by February 2, 2012 0 comments

As we turn the calendar to 2012, it is worth taking a look at the major chan-ges that mobile technology brought about in the lives of consumers. First, dual core processors were introduced in mobile phones in 2011. 2012 will see mobile manufacturers focusing on optimizing power usage. Dual core processors also provide the opportunity of provisioning computing power more effectively when say a tablet is tethered to a smart phone.

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Second, the growth in tablets through 2012 will redefine the way consumers demand and use mobile services. A Morgan Stanley paper predicts that tablet shipments in 2012 could reach 100 million units (a NPD DisplaySearch statistic placed tablet shipments in 2011 at 72.7 million). From a productivity and utility standpoint, the larger form factor of tablets permits consumers more evolved interactions with the device and thereby with their environment. While Augmented Reality (AR) and Location Based Services (LBS) are effective on a mobile phone, the sheer convenience of usage and the ability to display complex visual information on a handy-sized tablet will propel adoption.

The challenge before mobile device manufacturers and application developers in 2012 will be to optimize the experience for each device rather than simply port the experience from device to device. The BlackBerry smart phones, for example, demonstrate a simple but effective instance of optimized porting. The Twitter interface on the BlackBerry is not that of a web browser. In March 2011, Twitter reported a 182% increase in the number of mobile users over the previous year, so it seems natural to focus attention on improving the mobile experience. Similarly, the Gmail interface on the PlayBook is not the same as a web browser or a smart phone display. The interface has been tweaked to leverage the tablet’s form factor and processing capability.

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Third, virtualization is likely to play a significant role in strengthening mobile usage. Mobile virtualization can ensure that multiple domains/ operating systems co exist on the same handset or tablet, leaving enterprise IT departments to manage a domain in the virtual environment (the operator manages the other domain).

In terms of hardware, virtualization holds the promise of reducing the number of chips used on a device. Instead of three chips — one each for communication or providing connectivity, applications or running things like e-mail or word processors and multi media to handle graphics and video — a handset may need just a single processor. The impact on cost, while not truly significant (perhaps in the range of Rs 200 to 300/ handset), will still deliver a saving for consumers.

2011 was a year of innovation around mobile devices and lifestyles in the consumer and enterprise space. Early signs indicate that the trend will mature in 2012, fueling mobile device adoption.

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