In my point of view, mobile world has 3 big problematic, first is Os and Platform and the wide variety of mobile generation, second is connection cost, third is user expectation.
It’s how I see the mobile world from Switzerland, I don’t know how is it in the rest of the world but to begin :
1- You thought that web development was head breaker? Well compared to mobile web (moweb ?) it’s paradise. The standard fight in moworld is huge, there is so few directing line that for developer it’s hell. Flash Lite is still a really nice advance for cross-compatibility but here appear the problem of wide variety of mobile generation owned by the public. The Flash Lite penetration statistic is too low compared to c++ / J2ME. If we talk about Flash Lite 2.0 it’s even worst (okay it’s going better everyday) but in this very moment the market is nearly inexistent for public. The only way I see for now is to work directly with the mobile operator to embedded Flash Lite Player in their offer. From the Adobe part should work strong on an auto-update for there Flash Lite Player and obviously let it free.
2- In my point of view the future of mobile application would be like RIA in an interconnected server and mobile interface, solving so the trouble of processing and memory space. For example media (sound, video, pictures, contacts, …) shouldn’t be saved on mobile but on a streaming server, delivering the wanted stream to the user mobile. By now the price are much too high to make this interesting for user. I’ve been testing streaming this month and my mobile invoice increase from 300% ! I don’t understand mobile operator strategy to keep so high price on data transfer in GPRS/UMTS. Maybe Wi-Fi phone could help for this issue.
3- The user expectation of a mobile phone is often to be able of making phone and to make some messaging and for some games. As Paul Golding suggest in his book (Next Generation Wireless Applications) mobile phone should be called communicator. I know some people don’t even known about Visiophony nor Localisation. Now that it’s possible to watch movie, to read Ebook, to surf, to make visio call, to know our localisation and have mapping, It’s really the time to advertise and promote it!
All these point slow the development of rich mobile application, wondering how long it will take.