Mobile's future: Outrageous but possible predictions

As this year comes to an end and a new decade begins, Mobclix, which operates a mobile ad exchange network, has gazed into its crystal ball and foreseen 10 mobile trends-many of which are, in fact, pretty outrageous.

'Tis the season of mobile predictions. As this year comes to an end and a new decade begins, Mobclix, which operates a mobile ad exchange network, has gazed into its crystal ball and foreseen 10 mobile trends-many of which are, in fact, pretty outrageous.

But as we've seen this past decade, outrageous doesn't mean out of the realm of possibility. We've watched and maybe even participated in the BlackBerry's incredible transformation to the CrackBerry, especially in corporate American and even in the Obama White House.

Then came the iconic iPhone, a revolution in the way people look and use their mobile phones. We've seen Apple's App Store stock more than 100,000 apps on its virtual shelves in less than two years. Now we're seeing the Droid and Google phones promising big things.

[ What do you want to see from Apple and the iPhone next year? Here's five ideas for change in 2010, reports ]

Given that dramatic backdrop, here are Mobclix's 10 predictions and what thinks about them:

1. Some 100 million apps and mobile websites will flood the Internet by 2020, Mobclix says. Right now, only a small percentage of websites have a mobile version. take: As mobile websites become standard-which we think will happen, too-companies will invent ways to stand out from the pack. Internet-ready smartphones are the future, unless the pager makes a comeback. (Yeah, probably not happening.)

2. One out of every two digital media buys will be a mobile one, up from only one out of 20 today, says Mobclix. take: Sure, Mobclix has skin in this game, which makes this prediction somewhat self-serving. But clearly mobile advertising is on the rise.

3. Shopping over your phone has never been easier-and it's going to get even easier during the next few years. Mobile e-commerce will hit $100 billion, Mobclix forecasts. take: I'm thankful Wells Fargo Bank recently came out with its mobile website, which makes paying bills and transferring funds on the iPhone safe and easy. As for $100 billion, given my paltry online banking transfers, I can't fathom the number.

Bonus take: Mobclix foresees people shopping while waiting at a traffic light. If you're in California, better not be in the driver's seat unless your phone is voice-enabled and hands-free. Talking on your phone while driving is against the law, says Gov. Arnold Schwartzenneger. (His wife, Maria, was recently caught in the act.)

4. Android's open platform goes head-to-head with Apple's closed platform, Mobclix says - and kicks butt. Developers will love the freedom of creating apps without having to put up with Apple's heavy-handed app approval process. Thus, Android will become the number-one mobile app platform by the middle of the next decade. take: It's an interesting prediction as the platforms go in different directions: there's already an adultapp store for the Droid that serves up the kind of slacious apps banned from Apple's App Store , while the App Store continues to evict developers who don't follow the rules. We're inclined to agree with Mobclix-openness will always trump arrogance.

5. Mobclix foresees mobile predictive tools becoming popular next decade. For instance, mobile phone calendars will be used to locate someone, automatically schedule appointments and serve up advertisements in relation to one's future activities. take: Sure, why not? Except for maybe a little thing called privacy.

6. Mobclix anticipates mobile to play a significant role in health care down the road. A smartphone will be the first line of defense against a cold. You'll be able to video chat with a nurse and provide certain vital statistics, which your phone will take, record and transmit. take: Beats sitting in the waiting room for hours.

7. A whopping 95 percent of phones will have mobile video capabilities, Mobclix claims. Mobile chat will be a common activity, replacing many face-to-face business meetings. take: Mobile video is the next logical move, yet wireless carriers with already over-taxed data networks might have something to say about that.

8. Smartphones will lead to "smarthouses" that are connected to every household device, says Mobclix. For instance, you're grocery shopping and forgot your shopping list so you fire up your phone, which, in turn, contacts the fridge to find out what's missing. Smartphones already connect to Twitter, says Mobclix, "so this future isn't far off, nor is it only to be found in science fiction." take: That idea might need some more time to bake in the oven.

9. Mobile collaborative content creation is the next big trend. Movies? People across the globe will create them via their mobile phones. Games? Game players themselves will build the ultimate games and write the story lines. take: In Japan, some of the most popular novels this decade were delivered in daily snippets to mobile phones. Readers could comment and influence the direction of the story. When it comes to content, though, we have a lot of skin in this game. So: No comment.

10. All mobile phones will have Web browsers, says Mobclix. By 2020, even the cheapest phones will offer mobile browsing. Mobile phones will replace landlines. Business travelers will use mobile phones in place of laptops entirely. take: With Web browsers, we agree. What this means to BlackBerry's future isn't clear. As for mobile phones replacing landlines, who gets a landline these days?

Lastly, business travelers exclusively using their phone better not be responsible for creating lots of content. Content creation on a mobile device is a hair-pulling exercise. Then again, maybe people from across the globe who actually have legitimate 4G service will create the content for them.

Got a different take? Send me an email at Or follow me on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline.

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Tom Kaneshige

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