English only? Not in a mobile, post-PC future …
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English only? Not in a mobile, post-PC future …

English only? Not in a mobile, post-PC future …

Mobile LocalizationIn its report “Mobile Applications and Interfaces: New Approaches for a Multichannel Future,” technology research firm Gartner, Inc. asserts that the reign of the desktop computer and the laptop is behind us. The 2011 figures published by the UN’s International Telecommunication Union certainly supports that notion: penetration of mobile cellular subscriptions reached 87% globally and 79% in the developing world specifically. Moreover, the steep decline in broadband costs are making mobile devices not only attractive but affordable for populations worldwide.

What does that mean for software developers? Well, at the very least, it means stern talks with IT department heads and business leaders about positioning brands, UI designs, and content delivery for a mobile-dominated future. Gartner, in fact, declares three key imperatives:

  1. IT organisations must rapidly evolve mobile applications and interfaces to meet sharp increases in demand across B2B, B2E, and B2C channels
  2. Application developers need to retool as mobile-centric design replaces desktop-centric design for user interfaces
  3. Organisations need to reallocate resources as mobile advertising projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by four to one by 2015

Unstated, but at least in the picture, is what these implications hold for global IT players who are publishing to multilingual channels. We ourselves wrote about this recently, noting specifically that serious revenue potential lies beyond any nation’s borders or any single language. Moreover, the big players — Apple, Blackberry, Nokia, and Samsung — are already answering the call with multilingual UIs, keyboards, and voice controls.

But what’s your take, readers?

  • Does the post-PC era also spell the end of single-language software development?
  • Will our global mobile future be completely multilingual?
  • Does your own company already embrace the multilingual mobile future?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.