Almost one year out from the 2012 presidential comes a timely question: How to measure mobile technology’s growth in the coming cycle? What will progress look like?  What are the benchmarks?

It’s not an easy question to answer, let alone make a forecast. Three years ago was eons for mobile devices and the mobile platform. The last presidential is scarcely adequate. Heck, developments since the last US congressional elections, 11 months ago, have moved at a rate far outpacing the election schedule or even the early adapters in politics. Tablet computing? I-Pad 2? Kindle Fire?  Now what about SMS in Egypt and Libya? We even have it on some authority that there are market leaders this cycle in the tech space preparing to lead with Ipod Touch as the device du jour instead of the I-phone, because the Ipod Touches are already in the inventory.

But to measure progress one has to start somewhere.  Some nominees for best benchmarks against which we can measure progress include, from a domestic U.S.  perspective, and from the broader world that NDI, IRI and IFES inhabits.  Fave factoids: 35% of American adults have Smartphones; 28% use mobile and social location services. And 47% use mobile to get some of their news.   Overseas, is SMS still king? Probably, but NDI is heavy in Egypt. So that could change.

Wither mobile for campaigns and elections? Higher adoption rates than the market at large? Or will this market lag? To  be continued…