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Top 10 forecast for 2012: What about Apple and NFC?

By Gary Schwartz

In a season where every second tweet and Google+ post is a look-back or forward at the “mobile” year, it is sometimes difficult to navigate all the insights.

Just Google “Mobile Top 10 . . .” and you will find every blogger, publication and pundit providing their vision of what is newsworthy, trendworthy or simply rankable in mobile.

The proliferation of mobile “Top 10s” is a good thing. It is proof of all the many verticals areas that mobile has intersected. Health, IT, gaming, banking, retail, social, payment, fraud, security, privacy, patent trolling – all now have some form of a top 10 mobile list.

The explosion of the Mobile Top Ten list shows both how disruptive mobile has become and, also, what a massive audience it commands. Top 10-related news headlines seem to drive more hits and be retweeted more than other items.

Twitter even tweets its top 10 most retweeted tweets. No. 2 being @LilTunechi Lil Wayne WEEZY F “aaaaaaahhhhhhmmmmm baaaaakkkkkkkkkk.”

The 2011 top of the top 10 retweets was by Wendy’s restaurants “RT for a good cause. Each retweet sends 50c to help kids in foster care. #TreatItFwd.” Wendy’s raised $1.8 million.

We seem to all need, what Perry Hoekstra in his blog calls an “Obligatory 2011 Top Ten Mobile Story List.” I presume it helps us simplify this expanding, complex world of mobile.

If we can prioritize importance and cut off the discussion at ten, the list can help us make sense of mobile.

15 seconds of fame
Lists also keep us honest. We never are right on half our predictions. Remember our 2010 trends and forecasts? They are out there in the blogosphere for all those with 20/20 hindsight to chuckle.

In December 2010, we all had an opinion on HP webOS-powered tablet plans – that never happened.

And where on the list was Google’s purchase of Motorola, ostensibly as fodder for their IP wars against Apple? Missed that one.

But the biggest problem with these lists is their length. In the wasteland of eggnog and turkey dinners, I ask, where are the mobile Clifs Notes? Where is the super-list? Where is the list of lists?

Steve Yankovich, head of mobile for eBay, tells us that the mobile consumer’s attention span is roughly 15 seconds, nose-to-phone.

EBay designs its mobile pages for the dwell time at an elevator or the time idling at the red light.

Perhaps, in the spirit of mobile efficiency, we better design our year-end prognostications for this small attention-deficit window.

Out on a limb
This holiday season, I add to the litany of lists my retrospect and forecast of mobile, but below in 100 words or less.


1. Facebook timeline set it back in history
2. Google+ builds circle of trust
3. Symbian sang swansong
4. Apple continued to make data a free commodity
5. Spectrum war showed its dark side
6. All screens called mobile
7. Amazon cloud disrupts the mall
8. Consumer data became jewel in the crown
9. CarrierIQ poster-child of privacy angst
10. NFC wallet traded press, not payment


1. NFC proximity marketing, not proximity payment – yet
2. X9 (ISO) delivers mobile security recommendations
3. Apple says “I Do” to NFC
4. Research In Motion exits stage right
5. Cloud checkout is optimized and mainstream
6. Super App = HTML5 browser
7. Focus on prepaid market services
8. LTE networks and spectrum become big issues
9. Mobile privacy hype continues
10. Microsoft and Nokia enter stage left

Not quite 100 words, but near enough.

Happy Mobile New Year.

Gary Schwartz is president/CEO of Impact Mobile, Toronto, and author of “The Impulse Economy” (Simon & Schuster, 2011). Reach him at [email protected].