Time spent on mobile devices approaches time spent with TV
The mobile-app economy is growing exponentially, with wireless-industry trade association CTIA predicting it will generate nearly $50 billion in revenue by 2016. This growth coincides with time spent on mobile devices, and in 2013, that number may approach time spent watching TV. Time spent on mobile applications increased 35% in 2012 -- to 127 minutes a day from 94 minutes a day -- while time spent watching TV remained flat at 168 minutes, according to mobile-data company Flurry. If these trends continue, mobile apps will eclipse TV in 2013, and adoption rates suggest they may. (Research firm Gartner, for instance, projects the number of tablets used worldwide to almost double from 2012 to 2013.) Combined with Amazon, Netflix and YouTube investing in web-based original content, you may see the mobile web (finally) put a dent in TV usage.
Amazon battles Windows for the No. 3 mobile operating system
Apple and Google remain the goliaths, with the rest duking it out for third place. Most experts predict Windows to assume the coveted No. 3 position, but a tepid response to the company's Surface tablet and Windows 8 OS leaves the door open for Amazon with its slew of Kindles -- especially if the e-commerce giant decides to create its own smartphone, as some have speculated. (The company would have to create its own OS instead of using a slightly altered version of Android.) The dark horse in the race is the formerly dominant Research in Motion, which unveiled its new smartphone, BB10, and accompanying operating system in December.
Lawmakers press for limits on location-based advertising
More time is being spent on mobile devices, but marketing dollars spent on mobile ads doesn't match up. That's why marketers are pushing for ads that take advantage of the unique capability of the phone: to target you with offers and messages targeted at a unique location at a given time.
Expect members of Congress and the executive branch to do their best to make it difficult. The location-privacy-protection bill, which requires companies to receive user consent before collecting mobile-location data, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-December. Earlier that week, the Federal Trade Commission revealed that 80% of 400 mobile apps studied had privacy disclosures and were possibly in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Consumers, however, are seemingly less interested in these protections than the government is in enforcing them, with 43% saying they'd like ads based on their current location, according to research from mobile ad platform Tapjoy.