My prediction for 2008: it'll be the year of the mobile internet, the year when it suddenly became obvious that mobiles need the same access to the web as any other device.
All the major device manufacturors will release businesses based on this idea:
- Apple, with the iPhone and perhaps a new slimline tablet Mac using Webkit, the open source browser engine
- Google, with the rollout of Android, their mobile platform using Webkit
- Nokia, with their Symbian smartphones such as the N95 becoming a major part of their business, using Webkit
- Mozilla, with their new mobile version of Firefox
In addition, there's the eagerly awaited spectrum auction in the US, the continued rollout of HSDPA mobile network speeds across the world, and moves around the world towards open network access.
Even on the internet, businesses have to be planned several quarters in advance, and the four players above have been scrambling to execute during 2008. That will widen the gap with those still working on their current businesses, chief among them Microsoft.
2008 will be the year that companies stopped spending time developing java-based mobile applications. They'll just post them on the web, and attract mobile users to browse to them instead. During 2008, we'll see the first mainstream mobile internet sites for
- Address Book, SMS and Calendar
- Music and Video players
- Social Networking
In other words, we'll see Silicon Valley catch up with the new opportunities presented by fast network access and sophisticated, easy to use devices.