2008 was a very interesting year for me, with both failures and successes and tons of lessons learned. But life is good. 2009 will be a very interesting year for mobility and handsets and applications. An example of this was yesterday when I was on my way to the Orange Partners Conference. The bus driver taking us to the hotel was bragging about his 3G phone and mobile TV – yes the bus driver! And he had no problem paying for both data and mobile TV. Mobility adoption is happening!

So in the spirit of the 2008 end of the year, below are some of my predictions about mobility and 2009:

  1. 2009 will be a great year for smartphones; perhaps it will be the year of the smartphone. The top smartphone handset and software players for the next 5 years will be defined in 2009.
  2. The role of Open Source Software (OSS) will continue to grow within mobile handsets and software. Symbian will go open source. Android is open source. Browsers are open source. Windows Mobile I’m not sure but I won’t be surprised if they go open source as well. Device manufacturers will deliver more sophisticated handsets cheaper due to OSS.
  3. Related to the above, the mobile browser will become commoditized, thanks to open source. A great example of this is the Steel browser for Android which seems to have been developed by a *single* developer leveraging the Web Kit.
  4. On user interfaces and smartphones, touch-screens and gestures and accelerometers will be the rule, not the exception (thank you Apple).
  5. SMS usage/growth will continue and mobile IM usage will remain pretty much flat.
  6. Twitter will come up with a real revenue model and make some revenue. But it will be plagued by the demons of social networking that killed Trutap: “everyone loves social software, but few would pay for it”.
  7. Symbian won’t take off (in 2009). Even in open source, which was a great move, Symbian will remain synonymous to Nokia. Few will try it, but at the end will move to Android. It will take a couple of years to fully realize the new Symbian vision.
  8. The ideal of mobile web having access to local handset functionality won’t be fulfilled yet (to its fullest).
  9. Android will become stronger and stronger with lots of support from all kinds of network providers and device manufacturers, but these vendors will have a difficult time differentiating themselves.
  10. Google will start losing its coolness factor.
  11. Google will introduce a checkout process for its app store, and developers wanting to make money will notice; the Google app store will explode with a large number of applications.
  12. App stores will continue to have its huge effect on mobile apps and distribution. Due to the revenue and fast distribution models offered by iPhone and soon Android app stores, developers will first target such local applications (vs. mobile web). An even larger number of local/native applications will be created and distributed via app stores for Android and iPhone.
  13. The BlackBerry app store will be somewhat successful.
  14. Someone will introduce an app store for mobile web that goes beyond an application catalog. dotMobi will take leadership by going beyond an application catalog but also providinig an associated business/revenue model.
  15. On the Java ME front, 2009 will be a turning point for the platform: MIDP3 vs. CDC + OSGi, JavaFX.
  16. The top smartphone platforms for 2009 will be: iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry (for both mobile web and local apps) in the US. (update: I think I might not be putting enough emphasis on Nokia here and their new handsets).
  17. Location, location, location everywhere in our apps. And end-users will learn to expect it.
  18. MMS will continue to suck (in the US), due to proprietary implementations and lack of interoperability.
  19. Lots of noise with WiMAX and LTE, with a few deployments.
  20. No NFC in 2009.
  21. Network providers will start delivering services of their own on the web (similar to Google services).
  22. Network providers will show their love to widgets, and spend resources on widget-related approaches to applications and user interfaces.

Disclaimer: the above are my personal opinions and are not professional advise for business or personal decisions. 🙂