Ultimately, mobile communities can be connected with location-based services, the experts agreed. In other words, you'll not only be able to access a person's MySpace entry, but you'll also be able to find out where they are -- if they want to be found.
6. Convergence: One phone, many places
Convergence refers to an old but still largely unrealized dream of using a single phone -- and having a single phone number -- for both mobile and home-based calling. Sure, some people have switched to a mobile-only scenario, but true convergence means you can use the same phone for both landline calls and mobile calls. The phone will automatically detect the most advantageous network in terms of cost or signal strength and route voice calls and data over that network.
"If you have the right device," Smith said, "you won't have to figure out where to use a particular technology." Converged devices would include both cellular and voice over IP using Wi-Fi networks. Built-in software would seamlessly transfer between the two types of networks.
Some European operators have started offering such service, but in the U.S. it has been limited to a test launched recently by T-Mobile. That test is currently being conducted primarily in the Seattle area, but the company has said it expects to offer the service broadly in the next year.
"We'll see an acceleration of convergence in 2007, but it'll still be a bit rough around the edges," Smith said. "Initially, it'll be for the early-adopter audience, but people will clamor for it when they see what it can do."
7. Media, media, media
More and cheaper mobile access and better and cheaper devices will lead to more use of mobile media.
"Development of media applications is accelerating," Smith said. "Look at the success of Sony Ericsson's Walkman phones. Apple already is facing competition for its iPod, and it may release iPhone. Microsoft will be developing the market for Zune. All those things will accelerate mobile media in a more consolidated fashion than has been the case before."
In particular, Smith said he expects an upsurge in so-called place-shifted television, which uses products from vendors like Sling Media to transmit television from home to mobile devices. This has already started but will accelerate in 2007, Smith said.
Ultimately, though, this will lead to somewhat larger mobile devices that are more appropriate for watching video, he added.
"We'll see an evolutionary split where one branch will get smaller -- kind of like phones as jewelry," Smith said. "But for media and other applications, like mapping, you need a larger screen."
One type of media that won't succeed is mobile television, despite the fact that cellular operators have been touting it vigorously.
"There's a lot of noise out there, but things aren't very far along in terms of broadcast to mobile devices," Smith said.
Gartner's Dulaney was even more dubious.
"We'll see a lot more experiments with mobile television," Dulaney predicts. "Personally, I think it's a joke. I've watched TV on a phone. It's OK, but you can't see much, and if you have to pay, well ..."