Now that smartphones have gone mass market and they have been taken up by large brands, we are starting to get some larger mobile success stories. For example, Starbucks has processed more than 20 million mobile payment transactions since January and eBay will have done $5 billion in business this year via mobile phones.
One observation is that these successes are more about using mobile to help an existing business rather than having the app as a revenue generator in itself. I am beginning to believe that most developer-led apps that try to gain revenue by selling the app, ad funding or in-app purchasing are unlikely to be successful. Instead, developers need to look into enabling existing businesses to increase their business through use of mobile. This might take the form of white label apps, middleware, libraries, mobile services, tools and other enablers.