When revisiting our 2011 mobile trends, Julie Ask and I concluded that many, if not all, of them were still evolving and relevant. We have placed the main new trends for 2012 into four categories: business, ecosystem, consumer expectations, and technology.

Mobile Is A Key Business Strategy Enabler

Product strategists must work with other roles in the organization to:

  • Develop a scalable approach to delivering mobile services. Organizations will need a strategic approach to building and spreading institutional knowledge as well as governance for the development of mobile services.
  • Craft a mobile strategy that extends beyond phones. The emergence of tablets in particular will require a different approach than smartphones.
  • Differentiate on the delivery rather than the content of mobile services. In 2012, “how” mobile services are delivered will differentiate them — not what they offer.

Mobile Ecosystem Success Will Elude Incumbents And Embrace Newcomers

Key mobile ecosystem trends include:

  • The emergence of digital wallets and their extension beyond payment. New technologies will convert smartphones into digital wallets, combining not just payments but also receipts, vouchers, and loyalty schemes.
  • The continuation of the smartphone OS bloodbath. There is still room for a third major OS platform. Windows is an obvious candidate, but Nokia and Microsoft will have to execute perfectly to get back in the game.
  • Amazon and Facebook becoming disruptive distribution forces. Don’t expect successful smartphone plays; it’s more likely that Amazon and/or Facebook will have new roles as platform players.

Consumer Expectations Will Be Both High And Conflicted

Product strategists developing mobile services should take the following into account:

  • Consumers will expect more contextual experiences . . . Phones will have the ability to collect a phenomenal amount of information about a consumer and his environment, offering new product and service opportunities. Expect more smart apps like Withings.
  • . . . but will also worry about privacy and security. Consumers will be increasingly concerned by the commercial use — and security — of their data due to the growing use of mobile for banking and buying.

Emerging Technologies Need Standards And Scale To Succeed

Product strategists excited by new technologies should note that:

  • HTML5 has made phenomenal progress but is not a panacea. Better experiences on native apps and the need for device- and OS-specific optimization will limit uptake.
  • NFC will fail to live up to the hype. Dozens of millions of NFC devices will ship. However, a poor out-of-the-box experience, the lack of consumer education, and complex NFC infrastructure will inhibit use in 2012.
  • Personal cloud-hosted services will grow in importance but won’t scale. Enabling cross-device services will be key, but limited network capacity will inhibit streaming.

Feel free to comment below or join our discussion on the community.

Clients who want to know more about this topic can download the "2012 Mobile Trends For CPS Professionals" report.