We have seen massive shifts in the mobile space over the past three years. In the US alone there are 42.7 million smartphones. Arguably we can say that Apple ignited the revolution of the smartphone ecosystem -- back in January, 2007. Since then -- the consumer's rapid adoption of the smartphone has been voracious. We are witness to this phenomenon -- massive adoption of the mobile Internet, an enormous library of mobile applications and the colossal consumption of content on smart-devices.
Apple alone cannot take the credit for this mobile Renaissance -- Google has also played a strategic role in the space. Google's Android operating system has set in motion a firestorm of smartphones. Companies such as Motorola, LG and Samsung quickly adopted the OS and began to rapidly release branded smartphones.
Mobile applications have been a strong ally in the smartphone ecosystem. One in which Apple clearly dominates -- with over 225,000 apps.
In 2008 and 2009 all major mobile handset manufacturers and operating system providers jumped on the train Apple had started and launched their own mobile development and distribution platforms. In 2009 only a few developers allocated their resources to those platforms. Apple dominated the market and there was no other platform which reached similar download and app numbers to those of the market leader.-research2guidence, Global app developer survey
Today, Apple's closest competitor is the Android Market Place with over 70,000 apps. Android is enjoying a healthy growth of applications due to its popularity amongst the top original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
By 2013 Android will have become the mobile platform which offers the highest business potential for mobile app developers. This includes all paid content, advertisement and transaction based business models.
-research2guidence, Global app developer survey
The smartphone application market is a billion dollar business -- $2.2 billion, according to reasearch2guidence. As such companies are racing to develop applications. One such company is Visa -- they have developed the payWave technology.
Transit agencies the world over have one primary goal -- to get their customers to where they need to go quickly and efficiently. What transit agencies and riders recognize is that using Visa on buses, subways and trains is the logical evolution in terms of improved speed, security and convenience.
-Jim McCarthy, global head of product, Visa Inc.
New York City is one of the pilot cities for Visa's payWave program. This is a secure contactless payment system that will allow straphangers to use their smartphones to pay for their fare -- by simply waving the handset over the sensor. Visa is selling the technology as its long-term strategy to increase security and to provide riders with a better experience by eliminating the need to use cash.
This application stands to generate a new revenue stream for Visa -- one in which the company has the smartphone market to thank.