possibly have people purchasing mobile device in the kinds of numbers we're seeing without having an appreciable effect on income and Meeker reports that according to data from Gartner, eMarketer and Strategy Analytics, the income is indeed growing at a rapid rate growing from about $5 billion in 2010 to $19 billion this year.

If you want further proof look at the Black Friday shopping figures, which showed that according to IBM Data Analytics, mobile accounted for 24 percent of Internet shopping traffic up from 14 percent a year ago. And it's worth noting that of that, the vast majority of the shoppers used iOs devices.

So it's clear from Meeker's presentation that as more devices proliferate, it's having an impact on the amount of Internet traffic coming from mobile devices and the amount of business that is being conducted on them with more revenue being generated.

When you add the apps marketplace, which she didn't quantify directly to to this, you have a huge revenue generating machine and that means you need to be a part either as a way to make money or at least to provide your employees with access to enterprise repositories and resources from mobile devices.

One thing you can not afford to do is sit and wait because if Meeker's research is right, the future is now.

Photo credit: adactio.

When it Comes to Tablets, It's All iPad

4486492241 93d7441ffa mAs tablets find their way into the enterprise, your job is to decide which ones you want to support. On its face, it might seem like the HP TouchPad and the RIM PlayBook might be more enterprise-friendly, but if you look at the purchase statistics so far, it looks like it's all about Apple's iPad and everyone is just an also-ran.

Apple was of course the first to market, so it has an advantage, and it also has that inexplicable Apple mystique around its products that other manufacturers just can't seem to match. But if you want proof of Apple's domination, CNET reported in an article this week on a study by Robert W. Powers and Associates of potential tablet buyers that found an astonishing 94 percent said they would go with iPad.

That might be a bit high, but it's too big to ignore even if you think it's related to consumer buying (as opposed to corporate). That's because increasingly individual users are making decision about the devices they want to use at work, and if this survey is to believed, they only want the tablet from Apple.

James Kendrick writing on ZDNET, believes if you want to capture the tablet market, you have to appeal to the great mass of non-technical end users who tend to shop at big box stores like Best Buy and Staples. These folks, Kendrick argues, are ignoring any tablet but iPad and driving these numbers.

In fact, All Things Digital reported this week that in spite of HP's best efforts to get consumers to bite on a TouchPad, Best Buy is sitting on a huge inventory of the HP offering. According to the article, Best Buy took 270,000 TouchPads at the beginning of July when they launched, but so far, even with incentives and discounts, it has only been able to sell 25,000.

Overall, according to numbers in a recent Wall Street Journal article (may require a subscription), the sales numbers break down like this:
Manufacturer # Sold Launch Date
Apple iPad 28.7m April, 2010
Motorola Xoom 690K Feb, 2011
Rim PlayBook 500K Apri, 2011
(HP launched the TouchPad in July making it too soon to have numbers. It's also worth noting that the article ignores the Samsung Galaxy Tab.)

Regardless, even given Apple's obvious head start, the numbers for Apple's competitors are just dismal. What's interesting is that when I was at the giant CeBIT Technology Conference in Hannover, Germany last spring, there were tablets galore on display, many of which were trying to differentiate themselves from the iPad by making them the IT-friendly alternative.

To this point, it doesn't seem to matter. Users know what they want and they want iPad.

So what does this mean for developers and IT pros? It probably means you're going to have be supporting iPads -- if you aren't already. You may be looking at hiring iOS developers to build applications (or you may want to see if your enterprise application vendor is already offering an iPad option; many are).

It's always best to be prepared, and if the tea leaves are saying it's all iPad, you might want to be paying attention. If the curve gets ahead of your shop's ability to keep up, don't be afraid to get some consulting help when you need it because the technology picture changes very quickly and it's all too easy to fall behind.

For now, the lesson is clear and simple. Just about anyone who wants a tablet, wants an iPad and you need to be aware of that and prepare accordingly.

Photo by Grant_Robertson on Flickr. Used Under Creative Commons License.

5 iPad Alternatives You Could Be Seeing in the Enterprise Soon

4555591202 a653c62ca0 mThe surprising success of Apple's iPad has been well documented. In fact, the iPad is being adopted in the enterprise much faster than anyone imagined, and that success has spawned lots of competition. Samsung, HP, RIM, Motorola and many others have announced tablets for this year (or have released one). Google recently announced its Honeycomb tablet OS, which will give way to many new models.

Before you even have an iPad strategy in place, you might have to be dealing with a host of other devices and an assortment of operating systems and app stores.

Let's look at five of them you could be seeing soon (if they haven't shown up already):

Samsung Galaxy Tab
The diminutive Galaxy Tab has a 7 inch screen and currently runs Google Android 2.2 (commonly known as Froyo). With a front and back camera, it has two more cameras than the first generation iPad. There have been widely varying reports about the success of this device, but it's gotten good reviews. It's even possible some employees are using one today. Also keep in mind that Samsung has announced a 10.1 inch tablet that will run Honeycomb and be available later this year.

Motorla Xoom
Motorola made a splash with a big Super Bowl ad for this device, but this machine is also reportedly loaded and ready for enterprise use. Like the bigger Samsung, it will sport a 10.1 screen and run Google Honeycomb. At a reported price tag of $800, it's going to be more expensive too. It could be available as soon as this week.

RIM Playbook
With many enterprise users already using Blackberry phones, it seems a natural transition to the RIM Plabook tablet. RIM has been steadily losing marketshare in the smart phone market, but this 7 inch tablet can share data with Blackberry phones and will be compatible with Blackberry Enterprise Server -- which could be attractive to IT.

HP TouchPad  
HP recently announced the TouchPad, running WebOS, which it acquired last year as part of the deal to get Palm. It will have a 9.7 inch screen and be compatible with Microsoft Exchange Server for email purposes. It won't be ready, however until at least this summer.

iPad 2 and 3
And even before these iPad alternatives can make a splash comes word that Apple has the second generation iPad in production, and may even be working on a third generation. That means, these devices will be competing with the next generation of Apple devices, just talk of which, is enough to freeze buyers into waiting to see what it looks like.

With that kind of wide open market, it becomes even more imperative to have a flexible mobile strategy. You need to have a roadmap of where you want to go, but always with the understanding that the next device or announcement could force you adjust what you're doing. 
Photo by withassociates. Used under Creative Commons License.
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