The Future of Mobile

Man with mobile phone

What mobile device will he be using in 2015?

I’m around mobile every day – not only as a user (I have my iPhone 3GS and/or iPad 3G with me at all times – and, yes, some call me a fanboy), but also as a mobile strategist and implementer for Acquity Group’s clients. Because of this, I quite often review the broader mobile landscape to determine successful tactics, opportunities and trends that can be leveraged by our clients. This post assembles some of my recent thoughts on the present and future of mobile…

Immediate Future (0-12 months): Location

  • Devices & Solutions: Smartphone sales will eclipse feature phones; tablets will take off (based on not only the iPad’s success, but upcoming Android and other tablets); apps continue in popularity (the tablet’s popularity will help this); mobile ad networks consolidate and mature; location-based services (Foursquare, Gowalla, etc.) & augmented reality move from gee-whiz to monetization
  • Brands: Businesses and brands realize mobile is bigger than desktop; leaders are already testing & engaging
  • Carriers: Carriers scramble to offer 4G capabilities; iPad data plan spurs copycats
  • Other Trends: Venture capital starts to flow into application developers and other mobile ventures; Privacy is on people’s minds

Close Follow (12-36 months): Always On

  • Devices & Solutions: Mobile web (HTML5 and beyond) becomes more popular than apps; location-based services (LBS), mobile payment & m-commerce becomes ubiquitous; virtual payment systems & mobile “things” (location-aware objects, animals, sensors, environments, etc.) take off; always-on society leads to constant lifestreaming
  • Brands: Many brands have already engaged in mobile marketing of some sort; we’ll see a general move to more complex mobile user experiences (via mobile web apps) because of more robust mobile devices; brands focused on deeper engagement & measurement
  • Carriers: Carriers/networks initially falter then begin to increase bandwidth
  • Other Trends: Privacy becomes a major user concern

Long View (36-60 months): Smart Lives

  • Devices & Solutions: Smartphones are the norm (>50% of market); next generation of mobile devices (geniusphones?) introduced; need for aggregation, filtering and analysis of massive amounts of data; Google (or other) universal translation becomes popular (although still evolving); smart agents/concierges begin to automatically deduce requirements from context & location
  • Brands: Brands focused on optimizing the channel and going through first major revision of mobile platforms
  • Carriers: 4G speeds norm for carriers; next-gen networks begin to see light of day
  • Other Trends: Based on privacy issues and ubiquitous nature of always-on “things,” globally “disconnecting” becomes a desire/trend

Obviously, I can’t capture everything happening in this rapidly evolving space. What have I missed? Where do you see mobile trending? Reply in the comments or send me an email and I’ll get back to you.


  1. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for putting this together. I agree with your thinking except that you are excluding one “game-changer” Augmented Reality. I can’t share who, but I can share that one or two major manufacturers are working hard on Head Mounted Display technology (HMD) that doesn’t suck and when that is available mobile computing changes forever.

    Here’s what we are working on:

    You should also check out ARE2010.

    Other disruptive innovations include peer-to-peer (mesh) networking (imagine no carrier), GeoSocial, Video Calling, etc.

    Best to you and the gang!


    • @Joseph I can’t disagree with you on AR, and I briefly mentioned it as “moving from gee-whiz to monetization” in the Immediate Future section. I definitely think advances in this area will forever change the way we consume and process information.

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