There has been some interesting smartphone related announcements this past week – which just have to make you optimistic about the future. I am not sure about anyone else, but the constant news of economic gloom is simultaneously depressing and conflicting with general business experience. It often seems to come across that, if we could just shut down all financial news services, we would all be much happier and the economy would start to grow again.
In fact, despite having just had a quarter of unrelenting bad financial news stories it seems the economy has been growing and so we are now ‘officially’ out of recession. Perhaps it is now time to raise our heads and look at the road ahead. Both technologically and socially it looks like it’s going to be pretty exciting over the next few years.
The Future is Mobile
As has been said here before, the future is mobile and, if you are in any doubt about that just check the results from Apple and Samsung announced in the last couple of days . Apple posted growth of 27% last quarter on the year before, which by most accounts would be quite good enough. However, the expressed disappointment in their results becomes more understandable when you know that their Gross Profit percentage remained constant at around 40% and Samsung were claiming a 91% increase in their Net Profit to $5.9bn. This is still short of Apples’s $8.2bn, but they are obviously catching up fast.
The bulk of the growth on both companies comes from mobile products: smartphones, tablets or associated software and services. Where Samsung is winning is on their range of smartphones which covers many levels of budgetary constraints. With Apple you basically have iPhone 5 with a few memory options.
The Smartphone is Strong
Both companies are obviously taking market share from other suppliers, but the smartphone itself is a strong enough driver with penetration of the UK market now at 60% of users. Obviously there is still room for growth and another round of upgrades is in the offing as 4G starts to become available from EE starting October 30th – just 4 days to go! The 4G roll out plan covers the next 2 years, starting with major cities, with a plan for 98% coverage by the end of 2014. Clearly the other suppliers will be quickly catching up in parallel.
4G basically will give desktop type connection speeds to your phone, or mobile device, over the phone network (as opposed to over wi fi). A phone upgrade will be required from everyone who wishes to take advantage of this and this demand will grow steadily as the new network capabilities become more embedded and widespread.
We will move from an internet world that treats a mobile friendly interface as an option to one that, in many instances, will be mobile first with desktop as an option. The prospect of this new world has already had an impact on the Facebook and Google share price as concerns are raised about the efficacy, or even possibility, of ads in conjunction with a mobile-centric interface.
Should you be concerned about this? Well, if your website is super flexible and automatically mobile friendly and you know exactly how your web presence is likely to be employed in a world dominated by mobile web access, then no. If not then yes, be concerned, and take action to do something about in now to make sure you are fully in touch with your smartphone using customers.