Gartner is highlighting 10 mobile and wireless networking technologies -- including new versions of Bluetooth and location-awareness -- it says will play a big role in business-to-employee and business-to-consumer interactions over the next couple of years.
"These mobile technologies were selected because they will evolve in ways that affect corporate strategies, significant numbers of customers or employees will adopt or expect them, or they will address particular mobile challenges that organizations will face through 2011," said Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a statement.
- Bluetooth (3 and 4): Both Bluetooth updates are coming by next year, with Version 3 exploiting 802.11 for a speed boost and enabling transfer of multimedia transmissions, and Version 4 featuring a low-energy mode that will allow devices to work with external peripherals and sensors, such as laptop autolocks.
- Mobile Web: Look for much more widespread use of smartphone Web browsers as better screens on smartphones make surfing the Web more inviting from these devices. Vendors such as Microsoft are said to be building much better mobile browsers, such as for Windows Phone 7.
- Platform-independent mobile app development tools: These will be needed to enable apps to run across the increasingly dizzying array of mobile devices, such as those debuting at the CTIA show.
- App Stores: Look for even more app stores beyond the most famous, Apple's, such as the one being coordinated by major mobile carriers. Gartner expects organizations to create their own app stores in some cases to distribute apps to customers and employees.
- Enhanced location awareness: Gartner says GPS will be on more than three quarters of mobile handsets by the end of next year, and this should spur an explosion in apps to exploit location-awareness. Privacy issues will require constant attention though.
- Cellular broadband: The rise of 4G wireless, fueled in part by FCC directives on national broadband, should enable wireless users to do more than ever with their existing devices and open the door for new types of mobile devices.
- Touchscreens: Recent research shows that most smartphones now have touchscreens, so application developers will need to take this into account as they build programs.
- Machine-to-machine communications: Advances here will enable new smart grid, security and retail applications and devices.
- Device-independent security: Look for cloud-based security to help CIOs better safeguard corporate data and devices.