Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Android Market Share Jumps, Blackberry Sinks

Nielsen's numbers look very similar to Comscore's.
April's Comscore report on US smartphone market share, which echoes the Nielsen numbers, continues the trend we've seen over the past year: Android market share grows (up over 5% since January, to 36.4%), Apple's share grows a little bit (up 1.3% to 26%), and RIM's Blackberry market share heads for the depths (dropping 4.7% to 25.7%). Congrats to RIM, they now have a solid hold on third place and can look forward to fourth place if Microsoft succeeds in its alliance with Nokia to boost Windows Phone 7 into competition. Nokia had better get busy, though. Apple and Googl are rapidly moving targets, improving both their hardware and their software regularly. Nokia and Microsoft have to really come from behind.

At this point I'm not sure what features Nokia could really put into their phones that would significantly differentiate them from their Android and iOS competition. Nokia knows how to build sleek phones with good screens, but so do a lot of companies now. Even Nokia's volume advantage is not in play here...Apple's got huge numbers, and so do a number of Android phones, and it will be a while before Nokia could even match those volumes, let alone pass them significantly. So I don't see any price advantage on the manufacturing side.

Which leaves the software side for the advantage. Microsoft has an interesting interface, but they are woefully behind in lining up developers, much less a library of killer apps. Apple has a long lead in cutting deals with major media companies for content. What's Microsoft got aside from Xbox Live? Not much, honestly.. oh yeah, they have Skype now. But they wouldn't try to make that proprietary... it would kill most of the value of Skype. Still, Microsoft is trying hard, and they do have a lot of money to throw at the problem. They may come up with some competitive apps.

Meanwhile, Android continues to grow... but developers continue to struggle to make money on the platform. Apple continues to grow its market share slowly, but they seem to be a much better place to make money for developers. I suspect that new announcements for Apple at their developer's conference this week may help their growth numbers. Rumors continue to swirl about what to expect in the next iPhone, whether it may be a less major update than the last one. The more important thing to Apple's overall growth in iPhone numbers is going to be pricing. I'm sure they'll introduce a new iPhone at the high end of the price scale sometime this year. Will they then move the iPhone 4 down to a lower price? Probably, and that could mean a substantial boost in numbers. If Apple does indeed introduce a new iPhone designed to be smaller, lighter, and less expensive, that could also be a big boost.

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