The number of mobile cloud computing subscribers worldwide will grow rapidly over the next five years, rising from 42.8 million subscribers in 2008, (approximately 1.1% of all mobile subscribers) to just over 998 million in 2014 (nearly 19%).

Mobile cloud applications move the computing power and data storage away from mobile phones and into the cloud, bringing apps and mobile computing to not just smartphone users but a much broader range of mobile subscribers.

ABI Research recently released a major study of mobile Cloud computing, which the company believes is the first published report to examine this disruptive technology model in depth.

According to senior analyst Mark Beccue: "From 2008 through 2010, subscriber numbers will be driven by location-enabled services, particularly navigation and map applications.

"A total of 60% of the mobile Cloud application subscribers worldwide will use an application enabled by location during these years."

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Some quite innovative applications are already commercially available. Lock manufacturer Schlage, or example, has launched LiNK - a keyless lock system for the home that enables subscribers to remotely control not only the door lock, but heating/cooling, security cameras and light monitors, all via PC or mobile device.

Business productivity applications will soon dominate the mix of mobile cloud applications, particularly collaborative document sharing, scheduling, and sales force management apps, says the ABI Research report.

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ABI Research expects some or all of the major PaaS platforms - Google, Amazon AWS, and - to market their mobile capabilities aggressively starting in 2010.

Beccue concludes by reiterating his finding that "By 2014, mobile cloud computing will become the leading mobile application development and deployment strategy, displacing today's native and downloadable mobile applications."

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