You might wonder what will be different as the global computing industry shifts from its present “PC” mode to something else that, for lack of any better description, is an era of mobile Internet computing.

By the end of the decade, it might be true that the Internet experience is so customized and personalized that the experience is “pushed” at users rather than “pulled.” Think of the difference between “search” and television. Search is a manual activity, triggered by an active end user desire to find something. TV is “pushed;” it is just there.

The difference will be that mobility adds a context to user preferences and interests that can be inferred by activity on the Internet as well as directly specified by user input and opt-in mechanisms.

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The mobile Internet experience might be centered around the mobile device in part because that device offers the situational and locational clues that can personalize the “pushing” of contextual information to a user.

These days service providers talk about becoming “experience providers.” That might or might not be true in 10 years. A decade from now, the most powerful position in the value chanin might be the “context provider,” a role that partly is provided by application providers using the Web, device manufacturers, social networking communities and software, communications service providers and possibly other entities providing roles now yet generally recognized.

It is not hard to imagine that providers of financial information will play larger roles. To the extent that future behavior is best predicted by past behavior, and assuming the privacy and opt-in issues can be protected, correlating past spending with current location could be more valuable for any number of reasons.

What might be true in most developed markets, by the middle of the decade, and might already be true on a global basis, is that mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device.

According to the International Telecommunications, mobile devices already are the number-one form of access on a worldwide level.

Should the next era of computing unfold in this general pattern–mobile and Internet being the key phrases–context could emerge as a key driver of ecosystem value. That suggests how mobile service providers should be thinking about where they need to be in the future.

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