Future:Mobile 2011I participated in this year’s Future:Mobile event held last week in San Francisco. The event was an invitation only, closed-door environment for CEO’s from leading private companies in the mobile sector to share their thoughts on innovation and how they’re shaping the mobile environment. The event was buzzing from start to finish with start ups, small companies and internet goliaths all represented and interacting well in the way that only seems to happen in “the valley”.

Over the course of two days many ideas were exchanged, trends debated and viewpoints put forward. It became very clear early on that this is just the beginning for mobile, there is still a lot more to come. With businesses like Twitter, Facebook and Groupon all highly focussed on mobile the rate of growth and innovation within the mobile space continues to be exponential.

The diversity of devices on the market is driving a lot of “mobile web app” activity, leading to discussion on the future of app stores, particularly with the arrival of retailing behemoth Amazon and their focus on user experience expected to shake things up.

From a mobile app perspective it’s Android which is the focus for 2011, so no real surprise there. It was also evident that mobile payments are a real hotbed of activity, with a lot of innovation expected in 2011 and consolidation in 2012.

In terms of handset manufacturers, despite recent bad PR, RIM (BlackBerry) is still expected to be widely used, while Windows Phone 7 was not really mentioned, it’s seen as a “wait and see” because Microsoft has not been clear about what their roadmap is and there are very few devices about.

Interestingly, one thing that was apparent is that the rumours about Microsoft buying Nokia have not died down. Watch this space!