Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mobile Forefront - Social Engagement and Innovation

I've sent a lot of time reading about gadgets and how we're changed by them.  I am excited about what's going on and I can't wait for the next breakthrough gadget.  Is it going to be Sony?  Will Microsoft's Windows Mobile 7 create another tsunami the way the iPhone did in 2007.  Or will Nintendo say enough and really change mobile gaming once again?

That's what a lot of focus has been on but I was given a small glimpse of what mobile technology is really about when a friend visited who also works in the tech industry bit seems very excited about what mobile is doing for people who are willing to take advantage of it and how it can socially alter how we communicate, work, and play.

I was shown a number of things and I was wowed and a bit worried because there are just so much information out there.  But mostly, excited.

When Eric Schimzit was asked about what Google plans to do with the billions in cash that they've got, his answer was a standard one.  What was the answer?  He believes Google needs every single dollar they can make now because they can't determine what tomorrow will bring and what form their competition will take shape.  Will it be a known foe or what he worries about most:  a fast moving startup that will change the Internet in ways Google has not thought of or unable to counter.

I think we're seeing a lot of that.  The vanguards of tech and the mobile sphere with the exceptions of one or two companies really are excited but also very afraid of the future in the mobile market.

One of the areas that is moving really fast is the social Web and mobile apps.  Everyone is talking about Facebook and Twitter these days but there are dozens more apps out there that are gaining a lot of steam.

Just ask Myspace what is going when only a few short years ago, they were the hottest Web property.  It was only four years ago when News Corp felt the need to buy them out for $850 million.  Four years is a mere blink of an eye in the realm of Web 2.0.  Now, Myspace is no longer growing as it once.

And here's what I learned tonight.  iPhone and it's 100K-strong app store is just the beginning.  Android-Chrome OS duo will continue to evolve.  RIM will try find their mobile path as is Nokia.  Microsoft will try to gain any sort of momentum and it may eventually figure out that it needs a vision for an increasing mobile society.  But all that doesn't matter.

New methods for social engagement maybe what determine where the mobile market is headed and the only way to keep up is relentless innovation.  It's not only technological innovation.  It's also about social innovation.  And in my book, there is no clear winner today.  There might well never be one.

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