Last week saw the long-awaited release of the newest Apple iPhone as well as the Verizon Droid X phone, the latest device running Google's Android operating system or OS. Both of these phones are stunning in their features and operation.
One fact made clear by these phones is that the day of mobile computing is here. While I think rumors of the demise of the desktop PC are greatly exaggerated, we are definitely moving toward a mobile future which will certainly feature these phones, tablets and other devices.
This vision of mobile computing has businesses struggling to keep up and to plan intelligently for mobile ads and other features and services they may want to offer. Google has long made it clear that they see their Android OS as one more vehicle to promote their search and advertising efforts.
Apple sees the future on the iPhone in a more controlled way, and has created its own original and proprietary ad platform for iPhone applications called iAds. Steve Jobs showed the platform briefly in his recent iPhone presentation. He emphasized that the goal of the ads is to fit in neatly wherever they appear and to always allow a smooth and continuous user experience.
Then you have the various services offering location based information and games for the Apple iPhone, Google Android phones, and mobile devices such as the Apple iPad. These include Foursquare, Gowalla and several other companies which see great fortunes to be made in location-oriented businesses. It's clear already that these types of companies do have a future, as investors are showing great interest in them.
Add to this that the Apple iPhone and several Google Android phones are already location aware with these or other applications, and you can see a bright future here.
Twitter has been announcing several new approaches and features, and location-based service is one of the most discussed and most anticipated of all of them.
As Twitter moves more into location based "tweets" and other similar features, it hopes to be able to compete with other companies which have preceded them into this space. Many think that Foursquare and similar businesses could be completely overtaken by Twitter in this area, while others believe there is room here for all contenders who offer unique ways to approach the location offering.
Facebook is the major player in practically everything to do with social networking and sharing information. The service has made it clear it will be a major player when it comes to the mobile space and especially in the location based service area. They have already taken steps to compete there and are probably the quickest moving player in almost all areas of online business and trends.
The service often gets criticized and censured for making radical changes and for privacy issues, but there is no doubt Facebook is one to watch in all these mobile areas of competition, including the location based niche. When Professor Jesse Schell of Carnegie Mellon recently said, "Facebook is terrifying" he was probably speaking for every business that has to compete with them today.