Top 10 Mobile Applications for 2012

Mobiles touch our world in many ways. Today's mobiles are getting smarter and assist in wide variety of tasks thanks to growing number of mobile apps. This article presents top 10 mobile applications for 2012 as predicted by Gartner. Many of them are already available in the market as of today, but the adoption is lagging and which is expected to reach many folds by 2012.

These applications are identified based on their impact on consumers and industry players, considering revenue, loyalty, business model, consumer value and estimated market penetration.

The list of top 10 mobile applications of 2012 is:

  1. Money Transfer: This service allows people to send money to others using Short Message Service (SMS). Its lower costs, faster speed and convenience compared with traditional transfer services have strong appeal to users in developing markets, and most services signed up several million users within their first year.
  2. Location-Based Services: LBS extends to more than social networks – it includes any application that taps into your phone's GPS capabilities to offer up location-based services of any kind, whether that's local business reviews or directions to the nearest Starbucks. LBS user base will grow from 96 million in 2009 to 526 million in 2012. 
  3. Mobile Search: The ultimate purpose of mobile search is to drive sales and marketing opportunities on the mobile phone. To achieve this, the industry first needs to improve the user experience of mobile search so that people will come back again.
  4. Mobile Browsing: Mobile browsing capabilities currently exist only on 60%+ of handsets will climb to 80% by 2013. Web developers can build mobile web applications to cater to this bunch as opposed to focusing all their efforts into building apps for the numerous mobile platforms like the iPhone, Android, RIM, and others. 
  5. Mobile Health Monitoring: Mobile health monitoring is the use of IT and mobile telecommunications to monitor patients remotely, and could help governments, care delivery organizations (CDOs) and healthcare payers reduce costs related to chronic diseases and improve the quality of life of their patients.
  6. Mobile Payments: Mobile payments is a "highly fragmented market" and it affects number of parties – including mobile carriers, banks, merchants, device vendors, regulators and consumers — and the rising interest from both developing and developed markets.
  7. Near Field Communications (NFC): More popular in some European and Asian markets than in the U.S., NFC still isn't a standard feature on many of today's phones. allows contactless data transfer between compatible devices by placing them close to each other, within ten centimeters. The technology can be used, for example, for retail purchases, transportation, personal identification and loyalty cards.
  8. Mobile Advertising: Not new but growing fast, mobile advertising is one of the most important ways to monetize mobile content. Total spending on mobile advertising in 2008 was USD 530.2 million and it will grow to USD 7.5 billion in 2012. 
  9. Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM): MIM has a particular appeal to users in developing markets that rely on mobile phones as their only connectivity device. Mobile IM presents an opportunity for mobile advertising and social networking, which have been built into some of the more advanced mobile IM clients.
  10. Mobile Music: New innovative models are emerging in this area that will include both device (think "Comes with Music") and service bundles.