Mobile: Still Stretching

This article was originally published in the November 2011 issue of Silicon India.

The rise of mobile, both tablets and smartphones, has been nothing short of extraordinary. In 2008, 150 million smartphones and 0 tablets were sold worldwide. In 2011, analysts expect smartphone shipments to reach 472 million globally along with 53.5 million tablets. The forecast for 2016 is for 750 million smartphones and 300 million tablets. While the growth in mobile devices, and subsequently mobile computing, is undeniable and will continue to exceed expectations. I believe we are still in the early days of the sector, stretching in preparation for the big game.

Smartphone and the tablet have given users the ability to access web content away from the confines of their desks. The mobile devices we carry today have greater computing power than all of the computers combined at NASA in 1969, the same year they sent two astronauts to the moon. This makes the opportunity in mobile larger than simply being able to check your email, browse your favorite site or interact with your social networks on the go. Companies building products that harness the power of these devices and combine some or all of the qualities that make them unique (internet access, location information, cameras, compute speed and voice recognition to name a few) will have the ability to grow into big businesses, businesses we have not even dreamed of. Mobile games are an early example of this. They are designed specifically for these devices and for engaging the user in new and innovate ways instead of simply replicating the desktop experience.

Value will inherently be created on the smartphone and the tablet. These devices will be the foundation upon which the companies of tomorrow are built, and we are only now beginning to see the potential opportunities.