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November 19, 2009

What are the best (corporate) mobile applications?

by Josh Bernoff

Mobile is a big part of our new book "Harnessing the Groundswell". To that end, I'm looking for your suggestions for the best mobile applications.

It's my contention that consumers are surrounded by more information, with more immediate access to it, than ever before. Mobile Internet access (but also mobile email and SMS text messages) are a big part of that. Mobile applications can get access to location, a camera, your identity, your phone number, and SMS messages, not to mention the plain old wonderful real-time Net. This changes things. As a marketer or other corporate staffer, your best action is to provide mobile customers as much information as possible, as instantly as possible.

So in the comments here, or by email, I'd like to hear your suggestions for mobile apps to go in the book. The best examples for this purpose:

  • Empower consumers with instant access to information.
  • Are of long-term value, not just for a short-term campaign.
  • Can be iPhone apps, but I'm also very interested in Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile, and SMS apps.
  • I have a bias toward corporate, government, or non-profit apps, vs. startups.

Think of this as a contest. If your favorite application "wins," it gets profiled in the book. Looking forward to hearing your ideas.


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David Patton

Any of the navigation apps offered by the major carriers, most of which are provided by TeleNav.

Kim Mears

I read recently read about the new Yelp app for iPhone 3G with augmented-reality. I think apps like this will revolutionize how people make buying decisions on the go – purely by review of their peers. You take a photo of the street you are standing on and it adds reviews of all of the businesses in windows on the screen through a Monocle.

Here is the Wired review: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/08/yelp-ar/

I also believe that we will soon be able to “typecast” reviewers so that we can find someone that has the same preferences as us on a regular basis and base our decisions on their reviews.

Pretty crazy stuff!

Bob Bows

I believe it will be the next wave of apps that will have the biggest impact on our behaviors. Sometime next year, we expect to see more fully integrated functionality--for Flash-like interactions and brower multimedia--available on mobile devices. Then, expect to see a variety of apps that will change the way we learn.

Gabriele Cucinella

In my opinion the "killer application" will be Google Maps Navigation. I think it's really going to change the market.Even if we probably can't consider it "corporate". At the moment it has been announced just for Android, but who knows about the future.

Dan Parker

Do mobile websites qualify?

If so I suggest autotrader.mobi.

This is the mobile site for Autotrader.co.uk.

This site is now generating over 1 million searches for used cars in the UK per month. But, and here’s the really interesting bit, 40% of those are being made from the show room of a car dealership. We are empower consumers with instant access to information as to the market place at the point of purchase.

We have two enhancements to this coming out this quarter. People will be able to enter the detail of the car they are looking at and get a.) access to a full history of that vehicle and b.) a price guide as to the value of that vehicle in the current market.

We are the mobile agency that drive this strategy and deployed the site, so obviously I a shamelessly plugging. But we are significantly empowering customers in a way never done before, on a large scale and in an industry that is worth £35bn per year in the UK alone.


Yahoo Mobile apps. Access to the world in one view. http://mobile.yahoo.com/

dan brian

Hi Josh,

Big fan. Tx for the gr8 advice and strategies.

I'm the comms project mgr for a joint venture between ewn.com.au; pocketlife.com; pocketweather(itunes app); and prlink.com.au to develop a location based API to interface with majority of soc media apps. We've built a real time location tracking app that is being used by wildfire responders this summer in Aus and we've got a business grade paid app launching in Feb 10 to track staff, clients, suppliers, etc. via your choice of GPS, 3G web data - push or pull, 2G CellID, or dedicated device.

Let me know if you'd like a short brief to consider for your research.


Dan Brian
+61 411792515

Amanda O'Brien

I would definitely keep your eye on mobile 'gaming' style apps like Four Square. By adding a game like interface users have fun updating their status and businesses will know exactly where they are. Once someone 'checks in' at a location they can easily see on their phone what other businesses, sales, events are happening right near them. Right now it is available in major cities (and unfortunately for me Portland, Maine does not count as a major city). I am curious to see how this technology morphs over the next year and the implications it has for businesses.

Dave Raffaele

I have been asking the same question the past few days on twitter though I am interested in Mobile Marketing that includes SMS. App's are great but expensive and time consuming to create. SMS is available to everyone, relatively inexpensive, and a core communication channel used by everyone with a cell phone. My question around SMS marketing or engagement is what brands are doing it well. My 2 cents in regard to the best corporate app is Nationwide Insurance. Offers instant extended value to their customers while increasing the efficiency of processing claims. win-win.

Dana Elliott MD

Hi, we are a non-profit that has tied up with mobile app developers to record and display locations of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to help improve survival rates from cardiac arrests in major cities around the world.

Dana Elliott MD
First Aid Corps

Account Deleted


I'm a student and a mobile enthusiast. I wanted to know what will be the next set of applications will be... I mean what kind of?

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