Mashable published a great infographic piece this week detailing the ground being gained by mobile devices in the digital marketplace. They postulate that by 2014 there will be more mobile device users worldwide than those using desktops. Here are a few recent examples of how the paradigm is shifting toward mobile devices integrating themselves more and more into our everyday lives.

First off, for most of us, our mobile phones have become our go-to point and shoot camera. It was only a few years ago when digital images captured by phones were little more than grainy, 1.3 megapixel novelties. However, today, most new phones ship with 5, 8 and soon to be 10+ megapixel cameras as standard equipment. These resolutions are more than adequate for capturing most of life’s moments with decent enough image quality for posting to Facebook, Flickr and Twitpic. Add cool filtering applications like Instagram and Retro Camera into the mix and you can leave your vintage Polaroid or Holga camera at home on your next trip to the local dive bar and none of your hipster friends on Tumblr will know the difference.

Second, the media we consume is becoming more and more integrated with smart phones and mobile devices. Don’t feel too bad for all those Canon Powershot and Kodak Coolpix cameras gathering dust in junk drawers across the country – it won’t be long before everyone’s iPods and Sansa mp3 players join them as well. As mobile device battery life gets incrementally better and flash memory storage capacity increases in size and decreases in price every few months, people are quickly replacing their portable music devices with their smart phones.

So, mobile phones (and soon to be tablets) are replacing many of the daily electronic items that we refused to live without back in 2005. But it doesn’t stop there. Mobile devices are also making tremendous gains toward replacing our wallets and pocketbooks as well.
This week American Express announced its foray into the world of digital payments with a service called “Serve.” The service launched with apps that run on both the Android and Mac iOS platforms. It’s been reported that AMEX developers are working on architecture for swipe-and-pay payments in the near future as well. And they’re not the only ones.

Internet juggernaut Google announced this week that they are partnering Mastercard and Citibank to create a “wave-and-pay” system for mobile devices using near-field communications (NPC) technology. Once deployed mobile device owners will be able to simply wave their mobile devices in front of point-of-sale NPC scanners to make in-store purchases at retail locations such as clothing stores, restaurants and coffee shops.

Speaking of coffee shops, Starbucks announced this week that consumers have made over 3 million purchases using their Starbucks Mobile applications for iPhone and Blackberry since its launch in January. Today it’s cappuccinos. Tomorrow you’ll be able to purchase a TV or maybe even a car with just a swipe of your cellphone.

What’s all this mean for the future of social media, application development and digital marketing?

Well, for one it means that companies will have to be open-minded and flexible when it comes to delivering content and digital services to consumers. The mobile platform, once thought to be just a nice add-on to catch early adopters, is now becoming the industry standard when it comes to media delivery and consumption.

It also means that will be a lot more opportunities for brands to leverage emerging technologies to get their messaging and products to consumers. As mobile devices continue to gain market share and dominate our daily activities, savvy brand managers and marketing strategists will be able to make their products part of this lifestyle integration as well.

This week Amazon launched its Android Appstore opening the app market to its millions of customers and adding some welcome innovations to the app purchase experience.

First off, the Amazon Appstore, http://amazon.com/appstore looks great. Mainly because its layout is based on Amazon’s familiar ecommerce site. The front page displays the current “Free App Of The Day” with a host of featured apps below it. Featured app categories include: games, entertainment, utilities, social networking, productivity and music.

Once selected, individual app product pages load much like standard physical product pages on Amazon’s main site. There are product photos, descriptions, user comments and a five-star rating system. There’s a “Buy Now” box on the right side of the page that lets you know whether the app is compatible with your phone after you’ve made your first purchase or download.

Besides the easy-to-use interface, the app store also boasts special deals available only on the Amazon Appstore site. Rovio’s popular “Angry Birds Rio” is currently available for free download only through Amazon. It retails for $.99 on other marketplaces. In addition, as mentioned above, the site will showcase one paid app a day offered for free download. The Appstore Android app gives users the option to sign up for automatic daily downloads of these featured apps. The free app on the day this article was written was “The Newsweek Mobile” app which normally retails for $1.99. Although it only had a one-star average user rating.

Probably the most exciting feature Amazon Appstore offers is a virtual “Test Drive” for apps. It uses a Flash emulator to simulate apps in shoppers’ web browser so they can try them out and see how they function before making a purchase. There is a 30-minute time limit on test drive apps and not all apps featured on the store currently work with the service. However, the site just launched last week, so it’s only a matter of time before they get the kinks worked out.

The Amazon Appstore is a very exciting innovation and it will be interesting to see what techniques and strategies Amazon implements in coming months to gain market share in the competitive world of retail app sales.