I don't know that I completely agree with this article over at Business Week (technically, last year was our first Christmas with the App Store), but I think the concept is fascinating. Lauren Sherman and her interviewee Retails Systems Research managing partner Paula Rosenblum reason that this coming Christmas season -- surprise, we're only five days away from Black Friday 2009 -- will be the first where mobile shopping apps (and the smartphones that can run them) will be generally ubiquitous.
Not only will people have access to apps on their iPhone that help them find deals, stores, and prices, but they'll all have 'net-connected phones as well, which many of them actually got last Christmas. You'll see people sending texts to each other, playing games while in line, and even scanning coupons in at the register -- all with their phones.
As I said, this was all possible last Christmas, but since then, we've seen non-iPhones like the Pre and the Droid drop, and the iPhone itself has claimed a lot more customers than Black Friday 2008. These people won't be out buying smartphones, obviously, but they will be using them, and it'll be interesting to see how much this changes the experience. When I was a kid, you planned out your route ahead of time and hit what few stores you could, but between Twitter, apps, and all the other information available on a phone, shopping during the holiday season might be very different this year.
Although you can be sure there will still be lines, parking frustrations, and lots and lots of people buying junk just because it's cheap. Then again, maybe it's better to use that slightly older piece of technology, the desktop browser, and just do the shopping from home.