Once smart phone adoption reaches a critical mass, they won’t be called ‘smart’ anymore. They will be the new normal, and users will expect the full range of internet capabilities their laptops have.
The market for smart phones is expected to grow quickly partly because of new entrants. For example, Google’s android operating system (actually an open source system) may have as many as 20 million handsets available by year end. The ability to use an open source system means cheaper handsets will be manufactured because the costs of software to run them has dropped so far so fast. And that will mean more smart phones and more consumers looking for internet services.
So, what about the travel business? Of course the challenge for the makers and the operators will to find ways of keeping a margin in the face of commoditization pressure, and so they will look to services. In terms of travel services, Google already have maps, search, and MyTravelGoogle and have started making noises about “@googletravel”. Typically of course Google look for advertizing revenue but I wonder if they will try and go the live inventory distribution route. Will they be able to find some travel services to offer and charge for? If not Google, who will be able to command a presence and an income in delivering travel services across an open operating system?