My colleague Thomas Husson and I put together our 2014 mobile predictions. (See Report) One of the key predictions is:
Mobile is moving so fast that that number is already dated. King started trading publicly on the NYSE Wednesday and part of the release was $1.9B in reported revenue in 2013 – way more than reported 8 months ago.
What happened this week?
First, I actually can't quite wrap my head around the price or why Intel wants to be in a B2C business. I have a Basis. Love it. Totally cool sleep analysis plus great mobile engagement strategy and mechanics to drive behavior change in consumers by letting them change one habit at a time. Basis sent me a note stating that customer service, etc. would continue.
Let's assume they are buying expertise or the potential to harvest data in the future. They are not really buying market share, accounts, capacity or geographic expansion – typical reasons to make an acquisition.
It does speak to the difficulty and sophistication of machine learning – of interpreting data from sensors. It does speak to the difficulty in modeling behavior from sensor data efficiently so as not to fry the battery. I own a lot of wearable devices. Challenges include accurately modeling/assessing activity, battery life, reliable hardware, harvesting data, and then effective engagement tactics to help consumers achieve their goals. (see my mHealth piece). There is a LOT to get right here.
One to watch. eBus pros: Think about what new contextual data will give you insights into your customers' mobile moments.
2) Facebook pays $2B for Oculus – a virtual reality goggle start-up. (See USAToday)
My two cents: The timing and form factor here may be uncertain, but broadly … wearables and new display form factors including the likes of Google Glass and Oculus Goggles have a future.
Let's face it – the smartphone is one of the most powerful, gaming changing technologies of our lifetimes (ok – at least for those of us middle-aged). Our children will see more. However, the idea of constantly holding it in my hand or putting it in my pocket for ready access is already a pain. There is a lot of friction in mobile experiences today. Do I pick up my cell phone 200 times a day? Yes. Do I send several hundred messages per day at times, yes? Do I need a heavy phone in my hand to do these things? Not necessarily. Am in love with my Pebble.
The other element is the intersection of physical and digital. Augmented reality overlays digital enhancements on to the physical world. (See my report) Let's face it – the mobile phone is still a clumsy experience in many scenarios. It's awesome for Yelp and Amazon. Aurasma is doing cool new things. But this experience begs for a head display.
Sure – you can imagine creepy scenarios – being able to glance around a room and overlay people's facebook posts or LinkedIn profiles on them. Stay focused on the good stuff.
If I were 29 and wealthy, I might buy drones, too – they are cool.
I won't comment on the feasibility of drones + satellites to offer Internet connectivity. Obviously it's extreme. Anyone remember Motorola's Irridium project in the mid-90's? or so many attempts to take Wi-Fi (at technology for local networks) and to create mesh networks to cover cities? It's hard to execute on and not many people (or with a lot of $$) tend to live in places where there is no Internet so the economics are hard.
Imagine being able to reach all 7 billion plus people on the planet?