My Mobile and Social Media Predictions for 2009 into 2010

January 7, 2009 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media

Here are a handful of my predictions for mobile and social media in 2009, moving into 2010… For the record, I’ve left off everything I know will happen in 2009 and limited this list to things I *think* will happen:

  • Smartphones and feature phones will continue to converge in iPhone-esque fashion.
    • Mobile Internet will drive usage of smartphones, and with it, more robust experiments with mobile advertising and payments will begin.
    • Mobile advertising and payments will gain some momentum in 2009 but won’t really take off until 2010 and beyond.
  • A few thoughts on Android:
    • Android will struggle to gain momentum until there is infrastructure to distribute paid apps and an iTunes-esque web or client-based interface for PC & Mac.
    • Ultimately, Android will do well, but it’s going to take longer than many anticipate.
  • Mobile and web convergence will continue heating up…
    • Mobile back up and “kill pill” services will gain increased momentum, as those who convert to ‘smarter’ phones start storing more important data on their mobile (i.e. contacts, calendar, email, etc.).  Mobile Me, Dashwire and other services will continue to improve, and new players will enter the market, making it easier for users to access data on their phone from the web and reducing the pain associated with a lost or stolen phone.
    • Mobile will become more social.  ShoZu, Xumii, Pixelpipe, PixSense, and others social media gateways are already making a play in this market.  But, in 2009, web-based players (ala FriendFeed) will experiment with mobile.  And, we’ll see acquisitions and consolidation in this space.
    • Towards the end of the year or early 2010, I think we’ll start seeing converged development platforms that allow developers to create both web and mobile apps/widgets in fewer steps.  In late 2009-2010, mobile OS providers and OEMs will start looking beyond SMS, MMS, and email and incorporate social messaging tools like Twitter and maybe FriendFeed into basic functionality of phones.  And, mobile address books should become more social, allowing you to input your friends’ social networking details into your address book and interact with them via your chosen medium in 1-2 clicks.
    • Both web and mobile development platforms will continue to duke it out for developer attention.  Developers will choose the platforms that provide the easiest-to-use, most robust tools and monetization and distribution options.
    • I’m hoping Microsoft pulls a rabbit out of a hat… Perhaps, they will finally make computers chewy like cake, but more likely Windows 7 and the next generation of Windows Mobile (which I bet will be called “Windows Mobile 7”) will play better together than previous mobile and PC OSes.
    • I don’t want to predict a rampant mobile virus, but I think it could happen easily, as mobile-web convergence accelerates: A mobile virus has a high probability of emerging in 2009 (though, I won’t go as far to say that one will emerge), targetting PIM data (contacts, calendar, etc.).  This type of virus would negatively impact both mobile owners and anyone with an email or mobile number listed on an infected mobile phone. A virus like this would be particularly nasty because it could simultaneously spread through Internet enabled mobile apps, SMS/MMS, and email. So, even if it stopped spreading through mobile apps, it could continue to spread through email and SMS/MMS. The most likely phones that would be impacted are smartphones on open development platforms like Android that give 3rd party developers access to PIM data but don’t closely regulate free app content or distribution.  The likelihood of this happening will decrease if open mobile OS providers (like Google) implement better checks and balances for apps, though doing so may slow innovation in the 3rd party app space.  The other group of users that could be impacted by a mobile virus are those who back-up their PIM data to an un-proven “server in the sky” provider that gets hacked.
  • The mobile app store war will heat up… The success of the iTunes app store has blown other smartphone stores out of the water, and bolstered sales of the iPhone. Microsoft, RIM and others will attempt to join or leapfrog the competition.
  • Social media and mobile measurement, monitoring, and monetization tools like Radian6, Bango, Mobclix and others (all of which solve pieces of this puzzle) will improve, converge, and become more robust widely used and accessible.
    • Social media and mobile marketing will gain validity as measurement tools improve.
    • More big brands will embrace mobile and social campaigns rather than running away from them.
    • Marketers will be able to target content more appropriately to users based on behavior, location, and handset.
    • Developers will be able to more effectively understand consumer behavior and increase app traction.
  • There will be increased consolidation in the social media aggregation space.  Smaller social networks will die or be acquired into larger networks.  Aggregation sites like FriendFeed will become more popular. Turf wars will escalate with larger social networks taking increased action against smaller aggregation networks that violate terms of their API licenses and encroach on their turf (Facebook‘s lawsuit against and action against Google Friend connect were just the start).
  • Facebook will continue to grow in popularity and eventually find a way to properly monetize its 150,000,000 + users.
  • Twitter will make a big move in 2009.  Someone smart will acquire Twitter (if the offer is good enough) or Twitter will acquire more of the best companies in its developer community and build out a more robust platform with increased consumer appeal.  Twitter will (hopefully) begin to monetize in 2009.
  • While “Virtual Gifts” will continue to grow in popularity, “Real Gifts” (like will gain increased momentum in 2009 and really take off in 2010.  Online retailers will make their real products (books, clothes, etc.) easily giftable via social networks.  You’ll be able to send gifts to your friends/acquaintances without knowing their real address.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these predictions.  If you’re not a vox member, please email your comments to me, and I’ll re-post.

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  • Hey there Lisa,

    Nice prediction list. And yes, for the sake of all of us addicted to Twitter I do hope this is the year they figure out monetization 🙂

    Thanks for the Radian6 shoutout. We definitely continue to pour lots of thought into many of the points you mention and to roll out the features. Here's to a great 2009 🙂

    Happy New Year.


  • Hey Lisa,

    It seems you're very knowledgeable about this for sure. But I know it's not directly related to social networking but how about Google?

    I know they've taken strides in regards to incorporating email chat and syncing anything/everything with blogs,etc.

    What do you foresee them doing?


  • Hi Magikplp. Thanks for your comment… I just turned my reply into a new post:



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