Mobile development isn’t always about making money from the mobile application itself. It’s often possible to use it to raise awareness of other less exciting products.
I worked for one company that had trouble selling its core products to two companies. I worked on a mobile version of one core product that hasn’t been successful in itself but nevertheless caused lots of interest and sales of the core products to the two companies.
Another example came up at the last Momo London. Discovery Channel are not looking to make money on their mobile TV clips. Instead, they are using them to get people to view and subscribe to their usual cable/satellite channels.
Similarly, many big brands are starting to give away JAVA applications to gain brand awareness as part of a marketing strategy.