What does “mobile” mean now anyway?

In my work I hear the term “mobile” a great deal, but what the heck does “mobile” mean these days?

One thing is for certain, it doesn’t just mean a mobile phone; mobile phones are things of the past – it’s all “smartphones” these days, even though people don’t really use them as phones anymore.

And it doesn’t really mean “on the move” these days anyway: it’s all “connected living room” these days, so unless you mean getting off your bottom to make it all the way to the kitchen…

So what does “mobile” mean when in the phrase “Mobile Agency”?

It probably means a company developing native Apps, delivered via a store, for devices with a touchscreen less than 10″ across the diagonal .

Tim Dunn who’s the Director of Strategy for Isobar Mobile recently wrote a good article about the best approach for marketers to take to Mobile apps; his conclusions? Make it a game or make it useful; use messaging channels that are built into the mobile platforms to communicate with the customer; incorporate social interaction; use them to deliver content; and regularly update them to keep them and your brand fresh.

Notice: no mention of phones. No real mention of mobility. No mention of location. That’s not a criticism – just an observation.

So – mobile agencies are probably developing Apps for iOS (in Objective C), or Android (in Java), hopefully Windows Phone (C#) and Windows 8 (C# or HTML5 and JavaScript). They might be developing in HTML5 for  “mobile” browsers but that would possibly make them a Web agency. They are probably developing apps that are focused on general consumers rather than businesses (although their work will probably be being paid for by businesses).

I reckon that we’ve got about another 12 months before we see the end of the term “mobile”. It strikes me that it doesn’t really mean much any more. What will replace it? Possibly “App”…

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