The mobile industry saw some important consolidation unfold in the second quarter as the lesser tier-one carriers made some strong alliances: Sprint agreed to be acquired by Japan’s SoftBank and began to close in on its own acquisition of Clearwire while T-Mobile officially closed its pickup of MetroPCS.
Meanwhile Apple introduced a big upgrade to iOS that is likely to hit the market later this year and will present huge opportunities — and risks — for developers as the battle of mobile operating systems escalates. And Google bought Waze for $1.1 billion, ending months of speculation about who would claim the white-hot mobile mapping company.
Other highlights from the quarter include:
- Facebook’s Instagram added a video component that enables users to post 15-second clips. The move places Facebook in direct competition with Vine, which has made big strides in mobile video. It also invites questions about just how lucrative that space will become.
- Apple’s Passbook quietly gained traction among both consumers and vendors, underscoring the enormous potential of the mobile wallet. Passbook’s modest success provides some clues for the many players competing in the space, but it also underscores the enormous challenges that will slow growth over the next few years.
- BlackBerry’s attempt at a comeback fell short of expectations during the company’s first full quarter following the launch of BlackBerry 10 earlier this year. Shares of BlackBerry had risen over the past eight months in anticipation of the new platform, halting a dramatic five-year plunge. However, the company still faces an enormous challenge in reclaiming the mobile enterprise market that it once dominated.
This report examines these and other developments in the mobile industry, as well as trends that will impact the market during the rest of 2013 and beyond.