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3/29/2012
10:39 AM
Eric Zeman
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BlackBerry Just 5% Of Recent Smartphone Purchases

In the last three months, only 5% of U.S. smartphone buyers chose a RIM BlackBerry, says Nielsen.

Nielsen compiled data about smartphone buying habits in the three-month period ending in February, and the news isn't good for Research In Motion or Microsoft. Though 49.7% of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones, barely any of them are new BlackBerrys or new Windows Phones.

Nielsen looked at two different sets of data: all smartphones owners, and those who've purchased smartphones in the last three months.

Starting with recent acquirers, Android remains the king of smartphone platforms. Of those who bought smartphones within the last three months, 48% surveyed in February said they picked an Android device over rivals. (Nielsen didn't break things down by handset, only by platform.)

Surprisingly, Apple was not far behind Android during the same period, with 43% of recent acquirers saying they purchased an iPhone. That's up markedly from the previous three-month period. Apple's close proximity to Android in new purchases is surely due to the October launch of the iPhone 4S.

[ Take a look at the Coolest Smartphones At Mobile World Congress. ]

While the news is good for Apple and Google, RIM and Microsoft need to be worried.

In the last three months, only 5% of new smartphone purchasers admitted to buying a BlackBerry. RIM released a range of new BlackBerrys last August, which run BlackBerry 7. Though these devices are fine smartphones, they aren't competitive when placed next to the Android devices and iPhones in wireless network retail stores. The proof is in the sales figures and decline of market share. To top it off, BlackBerry owners aren't all that satisfied with their handsets.

What of Microsoft? Its Windows Phone platform falls into the "Other" category of smartphone owners, which totals just 4% of recent acquirers. That 4% figure also includes webOS devices and the legacy Windows Mobile platform. This is despite the warm reception the Lumia 710 has received at T-Mobile, which claims the device is a solid seller.

The overall market is slightly different. Nielsen's data says 48% of all smartphone owners use an Android device, with 32.1% using iPhones, 11.6% using BlackBerrys, and 8% using "other."

RIM has no chance of turning itself around for the next two consecutive quarters. Its BlackBerry 10 platform isn't going to launch until close to the end of 2012, and RIM's share will only continue to drop until then.

Microsoft has a better chance. AT&T, for example, is putting a huge marketing campaign behind the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900, which goes on sale April 8. The Lumia 900 is a flagship Windows Phone device that boasts a 4.3-inch screen, 8-megapixel camera, and LTE 4G. AT&T has set a very aggressive $99 price point for the Lumia 900. If the 900 takes off, it is possible Microsoft can turn its market share around.

Meanwhile, Apple and Google will continue to dominate the market for the foreseeable future.

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Tom P
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Tom P,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/29/2012 | 5:20:35 PM
re: BlackBerry Just 5% Of Recent Smartphone Purchases
I'm curious: where is Enterprise in all this? Their users all want iPhones and Androids. Are the enterprise tele departments moving away as well or are they holding onto what they're used to, handing out crackberries?
herman_munster
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herman_munster,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/29/2012 | 6:29:39 PM
re: BlackBerry Just 5% Of Recent Smartphone Purchases
I'm going to have to be honest here... once RIM finally goes out of business, I have no idea what I'm going to do with all my time. I spend a lot of time reading stories about RIM struggling - mostly because I find their situation to be fascinating. I'll have to start reading about something else, I suppose....
edintampa
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edintampa,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/29/2012 | 7:20:39 PM
re: BlackBerry Just 5% Of Recent Smartphone Purchases
The company I work for us getting rid of BB servers. They are supporting iPhones and certain Android phones. I think it's probably to late for BB. But one thing they can do is support ActiveSync. I liked the BB I had but the fact that I couldn't get work email forced me to another device.
blackberryempirekris
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blackberryempirekris,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2012 | 4:42:05 AM
re: BlackBerry Just 5% Of Recent Smartphone Purchases
Ok. I agree that more people are upgrading to the competition over RIM. That said, let's see how long it lasts. With android being so fragmentary and ios being so closed, BB has a big chance to gain traction with bb10. I'm hearing a lot of people complain about theier new android. lets see how long it lasts. As for enterprise, RIM is working n retooling their BES to mobile fusion which will focus on mdm, mobile device management. it will support active sync including ios and android. Lets be real here before we dismiss rim completely.
blackberryempirekris
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blackberryempirekris,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2012 | 4:48:56 AM
re: BlackBerry Just 5% Of Recent Smartphone Purchases
Check out BB Mobile Fusion and BB Balance. This addresses those problems. BBE -blackberryempire
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/1/2012 | 2:51:38 AM
re: BlackBerry Just 5% Of Recent Smartphone Purchases
All this talk of "Wait for Blackberry 10" reminds me of all the folks on the Titanic who were waiting for the next lifeboat. As a consumer/end user, why should I wait for you (the vendor) to figure things out when I have readily available alternatives that are proven to work reliably (and may even be of TCO)?

Essentially, what's happened is that RIM can't keep up, even after getting a stranglehold on the enterprise market - partially due to the architecture required to keep Blackberry devices running. The fact that a separate data network is required for full functionality, and that separate network has proven to lack reliability as of late (http://www.informationweek.com... http://www.informationweek.com... for reference), are not good signs here.

Other smartphone platforms don't suffer from such outages because they only rely on the carrier's network (which is highly regulated by the FCC). That separate network is a double-edged sword for RIM. In this day and age, reliability is paramount when considering any sort of mobile device infrastructure and RIM is continuing to come up short.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
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