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10 mobile technologies to watch in 2010

From touchscreens to app stores

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There's no doubt mobile technologies have already made a big dent on our lives. Whether its checking is surfing the web from your netbook while at the airport, updating your Facebook status from your smartphone, or even reading a novel on an e-book reader.

According to research firm Gartner, the impact of mobile technologies on our lives looks set to continue to surge in the next couple of years too. Gartner says investments in mobile applications and technologies will increase through 2011 as organisations emerge from the recession and begin spending again.

With this in mind, the research firm has picked out the 10 mobile technologies to watch in the coming years. "We are highlighting these 10 mobile technologies that should be on every organisation's radar," said Nick Jones, vice president of Gartner.

Jones said the 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 organisations will face through 2011".

Bluetooth (3 and 4)

Two new Bluetooth versions will emerge by 2011: Bluetooth 3 will introduce 802.11 as a bearer for faster data transmission, and Bluetooth 4 will introduce a new low-energy (LE) mode that will still allow communication with other Bluetooth devices.

Both versions will include other technical improvements to improve battery life and security. Gartner believes that Bluetooth 3 will be employed for activities that need a lot of bandwidth, such as downloading images and videos from handsets).

Bluetooth LE will offer functions, such as the ability to lock down a PC automatically as soon as the user moves away from the machine.

The mobile web

Gartner says that by 2011, over 85 percent of handsets shipped globally will include some form of browser. Furthermore, in Europe and Japan, smartphones with sophisticated browsing capability and the ability to render conventional HTML sites in some manner will make up around 60 percent of handsets shipped.

The growth in smartphones with relatively large and high-resolution screens will encourage greater numbers of people to access conventional websites on mobile devices.

Mobile widgets

Widgets are web apps that use technologies such as JavaScript and HTML. Many handsets support widgets running on their home screens, where they are easily visible and accessible.

Gartner says that despite the lack of standards, widgets provide a convenient way to deliver simple, connected applications, especially those involving real-time data updates such as weather forecasts, email notifications, marketing, blogs and information feeds. "Because widgets exploit well-understood tools and technologies, they have lower entry barriers than complex native applications, and thus can be a good first step to assess the demand for an application on a specific platform before undertaking expensive native development," the research firm says.


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