The evolution of Mobile devices and their adoption growth continue at a torrid pace. With over 40 million devices sold, 50,000+ apps developed, and over 1 Billion app downloads, the iPhone has re-defined an industry and forever altered peoples’ expectations about what a mobile device can be…There is an iPhone app for just about everything…you can tweet, make restaurant reservations, catch up with friends on facebook, check the weather, buy movie tickets, you name it!

As compelling a package as the iPhone is, I’ve been one of those holdouts waiting for ‘something else’. Technology evolution is a funny thing, in the case of mobile devices small but important traits may lead to the dominance of one device over another. As a PALM Treo user for many years I just couldn’t swallow giving up my handy QWERTY keyboard. As cool as the iPhone is, this one feature led me to sit on the sidelines until either iPhone or a competitor introduced an evolutionary offering that included a keyboard. After wearing the phone fashion equivalent of dad jeans (the TREO) for two years too long, along came the PALM PRE.

Black, sleek, hidden slide-out keyboard, iPhone like interface (but better!) designed under the leadership of Jon Rubinstein (now Palm CEO), the former executive in charge of the iPod division at Apple, the PRE is a glorious meld of everything I loved about Treo and everything I wanted in an iPhone. After waiting in line at the Sprint store on the day of release I got a hold of one of the first limited-release PRE devices.

With the PRE in hand, my first destination was the ‘App Catalog’, with a few swipes of my finger I was in. To my relief all the critical stuff I use on the web was already there…GMAIL?… check…Facebook?… check… Twitter?… check… plus there were some other fun surprises like LinkedIn and the New York times daily reader application which presents the top stories in highly readable and easily scrollable text. So far so good. All these apps were written against Palm’s revolutionary, Linux-based WebOS…which I’ve heard is much more developer friendly than the iPhone.

Based on the newness of the WebOS, I wondered if Omniture was ready to support measuring app usage on the PRE device. On the Monday morning after scoring my PRE, I paraded it around to some members of our SiteCatalyst team, hoping they would sense my early-adopter coolness (and forget my dad-jeans Treo). I was pleased to find out that SiteCatalyst standard Java Script code is compatible to measure and report PRE’s WebOS apps. Anyone developing apps for the PRE can use SiteCatalyst to:

  • Measure the effectiveness and impact of your Mobile App investments
  • Understand how users are engaging with the app to improve content, layout, user experience and conversion
  • Get insights into how users are adopting and sharing the content with others

Given the growth in Smartphone application adoption, it’s no surprise Omniture stands on the cutting edge of new releases like the PRE. According to mobile industry research, worldwide shipments of Smartphone’s are expected to grow from 164.7M units to 363.3M units in 2012. At the same time, marketers are purchasing more mobile advertising to reach this growing audience. Mobile advertising spend is expected to sky-rocket from $1.7B in 2007 to $12.8B by 2011. Based on my experience with the ultra-usable PRE, it wouldn’t surprise me if I shifted a significant amount of my web and email activity to the device. With the new app measurement for the PRE, mobile app developers will be able to use SiteCatalyst to figure out how I and millions of other users are engaging with the mobile Internet, leading to a better and more relevant experience for all.