Dell and a Tale of Two Mobile Stock Baskets

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It's kind of sad to see Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) being taken private and like an elephant, leaving the pack of public hardware and software companies, to go die in the forest alone and away from its companions that would otherwise stand in a circle around it, mourning it, until it finally expires.

This is what's happening to some of the old pillars of the Internet renaissance such as Dell, HP, Sun Microsystems, and some of the old mobile players too, like RIM and Nokia. They are simply becoming irrelevant to customers and partners. In other words they are becoming irrelevant to their own revenue streams. When this happens, sales have no choice but to decline while important numbers are being missed. Companies will face this slow painful decline in value if they do not put mobile first!

Why is this happening to some companies and not others?

One word: Mobile

Mobile Apps, Mobile Search, Mobile Hardware connected to the Mobile Internet are finally easier, more convenient and more powerful than the average laptop or desktop computer.

One of the single most important factors is Mobile Apps. These represent an entire section of digital content that has exploded onto mobile devices that is not available on laptops or desktop computers. Digital content represented by Mobile Apps, is what consumers mainly search for, download and interact with now. These include Instagram, Words With Friends, Draw Something, Angry Birds, Google Maps and many of the other millions of mobile apps. Remembering that consumers gravitate to maximum choice, it is perfectly logical now that mobile devices are now preferred over laptops and desktops.

At one point consumers were flocking to websites and interacting with them. Now they flock to and interact with, mobile apps. If a mobile app is like a website then eventually everyone will have one, like they have a website. Consider the following mobile statistics:

ABI: Cumulative Mobile App Revenues To Exceed $30B By End Of 2012, Nearly Double 2011 Figure; Now "Major Digital Industry"

The mobile apps industry rose 68% in global sales of $8.5 billion in 2011 to $14.3 billion in 2012. Facebook recorded 192 million Android users, 147 million iPhone users, and 48 million iPad users on their mobile apps. The mobile payment space is predicted to reach $1.3 trillion annually by 2017 with companies like Square leading the way.

The number of US mobile coupon users will rise from 12.3 million in 2010 to 53.2 million in 2014, driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones. (Source: eMarketer)

Retailers' apps take up the most of consumers' time at 27%, followed by online marketplace at 20%, purchase assistant at 17%, price comparison at 14%, and daily deals at 13%. (Source: AdMedia Partners)

Consumers spent six times as much time in retailers' apps in December compared to a year earlier. (Source: Flurry)

Time spent with mobile apps starting to challenge television: consumers are spending 127 minutes per day in mobile apps-up 35 percent from 94 minutes a day in the same time last year-and spend 168 minutes watching television per day. (Source: Flurry)

93% of people who use apps in stores have bought something at a physical location in the last week, compared to 84% of non-users of shopping apps who have made a retail purchase. (Source: Wave Collapse)

64% of affluent app users say they view brands with mobile apps more favorably (Source: Luxury Institute)

In terms of the types of information mobile users will be looking for via their devices this holiday season, 31 percent said they will look for updates on sales and promotions, 27 percent will look for local store hours and directions, 26 percent will seek out product information and availability, 26 percent will be interested in product photos, 18 percent will search for official retailer apps and 17 percent will use mobile for customer support. (InMobi HolidayMobileShopping Study)

The Tale of TwoMobileBaskets

Companies that are paying attention to the above trends and statistics are staying alive and thriving. They specialize in hardware platforms, search services, discovery services, construction, advertising, security, storefronts and incubators for mobile apps. Companies like these can fall into two baskets:

Mobile Basket 1: Low-risk, low-reward positions:

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) - Android mobile apps and Google Play Store

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) - iPhone and iPad mobile apps and The Apple App Store

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) - Windows Phone mobile apps and Windows Phone Store

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) - Kindle mobile apps and Amazon Store

Blackberry (NASDAQ: BBRY) - Blackberry mobile app store

Mobile Basket 2: High-risk, High-reward positions:

Millennial Media (NYSE: MM) -Mobile app advertising

Mimvi (OTC: MIMV) - Search for mobile apps & mobile app marketing

Keynote Systems (NASDAQ: KEYN) -Mobile cloud testing and monitoring services

Qihoo (NYSE: QIHU) - Security forMobile apps

Single Touch Systems (OTC: SITO) -Mobile media and marketing

MEDL Mobile Holdings (OTC: MEDL) -Mobile app maker

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) -Mobile content focused

Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) - Mobile apps, mobile search, mobile operating systems

Zagg (NASDAQ: ZAGG) - Mobile accessories

The mobile renessaince has arrived and with baskets of opportunity. Mobiles are here to stay, so make sure your holdings include some of these forerunners in mobile technology!

Fool blogger John Fisher owns shares in all of the companies mentioned in this entry.

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