Analysts at Gartner (News
) think niche "killer applications" might actually emerge in the consumer mobile space, and they also believe that the typical user will stick to no more than five mobile applications at a time.
That would be a modification of the prevailing wisdom that there is no killer app for mobile or broadband, and that no single killer app ever will be created. But Sandy Shen, Gartner research director, thinks it is possible that niche killer apps are a definite likelihood.
Gartner, in fact, has identified the top 10 consumer mobile applications it believes will underpin such niches in 2012.
Money transfer, allowing people to send money to others using Short Message Service, tops the list of 10 2012 lead apps. Its lower costs, faster speed and convenience compared with traditional transfer services have strong appeal to users in developing markets, and most services signed up several million users within their first year.
Location-based services likely would top anybody's list of top-10 coming applications. Gartner predicts that the LBS user base will grow globally from 96 million in 2009 to more than 526 million in 2012.
LBS is ranked second in Gartner’s top 10 because of its perceived high user value and its influence on user loyalty. Its high user value is the result of its ability to meet a range of needs, ranging from productivity and goal fulfillment to social networking and entertainment.
Mobile search is ranked third because of its high impact on technology innovation and industry revenue. Consumers will stay loyal to some search services, but instead of sticking to one or two search providers on the Internet, Gartner expects loyalty on the mobile phone to be shared between a few search providers that have unique technologies for mobile search.
Mobile browsing is a widely available technology present on more than 60 percent of handsets shipped in 2009, a percentage Gartner expects to rise to approximately 80 percent in 2013. Gartner has ranked mobile browsing fourth because of its broad appeal to all businesses.
Mobile health monitoring is ranked fifth.
Mobile payment made Gartner’s top 10 list because of the number of parties it affects, including mobile carriers, banks, merchants, device vendors, regulators and consumers, and the rising interest from both developing and developed markets.
Mobile advertising is the number six application. Total spending on mobile advertising in 2008 was $530.2 million, which Gartner expects to will grow to $7.5 billion in 2012. Mobile advertising makes the top 10 list because it will be an important way to monetize content on the mobile Internet, offering free applications and services to end users.
Mobile instant messaging is on Gartner’s top 10 list because of latent user demand and market conditions that are conducive to its future adoption. It has a particular appeal to users in developing markets that may rely on mobile phones as their only connectivity device. Mobile IM presents an opportunity for mobile advertising and social networking, which have been built into some of the more advanced mobile IM clients.
Mobile music, though so far disappointing, also makes Gartner's list.
Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi