David Armano, Senior Vice President at Edelman Digital, the interactive arm of global communications firm Edelman, published his thoughts online on the “Six Social Media Trends for 2010”, where he claims that social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive this year. In fact, according to him, “the mobile will become a social media lifeline”, saying: “With approximately 70 percent of organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smartphones on the rise, it's likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette breaks could turn into "social media breaks" as long as there is a clear signal and IT isn't looking. As a result, we may see more and/or better mobile versions of our favorite social drug of choice”. Furthermore, he believes that “sharing will no longer mean e-mail”, referring to e.g. the New York Times iPhone application that recently added sharing functionality which allows a user to easily broadcast an article across networks such as Facebook and Twitter. “Many websites already support this functionality, but it's likely that we will see an increase in user behavior as it becomes more mainstream for people to share with networks what they used to do with e-mail lists. And content providers will be all too happy to help them distribute any way they choose”, he writes.

Social Media on mobile phones really seems to be emerging as a trend right now. And I guess we are all quite curious where else we will see social media go to, but let’s now present what the trends in the Asian mobile phone industry looks like in detail.

Here are the trend predictions of the Mobile Marketing Association for Asia in 2010:

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), a global organization leading the way in promoting the development and sustainability of mobile marketing, recently announced its top 10 predictions for the mobile telecommunications industry in Asia for 2010.

Growing up:  regionally-focused growth

With roughly one third of the over 4 billion mobile subscribers in the world already coming from Asia, mobile telecommunications is definitely an area that has come of age. Growth across all areas of mobile telecommunications – whether it be infrastructure, mobile phone subscriptions, mobile Internet, SMS, or gaming – is happening at an explosive pace all across Asia. It is anticipated that a majority of the next billion users will also come from the region.  Adoption of mobile communications is outpacing internet adoption across the region, and by substantial amounts.

Smarter than ever: mobile data use increases

The APAC region accounts for nearly 30 % of the overall market for smartphones. Attracted by innovative smart devices and killer applications, there will be an increase of mobile subscribers in Asia joining the data use bandwagon. This will only increase with the ongoing proliferation of high data consumption services that include video or peer-to-peer applications.

Adding on: mobile data plans as value-added services

The rise in the ownership of smartphone devices like the Apple iPhone in the APAC region will see more users adding mobile data plans as value-added services. Applications that are specifically developed for the iPhone, Android phones, Blackberry devices and others will eventually convert many to mobile data use for internet access. This is a pull factor for subscribers to add mobile data VAS – in turn this will add to the ARPU for each subscriber and improve the bottom line for operators.

All together now: more integrated mobile marketing campaigns

The recent merger of Google and Admob validates the power, reach and value of the wider mobile marketing industry.  For big brands that already leverage Google’s vast suite of online advertising tools, we will see an expansion across mobile channels, as well as more integrated campaigns that captivate and engage across web, mobile, print and experiential channels.

For your eyes only: privacy becomes more important

Higher mobile data use will raise concerns over online/mobile privacy, particularly as users share important personal information over social media. Platforms such as Facebook have already had to address the use of user data and put new privacy policies in place, and this will only increase with the more pervasive use of social media and as other online services go mobile. Privacy will become more important, and will be an important driver for the formation of new policy.

Cash on the go: mobile payment

With a potential 200bn USD plus of global remittance moving through the Asian population, analysts believe it will be a key adopter of mobile payments. Currently, Singapore and Hong Kong are the most mature electronic payment markets in Asia. The industry is growing rapidly and provides significant opportunities for all electronic payment channels including mobile platforms. With a focus on services/product innovation, mobile operators and value added services providers are aggressively working on payment options through mobile platforms – which will be the most lucrative segment in the medium term across Asia as consumers benefit from being able to carry out secure transactions using their mobile devices.

Keeping in shape: mobile healthcare

Mobile healthcare is another fast growing segment in Asia with its aging but tech-friendly population.  In a recent study, Solidiance estimated that by 2010 the Asia Pacific mobile healthcare business will be worth just under USD 1 Billion with 70% of users in more advanced economies. This innovation will involve many parties, including software/applications development, system integrators, mobile integrators, mobile marketing, mobile operators and handset players, and hospitals and other medical service providers. Applications cover a wide range of possibilities and may include but are not limited to remote patient monitoring, mobile nursing, mobile medical records access, access to free mobile healthcare information and more.

Give me a beat: mobile music

The phone in your pocket may also double as a music store, as a new music distribution model with mobile operators becoming choice of music supplier becomes commonplace across Asia. Korea is already the world leader in online music sales with just over 90% of music sales coming from online technologies which puts Korea #1 in the world. It is expected that the mobile music sales will hit USD 390 million by end 2009 and at the current growth rate the industry should hit USD 500 million by 2015. Similar platforms are already appearing in other markets across Asia, and it looks like this might be a significant development for mobile telecommunications.

Playtime isn’t over: mobile gaming

Smartphones can also double as mobile game machines, and the delivery of advertising within mobile applications for games will only grow in the next year. Already Nokia’s Ovi Store and Apple’s iTunes App Store include over-the-air distribution for mobile games, and this creates new revenue stream for publishers, distributors and service providers. The revenue from in-game advertising may be also used to partially or completely subsidize the price of mobile games/services that the application provides. It was estimated that the current market size for this industry in India to be 15 million USD, a substantial amount for a market that is very much still in its infancy, and other Asian countries are likely to follow suit.