It’s that time again.
A new year has come and gone, with another upon us.
We had a busy year here at Float. We’ve had many fantastic clients with whom we hope to continue working in next year, and we’re looking forward to what 2012 will bring us. With 2011 drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a look back at our predictions for the mobile space in general and mobile learning we made last January.
The following newsletter is a two-part series. In this edition, we’ll look at our mobile hits and misses, and in January, we’ll list our predictions for 2012.
Mobile Landscape Predictions
Continued Growth of Android – According to comScore data released Dec. 2, Android had 46.3 percent of the U.S. smartphone market share in October 2011. Compared to 2010 data, Android flew past Apple and gained more than 20 percentage points in doing so, increasing its share from 23.5 percent.
The iPhone made it to Verizon – Yep, the iPhone made its long-awaited debut on Verizon. Sprint, too.
PC makers will abandon netbooks for tablets – Netbooks are on shaky ground as 2011 comes to a close. Tablet sales eclipsed that of netbooks in the second quarter of 2011, according to ABI Research. In June, Dell Philippines announced it was discontinuing its netbook business.
Mobile web resurgence – Adobe laid down some major announcements this year after MAX, including abandoning Flash Player for mobile devices to focus on HTML5 and CSS3. Adobe also acquired PhoneGap. PhoneGap has continued to flourish this year, finally reaching a 1.x release state. The toolkit extends the capabilities of the mobile Web by enabling more features – like camera access – to a mobile Web app and wrapping it up as an app. Adobe’s acquisition helped validate Nitobi’s concept of app development using Web technology. Additionally, jQuery Mobile 1.0 was released, boasting (probably) the widest consistent platform support.
Lots more tablets – Many cool tablets came out this year – the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the iPad 2, the Motorola Xoom. Some came and landed with a thud, such as the HP TouchPad and the Blackberry Playbook. None were probably as hot, though, as the Kindle Fire. The $199 tablet may sell at a loss, but Amazon also understands the Fire’s potential to get you to buy stuff from them with the device in your hand. Tablets accounted for 7 percent of digital traffic in the U.S., according to comScore. The iPad left other tablets in the dust with 97 percent of tablet traffic, and it even surpassed the iPhone for Internet traffic in August.
Rapid growth in cross-platform toolkits – We already mentioned Adobe’s acquisition of PhoneGap. Titanium Mobile had a big year, too. Its company, Appcelerator, announced in November that it raised $15 million in funding and that it had become the largest third-party app publisher in the Apple and Android marketplaces with more than 30,000 apps available on 30 million devices. Appcelerator acquired Particle Code, as well.
Consolidation of Mobile OSes – With the rapidly declining BlackBerry market share, the questionable future for HP’s WebOS and the shift away from Symbian to Windows by Nokia, we would say this trend is happening. When it’s complete, it might be an interesting landscape we’ll be looking at. Who will be standing in the end?
LTE rollouts – Verizon has spread its LTE services to 179 U.S. markets, as of mid-November, according to Cnet. Sprint, U.S. Cellular, AT&T, and Apple also claim to follow suit in 2012. These rollouts are hitting some obstacles, however, and the shakiness around the AT&T deal for acquiring T-Mobile may only contribute to that.
A major university will announce a radical shift in textbook purchasing – While many schools are supporting e-books in their courses, no school has laid down the gauntlet stating that all classes must offer e-pub versions of the texts to their students. This may be happening in 2012. Keep posted!
Big changes at providers – Well, we’ve already talked a bit about the AT&T/T-Mobile merger issues, but there are some other things to consider as well. Most companies are currently massaging their data limits and prices to favor themselves. This is becoming pretty important to them as LTE rollouts occur and people begin consuming massive amounts of video on their phones.
Mobile Learning Predictions
Mobile learning will get its own identity – The eLearning Guild hosted its second annual mLearnCon this year in San Jose, Calif., with plans already underway for the third event in 2012. According to Jeff Tillett, the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn conference also focused largely on mobile learning. Internationally, the 10th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning was held in China. Dr. Gary Woodill, Ed.D., posted the proceedings on our blog. All of these indicate that mobile is emerging on its own without being eLearning on a mobile device.
Investment in mobile learning will significantly increase – Judging by the interest we are seeing, the increase in our visitors to our site and the fact that mobile is a common discussion topic at most all learning-focused conferences, we would say this in underway. ASTD’s mobile report from this past summer agreed.
Mobile learning sub-disciplines will begin to emerge – This is tough to call. While some people in the learning space are coming around to considering that “just-in-time” information and performance support can be part of a learning department’s toolbox, there is still a great deal of resistance. Until we as a community can come to grips with this shift in understanding how people learn and how we can affect behavior at the point of need, many people are going to continue to see mLearning as an extension of eLearning, and not the game changer that it truly is.
Mobile learning development for tablets will become one of these sub-disciplines – While tablet interest is HOT HOT HOT, many people in the learning circles aren’t really differentiating the design for these devices from existing mobile design disciplines. As the tablet market matures, we should see people’s treatment of the form factor mature as well.
Flash will still have an impact (at least in the area of mobile learning) – So we missed this one. Adobe announced it was abandoning Flash Player for mobile devices in order to focus on mobile Web technologies HTML5 and CSS3.
Over the past several weeks, Float managing director Chad Udell was a guest blogger on the ASTD’s Learning Circuits blog. Chad gave a brief overview about developing a mobile learning strategy.
Read Chad’s posts in their entirety: