back to article Apple, Google, RIM in smartphone dead heat

Although Android-based smartphones now have a larger US market share that do handsets from Apple or RIM, the three-way battle remains a tight one. "When it comes to consumer marketshare by operating system, Android (29%) appears to be pulling ahead of RIM Blackberry (27%) and Apple iOS (27%)," a Nielsen survey released on …

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WTF?

"RIM and Apple to be the winners compared to other device makers" if you don't want choice

Android is employed in a equal number of handsets as Apple and RIM but the advantage is that the plethora of handset styles and features makes it a better fit for all lifestyles. If you want Motoblur you can have it, if you want HTC Desire features they are sitting there ready for you.

Apple comes in one operating flavour limited, of course, by the foibles of the Walled Garden. Despite what Jobs says, his OS is still number three, according to Nielsen, in North America. When iPhone 5 arrives there will be an opportunity, if it works properly, to redress the lost sales attributed to Lemon 4.

RIM offers a better choice than Apple as it has several models from which to choose.

That Apple pleases the most retirees is understandable as they, like iPhans, just want something that works without being too adventuresome with Jobs looking after the Garden. Having tens of thousands of apps is meaningless unless they can offer a lasting benefit to the user and Jobs' mantra of that we have the apps is simply PR fluff since many are crappy but keep his number rising. How many apps can you load at one time? How many apps do you NEED on a smartphone?

As many opinion forecasters have opined, by 2015 Android will be the leading OS. By then the app market will have matured, junky apps will fade, and then we will be left with the ones that really enhance the smartphone experience.

As for having 'one OS fit all' is yet another example of Jack of all trades and master of none means that something has to be compromised. Tinkering with a common OS to solve a problem in a smartphone application might result in degradation of tablet features so the RIM and Google solution of using OS tailored towards their penultimate use makes more sense than a more generic OS.

For me, personally, I am still looking for the ideal smartphone for my needs and it may well indeed turn out to be a 7" screen unit with telephony features which will serve my total requirements in a single package and, hopefully, with a little ruggedness built into the case.

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Anonymous Coward

Fandroid or Wintard?

The iPhone 4 has significantly outsold the previous three versions, despite the trite 'Lemon 4' moniker that you continue to peddle. I bet that HTC, Motorola, Samsung and the others would kill to have a lemon that profitable!

'The Garden' has the benefit of not having the malware issues that have recently come to light in Google *official* app store. Like it or not, they have a responsibility and duty of care to ensure the apps that *they* host for distribution to mobile devices are free from malware. You can bet your bottom dollar that Microsoft, Apple and RIM are doing this. I'd also point out that you have hit on why the iPhone is a success. It's predictable. It largely does what it says it will and does it well. The dropped calls thing? Not as much as a problem as the caterwauling suggested, and had a remarkably simple fix.

"Having tens of thousands of apps is meaningless unless they can offer a lasting benefit to the user and Jobs' mantra of that we have the apps is simply PR fluff since many are crappy but keep his number rising. How many apps can you load at one time? How many apps do you NEED on a smartphone?" How many strawmen can you get in a paragraph?! Too many apps? I thought choice was a good thing? The 'usefulness' of apps? Surely that's up to the user? How many apps does one need? Simple, as many as one needs! Again choice is a good thing according to you, right?

"As many opinion forecasters have opined, by 2015 Android will be the leading OS." Must be true. What if someone else; not Apple, not Google; comes up with a new device that changes it all in the next 4 years? It's entirely possible. This tells us an awful lot though. You are a fanboy. Just not of the fruit...

Your notion that Googles Market Place will reign supreme is based on what exactly! The Market place is a mere third of a year younger than the App store and it is considerably further behind in terms of volume *and* quality. That's not so say that there aren't some extremely good apps available for Android, it's just that the majority of them were released on the iPhone first. Also isn't a dominant market place the antithesis of the open Android? Isn't the ability to install from wherever you like one of the selling points? If so, then why the need for an app store?

"As for having 'one OS fit all' is yet another example of Jack of all trades and master of none means that something has to be compromised." Isn't that *precisely* what Google have done with Honeycomb or isn't Honeycomb and Android OS?

"Tinkering with a common OS to solve a problem in a smartphone application might result in degradation of tablet features so the RIM and Google solution of using OS tailored towards their penultimate use makes more sense than a more generic OS" We'll see. I'll say this though. Since they cannot get the retail price of their Pad solutions lower than Apple, they are on a hiding to nothing. Androids slender lead is down, in no small part, to the fact that devices are given away as part of BOGOFFs or free with a cheap contract. This is indisputable. It's a very clever marketing ploy, but the fact that app sales on the platform are *relatively* stagnant tell us an awful lot about those buying the devices.

Lastly your need are your need. You know what best fits them. This doesn't mean that everybody shares your needs or your views. In all your ill-considered missive read like a fanboy defending his particular object of lust. That's fine, but don't call other people 'iPhans' or whatever when you are blatantly *more* myopic...

FTR I think that you are both.

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Bronze badge

The operative phrase being...

"... to other >>>device makers<<<"

What the article was pointing out (and what you completely ignored in order to feed your apparent "Apple Sux" fetish) was that the DEVICE manufacturers who have their own OS get, essentially, all of the money earned by their respective 27%s of the market, while device manufacturers who use variants of a shared OS each get some significantly smaller fraction of the 29% of the market that uses Android.

In other words, even if all phones were equally priced, RiM and Apple would each still rake in (to over-simplify) 27% of the money earned selling phones, while even the most successful Android phone manufacturer would be making less than half of that.

And if you define "winner" as "bringing in the most money" -- which, you know, is pretty much how capitalism defines the word -- then, yeah, they win and each individual Android HANDSET maker doesn't.

...Which sort of makes your whole screed rather irrelevant to the point that the article was making.

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Unhappy

You'll wait a long time for an answer!

As JaitcH has said that no one who can stand behind an opinion isn't worth answering.

Cowards are what the dictionary says - too weak to put their name to their claim.

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Joke

Oh, positive news!

Well, it's nice to see that the mobile phone market is not headed into political, environmental, or cultural armageddon.

On a more sincere note: I'm happy to see that RIM is still holding a sizable share, in themarket. No matter how Windows-centric their Java development environment happens to be, it's still a decent OS - overall - that RIM has put together, such that I can possibly ascertain, by an rational faculties of my own, in fact.

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"Rightful share of the pie."

What right do either Nokia or Microsoft have to anything in the Smartphone arena? You adapt or you die. They did not adapt quickly enough and thus they have a right only to death.

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FAIL

Demographics was really interesting....

....until I saw n=14K and an even distribution - so that's just over a couple of thousand users surveyed for each age-group. Any telco could produce better data in 20 minutes.

As to the rest of it, why not just look at sales figures?

Very poor quality research given we're talking about millions of users and devices - and how much value is data from last two months of 2010 in a market moving so quickly - where millions of new handsets shift within a couple of days of launch.

Neilsen need to evolve.

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Do tell

How do you know their research is poor quality?

On the face of it, I'd prefer to believe the figures coming from a company with 80+ years in the field an no particular reason to bias the results than a telco with a particular set of handsets it wants to push.

Don't forget that Nielsen will be using invited participants who are picked to be representative of various groups such as age, gender, social standing, income, political sympathies, etc. and they will almost certainly be checking correlations with actual sales somewhere along the line - they'll look pretty dim if they say "90% of people bought an iPhone in the last 6 months" if all the telcos data says that 90% of the handsets they sold were Blackberrys.

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Anonymous Coward

"I know which one I put more faith in."

Is that because it provides the answer that you want to see? uSwitch, by the by, are a price comparison website, not "an impartial consumer review organisation." as you naively assert. World of difference, highlighted by the very document that you link to; "tracked by live sales and searches on uSwitch.com". So it's less representative that Nielsens's data! Next time, rather than just looking at the numbers, check the sources and facts. "... then they'd dig out just the right set of statistics to give that impression." Just like you have.

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HTC & webOS

According to that first graphic, HTC have some of the webOS market share. Since when did HTC make a WebOS phone?

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XDA Developers..

...are doing their thing and attempting to get WebOS running on HTC Hero handsets. I guess if they've had some success and have a test versions running, that may account for it. Just a guess though. Otherwise, I'm confused too!

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*US* Market Share

Who cares?

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Some interesting stats

Market share is essentially meaningless. Confusing the platform and the manufacturer isnt helpful and is just part of fanboi's and the IT press' delusions. The real battle is Apple, Rim and HTC vs the rest in US at least.

This does show that you are better off with you own OS and what a challenge microkia will have. I bet the margins enjoyed by Apple and Rim are well in excess of those from Android or Win.

In other words they can afford for thier Market share to decline in the face of android as there are 2-3 big android licensee's and dozens of smaller ones. Apple and RIM to a certain extent can sit back and laugh as vicious competition between Android licensees and desperation of them to differentiate "me to" products reduces their margins.

You can see why Elop made the decisions he did. Probably overly smartphone focussed and overly US focussed. If you come to nokia knowing android is a zero sum game then Win could look like the answer although those arguably should have also driven his focus internally to their own OSes but it's obvious that Elop had no faith in Nokia's ability to do this.

Interesting reading - although estimated margins in each OS space would be far more interesting.

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Symbian?

What about Smartphone users? I bet Symbian will come up with a much higher figure if you consider the phones that are actually being USED. Yes, it's a declining OS but what about all those stuck with one until their contract runs out? They seem to be ignored in all the magazines and web articles as if it doesn't exist. It's still a capable OS, it's just the UI which is F-Ugly

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Stop

Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results

Bit misleading for Nielsen to pit Apple and Rim against HTC and Samsung and declare the former winners. Android sales in the US, for no obvious reason that I'm aware of, absolutely exploded 6 months ago and show no sign of slowing up. It's only a matter of time before one or more of the bigger Android houses surpass the own brand suppliers.

The numbers from NPD make it seem likely that this occured last quarter, if not it's a near certainty to happen in Q1. I wonder if Nielsen knows this from their own figures and they produced this graph just so they could follow it up next week with a Q4 sales one with Apple and RIM losing the sales edge to Samsung as the headline. They do seem to like generating publicity around all these little milestones.

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