The Smart Mobile world keeps growing

The other day I came across an interesting piece of research – sales of mobile phones dropped in 2012 for the first time since 2009 [ Tweet This ], pretty shocking stuff. Even more surprising is that the title of this blog is ‘The Smart Mobile world keeps growing’ – why would that be the title of a blog post that starts out by saying that mobile phone sales are down?

The fact that Gartner’s study stated that mobile phone sales are down 1.7 percent across the globe is pretty startling but here’s what I find is far more amazing, smartphones are on the rise – in a big way. In Q4 of 2012 smartphone sales rose 38.3 percent over the period in 2011! In the same period Feature phones dropped 19.3 – that’s a meaningful movement. Even more interesting is that researchers say that the bad economy and intense competition in the market were the reasons for the drop. That may sound reasonable enough but let’s face it the smartphone market has deep competition and higher price points than the Feature phone market. Therefore it’s pretty clear that in spite of economic challenges people are moving full on to smartphones. In thinking about this issue I came to the conclusion that what’s going on isn’t solely about price – it’s about value. People are getting increasing value from their smartphones so they are willing to keep buying them, even if it means they have to pay more for a smartphone in difficult times. They are willing to do that because it provides more value to them, more value to them personally – but more significantly – more value to them professionally. 

Time and time again we hear that smartphone success isn’t just about the phones it’s about the apps. I read an article today that said there are over 500,000 apps in the Apple app store alone but as Mathew Ramsey of Yahoo’s Small Business Advisor states in his article ‘What’s Next in Mobile Computing’ – ‘Business apps, as your organization is probably already aware of, have exploded in numbers.’[ Tweet This ] He’s right – business apps are exploding everywhere and the very fabric of how and when we transact our business – personal or professional has already undergone a massive shift. In fact, Gartner goes on to say that they expect ‘worldwide sales of smartphones to dominate the overall market in 2013 -- reaching close to 1 billion units -- whereas total mobile phone sales are predicted to touch 1.9 billion units this year. Feature phone sales are expected to keep sliding.’ 

Of course there always comes a time when trends become self-evident. A few years ago statements about smartphones seizing the business market seemed to be a bit over the top but now you can’t go to a business event without being surrounded by people using smartphones. It’s an obvious change but a profound one; however I believe we’ve only touched the surface of this exploding mobile business app market. Up until now we’ve only seen the basics, things like applications that you are already using becoming mobile or enhancing telephone calls and messaging. I think the next generation of mobile solutions will take on a whole new set of issues. Now that the platform is in place and accepted I believe the next wave of business applications will target things that truly leverage mobility but that you’ve never been able to do before. In fact, I’m so sure of it that it’s what I’m helping my company (Ethofy) to do – sell a mobile sales solution (Kurryer).

I really believe that our Kurryer product is a perfect example of a next generation mobile solution.  With Kurryer we didn’t just look at our functionality and move it to mobile, we designed the application thinking about mobility first, looking at the issues a sale person would have to deal with when interacting with clients and prospects. The design decisions surrounding Kurryer revolved around serving the needs of a salesperson that is out in the world interacting with current and prospective customers and prospects. That salesperson needs to be up to date on recent materials, super responsive, and to respond to the customer/prospect in a very personalized way. Therefore, we focused on mobile first and then folded in everything else.

One of the great things about the technology market is that if someone is doing something you can bet that many are doing things just like it in companies, development teams, garages and schools across the world. If that’s true then no matter how much growth we’ve seen in mobile apps to date – you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
With all these new mobile business apps you’ll have that many more users who will want a phone, and then usage will grow and the cycle continues.  The phones are driving users to want apps and the apps are driving users to want phones. All those new users are going to be bringing their phones to the work place and looking for business apps to help them with their workday.  Are you ready to support them with your business mobile app and your own BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy

We’d love to hear about it – how are you tackling BYOD and mobile apps?