“Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.” —David Sarnoff
I really don’t like to call it a war, I prefer a competition. So, who are the competitors? You’ve got Apple (iPhone), Google (Android), RIM (BlackBerry) and now… Windows Phone… they all have something to offer.
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anyone… Smartphones represent half of US mobile devices. And, by the end of 2011, The Nielsen Company predicts that they will overtake feature phones in the US. Why you ask? Three things: the ever so important need for people to be connected anytime, anywhere; competitive pricing for mobile devices and lower data packages.
After doing some research, with Smartphone manufacturers in a tight battle to dominate in the marketplace, landing on the best mobile operating system seems to be one of the key factors to winning. According to data released by Millennial Media Mobile Mix, Apple led all mobile device and phone manufacturers in US market share during August 2010, Samsung came in second and Motorola in third. But, according to data released by The Nielsen Company in August, the Android mobile operating system is so far the top choice among consumers who “purchased” a Smartphone in the past six months (Jan.-August 2010), jumping from 14% to 32%… while BlackBerry RIM and Apple iOS are in a tight race for second place. But on the flip side, Nielsen determined that among all Smartphone owners, BlackBerry still holds the dominant share with 31% of the market. I think this is due to the devotion of the user – can you say “CrackBerry”?
Android’s rise to the top is due mainly to the operating system being available on dozens of Smartphones, and they are available from practically every wireless provider – having more choices is very attractive to the general consumer. How can they keep up the momentum – keep pushing the operating system further. RIM BlackBerry has long since established itself as the major corporate Smartphone platform, but even “CrackBerry” addicts eventually want something new that compares to the iPhone and Android. So, with the release of the BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry 6 operating system, they are back in the race. As far as the iPhone is concerned, you can’t deny that they would see a jump in market share if it ever stopped being exclusive to AT&T. But, that probably won’t happen until 2011. One advantage Apple has is a dedicated group of followers. Just the sheer mention that Apple is coming out with a new device has people standing in line to get it. And now we have Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7. With it just being released, it remains to be seen how it will stack up against Android, Apple and RIM. It does however have some difficulties to overcome. The operating system lacks the copy/paste and multitasking function, Adobe Flash support and, they can’t act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Another challenge is applications – developers have yet to create them – Apple has over 270,000 apps, and Android has over 100,000. Needless to say, Microsoft has to catch up.
To sum it up, the battle is ongoing. So for right now, you decide. Because in the end, it’s what you, the consumer, prefers and what you are comfortable with.