The Mobile Revolution is Over
Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted. The can’t stop growth of smartphones stopped. It’s time to get excited about something else: Big Data? WebRTC? Analytics? Internet of Things? Mobile is now as exciting as presence.
Samsung, the largest maker of consumer electronics, revised its forecasts down last Friday.
In April, Apple reported its first year-over-year decline in quarterly earnings in a decade. HTC reported a 23 percent decline in year-over-year results. IDC reported the Western European mobile phone market experienced a 4.2 percent decline from the previous year.
That isn’t to say the technology is done, in fact that’s the problem – it’s nearly ubiquitous. The growth now will largely come as replacement purchases which in the U.S. is generally on a two-year cycle. Mobile First is still the mantra, but the pace is less frenzied. It simply means no one is going to get rich with a smartphone app that farts again.
The slowdown should not be too shocking. Apple introduced its current iPhone 5 in September 2012. For the first time in years, Google did not show-off a new Android release at its Google IO conference. The days when a mobile phone became obsolete on the drive home from the retailer are over.
There is no need to cry for Samsung or Apple. Samsung is expected to post a paltry $8.3 billion in quarterly operating profit instead of more than $10 billion that analysts expected. Apple is sitting on $145 billion in cash and is the most valuable firm in the world. The slowing of growth is a bigger problem for Microsoft (especially Nokia) and Blackberry as now their growth is more dependent on winning customers from other brands. A similar situation applies to the mobile carriers.
The mobile revolution was fun, but what a mess it created. BYOD in particular created a security and reimbursement nightmare for many organizations. The BYOD trend has been growing for years, but it took until this month for Google to release some basic tools enabling enterprise mobile device management.
BYOD was driven in part because of functional gaps between corporate mobiles and desirable mobiles. But now those gaps are narrowing.Yes, even Windows 8 phones have an application now for Facebook. I wonder if vendor tablets, like the Cius, could do better today in this calmer environment.
Growth opportunities remain, but they are less lucrative. Device makers (and carriers) will expand entry-level offerings. Focus is shifting from smartphones to connecting the car and home.
Personally, I am pleased about this. Mobility is an important part of the conversation, but it has been a distraction. There’s more work that needs to be done, and now that support for mobile devices is basic table stakes it’s time to move-on. Mobility will remain an important part of the conversation, but it is only a component to communications that need to drive seamless, optimal, effective interactions and collaboration.
Dave blogs at TalkingPointz.