It seems the economy is starting to pull itself back together as consumer buying plans are at record levels this holiday season. The three major smartphones being discussed this season are Apple’s iPhone 3GS, the Palm Pre and RIM’s latest (Storm2 and the 9700).
ChangeWave recently conducted a survey with a relatively small sample size, only 4,255 respondents, and from that they have extrapolated some data about the smartphone industry and buying patterns. Since the survey sample is so small, and we can’t be sure of how representative the sample is of the total North American market, we should obviously take these results with a grain of salt.
RIM’s current market share stands at 40%, which is slightly down from the previous survey. Apple has seen a tremendous gain in market share, but still lags behind RIM at 30%. The Palm Pre is relatively insignificant at 7%.
ChangeWave’s predictions for the next 90 days are based on what their respondents planned to purchase in the coming months. Thirty six percent of respondents said they will purchase an iPhone, and 27% said a BlackBerry. Again, Palm is fairly insignificant at only 8% saying they will purchase the Pre in the coming months.
The ChangeWave survey is probably off in terms of exact numbers, but it seems to touch on a fact: BlackBerry is losing market share to the iPhone, and churning out devices that aren’t bringing anything new to the industry. With all the smartphones that RIM manufacturers, it is doing a great job of saturating the market with enough devices to cover the wide spectrum of users, but they seem to have given up on creating something entirely new.
What is needed from RIM is a move forward, rather than sideways with their devices. I have heard Mike Lazaridis talk about how marketing kills innovation, and that is exactly what seems to be happening at his own company. The Bold 9700 isn’t innovation, it’s just marketing. You’re taking the same device and repackaging it. The same applies to the Tour 9630 and the Curve 8900. The only device that seems to have any innovation this year is the Storm 2, which has gone a long way to improving the way we type on a touchscreen device.
From a software perspective, RIM did a nice job with OS 5 and the recent implementation of widgets, but that may not be enough. The market is moving fast and with RIM eating an increasingly larger share of the consumer market, they’re going to have to start launching more software features that appeal to this demographic.