Speaking at a breakfast gathering of mobile executives in Seattle, Rob Glaser, ex-CEO of RealNetworks, outlined his view of the three trends that will drive innovation within the wireless industry.Glaser
Glaser first highlighted the fundamental changes he sees in “the connected computing environment”. With GPS, social networks and wireless connectivity, mobile solution providers can avail themselves of more insights about the people, places and offers that might be useful for a particular consumer. He noted a research analyst report that indicated that the installed base of smartphones will exceed that of PCs by the year 2013, as evidence of the rapid change in global mobile access.
Further underscoring the impact of the accelerated adoption of multi-function mobile devices, Glaser’s second trend to watch was the emergence of the superphone category from the smartphone pack. These highly capable mobile devices will look more like PCs, offering a complete range of apps, web plug-ins and media.
Finally, Glaser highlighted the increases in consumers’ media consumption, from user-generated sources as well as mainstream media outlets, and cited the popularity of his own product, the digital music service Rhapsody. As a disruptive innovator in digital media products, Glaser has deep familiarity with the challenges in providing cross-platform access to digital content, both from a consumer and industry perspective. Acknowledging the difficulty in delivering a solid consumer experience given connectivity and device limitations, as well as the media’s resistance to new business models, he maintained that “digital persistence” was a major opportunity for mobile growth.
Glaser is bullish on Android, despite delivering a Rhapsody app for the iPhone in 2012. He steadfastly believes that the open model will accelerate innovation, while Apple’s verticalized approach will likely stifle the creation of new commercial models across the value chain.