Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
Commentary
8/9/2010
10:09 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Move Over, iPhone: Android Biggest Threat To Blackberry

In Q2, RIM's Blackberry smartphone shipments jumped 41%, allowing it to maintain a U.S. market-share lead over the iPhone of almost 50%. Against a market phenomenon as powerful as Apple and the iPhone 4, that's impressive. The problem for RIM is, Q2 Android smartphone shipments surged by 886%, Canalys says.

In Q2, RIM's Blackberry smartphone shipments jumped 41%, allowing it to maintain a U.S. market-share lead over the iPhone of almost 50%. Against a market phenomenon as powerful as Apple and the iPhone 4, that's impressive. The problem for RIM is, Q2 Android smartphone shipments surged by 886%, Canalys says.Yes, part of the reason for Android's dizzying growth rate is that it started from such a tiny base. But a deeper look at some of the numbers offered by Canalys shows that Android's gains have been both significant and widespread, and that the overall smartphone market is expanding in every possible direction.

For CIOs, this news might serve as either (a) confirmation of your strategy to intensify your company's mobile infrastructure and capabilities, or (b) a wake-up call reminding you to stop tinkering with mobile plans and start executing on significant business-driven projects.

From the Canalys press release:

But analysis of Canalys' detailed, globally consistent data shows it is the collective growth of Android device shipments across a range of handset vendors' portfolios that is most remarkable. With key products from HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG, among others, shipments of smart phones running the Google-backed Android operating system grew an impressive 886% in Q2 2010.

Canalys's Q2 market data "clearly reveal the impressive momentum Android is gaining in markets around the world," VP and principal analyst Chris Jones says in the release. "In the United States, for example, we have seen the largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, heavily promoting high-profile Android devices, such as the Droid by Motorola and the Droid Incredible by HTC. These products have been well received by the market, with consumers eager to download and engage with mobile applications and services, such as Internet browsing, social networking, games and navigation."

The United States remains the world's largest market for smartphones, with 14.7 million units purchased in Q2 for a 23% global share, Canalys says. In an intriguing country-by-country comparison, the second-quarter smartphone market-share figures for the United States and for China show that the U.S. purchased more than twice as many units as China, and that each country's top three suppliers did not appear on the other country's top-three list:

United States: Units: 14.7M. Top 3 suppliers: RIM 32.1%; Apple 21.7%; HTC 14.4%; others 31.8%.

China: Units: 6.9M. Top 3 suppliers: Nokia 76.9%; Motorola 4.7%; Samsung 4.1%; others 14.3%.

Despite Nokia's overwhelming market share in China, Canalys senior analyst TY Lau said in the press release that the growth play there is clearly Android, particularly since Google has smoothed out its relationship with the Chinese government, which rigorously controls the country's industrial policy and partnerships: "Given Google's substantial involvement in the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), that its relationship with the Chinese authorities appears to have improved recently, and that its operating licence has been renewed, will help reduce concerns that tensions could have an impact on the potential for the OHA-based Android and OMS platforms in the country, particularly among vendors that have committed resources to producing Android devices for the Chinese market," Lau said.

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