The iPad launched yesterday. If you weren't in Silicon Valley, you may have missed the Cameron/Bay/Coppola-esque shockwave it created. From my perch in Mountain View I saw the Transamerica Pyramid duck and cover. Larry Ellison's "Rising Sun" surfed a 400 foot asphalt wave from Redwood City to our doorstep. 7,000 tweets per minute later, a proud, spent Steve Jobs smoked a cigar and grinned at the chaos he created. Again.
Three weeks ago, Google launched Nexus One to similar fanfare and a few weeks before that it was Verizon and Motorola launching Droid. More recently, the Red Cross forever changed crowdsourced fundraising by generating more than $20 million in 72 hours - $10 at a time. Mobile technology occupies a place in our cultural pantheon usually reserved for world war, famine, or Michael Jackson.
It's bigger than gadgets, apps, or services and nobody knows what to make of it. There's just a universal, shared sense that everything from media consumption to work to travel to parenting changed forever. Distance is measured in clicks and milliseconds. Progress is measured in weeks. Moore's Law - feh. Droid's Law now governs innovation.
Out of this primordial ooze came an interesting report from Gartner last week that grounded me. $6.2 billion will be spent on mobile apps in 2010 growing to $29.5 billion in three years. This isn't a technology fad. It isn't a social revolution. It's a market for mobile digital goods that is finally growing - at a pace that dwarfs what even the most outlandish predictions forecasted a few years back.
It seemed for some time that the mobile cavalcade left businesses behind. Virtual Zippos and shoot 'em up games defined the mobile app experience. Now 70% of the Fortune 100 use iPhone and 100% of DC power brokers use BlackBerry (an unscientific estimate but did you see all those thumbs flying at the SOTU?). And you know what? It ain't because they're throwing sheep.
It's because smartphones are business essential. One customer called recently to say his CFO finally conceded to letting employees expense mobile phones after getting a demo of Aeroprise for self-service. Another told me her CIO is glued to Who's On? 18x7 (unfortunate until she found a hack to "stay on" until 11pm every night).
It's unclear who or what will benefit most from the billions about to be spent. What comforts me is knowing the smartest people on the planet are solving our biggest problems using mobile technology and the impact it will have on all of us will make even Steve Jobs wonder why he didn't see it coming.
The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.