The Mobile Device Ecosystem: Communication, Commerce, Consumption and Creation

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We are an increasingly active society and we expect mobile device technology to keep up and provide the information we want at the tips of our fingers.  Activities we could not have envisioned even three years ago, are common-place expectations of mobile devices today: instant access to any information anywhere, communication and commerce capabilities, and full-scale entertainment are just the start. This transition is quite naturally impacting PC use, with 28 percent of respondents in a recent AdMob survey reporting that they use their tablet as their primary PC*.  In fact, not surprisingly, IDC and Forrester have both reported that smartphone and tablet sales have exceeded PC sales this past quarter.

The three mobile devices currently defining the ecosystem are smartphones, tablets and laptops. Each is a leader for a distinct action. Given the rapid pace of change and innovation, future evolution in form and function will surly bring a new dominate player or technologies to light.

Smartphones – Communication and Commerce

The benefits and convenience of smartphones has already replaced the need for many items, like the physical rolodex and landlines, while extending the number of communication methods—talking, texting, IMing and emailing—increasing accessibility. This compact, powerful tool has moved into the world of commerce, streamlining what you need to carry with you. Since 2004, consumers in Japan have been able to purchase items at vending machines and stores with a simple swipe of their smartphone. This commerce technology is growing in the U.S. with the launch of Google Wallet, allowing consumers to purchase items with their smartphones, as well as link to loyalty programs.

Tablets – Consumption

The growth of NetFlix, AngryBirds, Texterity, Flipboard, Zite and more emphasizes the desire for users to have access to content and entertainment at their fingertips. The size and portability of the tablet makes it the ideal medium for consuming content. With the development and use of programs like HTML 5, the tablet allows users to engage with content, communities, video and games in new ways, providing opportunities for content providers to extend and strengthen their audience, and marketers new ways to reach and engage customers and prospects.

Laptops – Creation

Even though the purchase of smartphones and tablets are exceeding laptops, this tool fills a critical void when it comes to creating output. Laptops provide a level of functionality for creating and designing content professionally that has not been surpassed by the abilities of smartphones and tablets. Laptops are also able to produce documents in universally accepted formats, which strengthen communications with external partners.

The evolution to these mobile device front runners has been very fast.  As more research continues to surface, highlighting the growth of smartphone and tablet sales and the usage of these tools, it is fascinating to anticipate the future evolution of the mobile ecosystem and how publishers and marketers will be able to uniquely engage clients and strengthen relationships based on the device of the user’s choice.

*Source: Tablet Survey, Google Admob, March 2011

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