Heavy Hitters Moving Into Mobile

Mobile phone usage is growing fast, especially smart phones, and some big names are moving into the field.

First, Google is buying AdMob for 750 million dollars.

AdMob is one of the top sellers of banner ads on iPhone applications and Web pages that can be retrieved from mobile phones. The acquisition could help establish Google as an early leader in the small but rapidly expanding mobile phone advertising business. [NY Times]

Advertising sales on mobile phones was a paltry 160 million dollars last year compared for $22 billion for online ads, and the “experts” projections for future ad spending differ radically, but everyone’s in agreement that it has no place to go but up and Google is positioning themselves to be in the lead.

They have already moved into the mobile phone market with mobile applications like search and maps as well as the Android software for smartphones.

Next, IBM just released news that it has developed new software for ecommerce web sites to connect with mobile users.

The new IBM Mobile Store solution improves the shopping experience from start to finish, enabling customers to more easily browse an online store, conduct side-by-side product comparisons, then view store locations, check inventory availability and complete the purchase.

Shoppers can even place orders online and pick up their merchandise at the closest store — which can be automatically mapped out for them on their mobile phone.

They’ve integrated it into their newest version of WebSphere Commerce 7 (starting at $30,000 – we need ZenCart to catch up, guys!). The idea is to integrate online shopping with cellphones as well as social networking.

Right now smart phones can act as a GPS, map, web browser, Twitterer, Facebooker, credit card (buy a candy bar at a vending machine by waving your phone at it), text messager, email interface and, oh yeah, a phone.

Last month I posted about small businesses needing to get in on the mobile search aspect of marketing (Small Business and Mobile Search). With mobile phones reaching 1 billion users worldwide by 2011 even small businesses need to keep running just to stay even with their competition.