Sunday, March 15, 2009

Smartphone market share

2008 Q4 smartphone marketshare estimates from Gartner, and the folks at the Symbian Foundation are crowing about the results:

  • Symbian 47.1%
  • RIM (BlackBerry) 19.5%
  • Windows Mobile: 12.4%
  • Mac OS X (iPhone) 10.7%
  • Palm OS 0.9%
  • Other 1.1%
If I were working for Symbian (or Nokia), I’d be a little less sanguine. Compared to a year ago, Windows Mobile and Palm OS are unchanged, but RIM and Apple have risen from 14% to 30%.

Nokia still doesn’t have a US presence, and until they do, RIM and Apple will continue to clean up here. The question is, will its rivals make significant inroads into Nokia’s dominant smartphone market share in Europe and the Rest Of World.

Apple may have a superior product, but it has two key vulnerabilities. First, in most (but not all) of the world, it has limited distribution through its country exclusives. RIM and Nokia have been trying to get their products distributed as widely as possible.

Secondly, Apple has a single premium-priced product while its rivals have product lines at a wide range of price points. In a price-sensitive economy, even in the high-end smartphone segment one would expect demand to shift to less expensive models.

Apple will someday have a range of iPhone products, just as it has a range of laptops. It’s possible those products will be announced in June, but Apple could lose a lot of its hard-won share in the meantime.

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