Hamid Akhavan: Application Economics in Mobile

Hamid Akhavan, Global CTO of T-Mobile, spoke at MIT yesterday. His presentation was very general, but I thought it relevant to those interested in mobile gaming:

  • Most successful mobile applications have landline replicas (email, voice services, short messaging), and mobile always commands a price premium. The number of successful mobile-only applications is very small (GPS navigation systems, etc).
  • There may be no “killer app” that is unique to mobile. Instead of focusing on new mobile applications, developers should strive to port popular landline applications to the mobile environment.
  • Prediction: before the end of this decade, all consumer internet access will take place via wireless networks, not landlines.
  • Characteristics of a good mobile application:
    1. Automatically knows what device a customer is currently using
    2. Automatically knows a device’s bandwidth capabilities
    3. Includes location-based services when worthwhile
    4. Offers protection from unauthorized use, access, and copying
    5. Ensures that content is presented in the best way on any device and channel
    6. Synchs with all other relevant devices automatically.

Akhavan’s prediction caught my attention. If all consumer broadband will soon be delivered wirelessly, a mobile gaming revolution is just around the corner. Right now, only consumers in hotspot-saturated major metropolitan areas can really enjoy pipe-rich mobile gaming (and even then, not constantly/consistently.) The end of the decade isn’t far off… time to start thinking seriously about the possibilities! Akhavan’s “good application characteristics” seem relatively applicable to games, too.

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