back to article BlackBerry sees iPhone shrink in rear view mirror

Research in Motion's Blackberries have extended their lead over Apple's iPhone as the top smartphone platform in the US. During the same period - December 2009 through February 2010 - Google's Android platform saw a surge of nearly 140 per cent to 9 per cent overall, while Palm's share dove 25 per cent, down to 5.4 per cent. …


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  1. Joe K

    No hope




  2. Andy Hards

    so i presume

    there are no symbian phones in the us?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Symbian US - only if you're dumb!

      Symbian S30 and S40 (dumb and feature phones) are available in the US. Symbian S60 (Smartphones) are also available in the US but not registered for monthly payment deals with specific network carriers. Accordingly, they are not as popular as their heavily marketed and network subsidised rivals.

      If you chat with a US ‘cell phone’ techy user they often become very confused by Symbian (and and its principal supplier – Nokia) being the most popular Smartphone OS worldwide! I might add the more worldly US techy will probably have a Maemo Nokia N900 and laugh (or feel pity) towards fellow US ‘techies’!

    2. OffBeatMammal

      Symbian isn't even a blip on the radar here

      Nokia and co, for whatever reason, have totally failed to make a dent in the market here

      I suspect they were not willing to join consumers in bending over and performing unnatural acts to get the carriers to sell their phones ... that's the dominant model here with little/no choice in handsets if they're not available on a plan

      1. Chris_Maresca

        It's probably because Symbian sucks

        Nobody in the US has Symbian smartphones because they suck - never mind the price. BlackBerry, Apple, Android and even Palm have far better OSes than the ancient Symbian crap. And, before you ask, I have an N900 (had an N850 before that), I got it for free from Nokia, but I would never use it as a primary phone. It's huge and there is little advantage over either a BlackBerry or an iPhone.

        As far as what phones worldly tech savvy users in the US have, it's mostly likely to be a Blackberry world phone, running on a CDMA network (with quad-band GSM as well) or a GSM Android of some sort. CDMA because works far better in the US as the cell size is 60 miles vs 30 miles for GSM, which translates into far better coverage in a large empty country like the US.....

        1. borkbork


          err, the n900 runs maemo, not symbian. And it's more of a pocket computer with phone features, hence the brickiness of it.

  3. alex dekker 1

    Bad analogy

    How possible is it to 'see' something shrinking by 0.1%?

    1. Solomon Grundy


      Just keep an eye out down below when your hot water heater just starts to run out of hot water during your next shower. Then you'll see 0.1% shrinkage - followed by a continuing decline.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3 years

    Lets' go back 3 years to the launch of the first iPhone and look at the figures on a graph.

    This is a very US centric view, on a world wide basis I would think Apples' market share would fare better than RIM (they have better access to the consumer market).

    That said, nice to see a Canadian company doing so well.

    1. Daniel B.

      In fact, it might fare worse

      Mixing in the worldwide stats would give Nokia, not Apple, the jump into King of the Smartphones. Apple isn't doing much outside the US, specifically here in Mexico where the iBone is directly competing with the knockoff hiPhone. I've only seen like 4 iPhones in my life that aren't some mobile carrier showcase handset. Meanwhile, I'm seeing more and more Blackberries, a bunch of Nokias, SonyEriccson and lately even Samsungs being used as smartphones.

      I'm pretty sure that even factoring in worldwide sales, RIM would still be over Apple; they've got all those enterprise-provided berrys plus a growing userbase in the consumer market. Apple only has the consumerist user buying the latest fad, or the Jobs worshippers buying them. If they actually release an iPhone 4, I'd wonder if it would sell that much... most of the people that wanted an iPhone should have one now, and only the iPhone1 users would be tempted to trade in theirs.

  5. Dazed and Confused

    Wot no Nokia?

    So this is presumably a survey of all the phones that aren't made by Nokia then?

    Or perhaps the definition of a smart phone is one not made by a Finish company?

    1. BigRedS

      RE: Dazed and confused @14:16

      No, it's an illustration of Nokia's presence (or lack thereof) in the US market. Presumably they have *some* presence, but they're a tiny player over there by all accounts.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Operators pushing Blackberry hard

    It would be interesting to see similar data for the UK. Anecdotal evidence suggests that operators are pushing Blackberry very hard as a free alternative to the iPhone. It still has more brand clout for 20-30 year old mainstream users than Android alternatives.

  7. D@v3

    not a 'fanboy' by a long shot

    but i think Apple are doing rather well considering they only really have 1 current handset on sale at a time, compared to the ranges that others, such as RIM have

  8. chr0m4t1c

    It doesn't say

    How many of these are "no choice" devices?

    e.g. I have a BlackBerry that I was given by work and I love the interface so much that I usually just leave it in a drawer while the SIM sits in an old Nokia that I happened to have lying around.

    Not that I underestimate the drawing power of the 'Crack, my wife loved the one her work gave her so much that she bought her own when she left.

    At one time Ford and Vauxhall were the most popular cars on the UK roads because they were the ones foisted on people as company cars. It's far more relevant to know what people buy when they are spending their own money.

    1. Nadjau

      Spot on

      I have a works-allocated Blackberry sitting in its box at home, whilst the works SIM card is in a nice little Nokia phone that does the job. Hilariously, work didn't include a data contract so the Blackberry - an 8080 or something? - is consigned to the darkness that its rubbish design so thoroughly deserves.

  9. red hal

    @Andy Hards

    Good point. Where is Nokia in this table? Or do none of their 'phones count as smartphones?

  10. JohnHN

    Blackberry data

    I don't trust the Blackberry data. I have no systematic data of my own but from observation of my daughter and her friends I know that teenagers are using Blackberries for texting, without a data plan. Is a phone without a data plan and with limited ability to run apps a "smart phone?"

    RIM is currently going after the low end of the smart phone market.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not for long

      You can't get a "smart phone" without a data plan anymore in the US. All of the major carriers have made data plans mandatory if you buy a subsidised smart phone. Verizon spokespersons have explained that this is because they don't want their customers to be disappointed by the experience of not being able to access all the functionality of their phone wherever they happen to be.

  11. Shinobi87
    Thumb Down


    symbian????? where art thee?

  12. Penguin

    Oh Poor Pre

    Oh my poor little Pre, why can't Palm market you properly?

    Those bloody fools couldn't sell a steak to a starving man! They've got a 'just different enough to be interesting' product that is actually pretty good (especially WebOS) and they have failed on a grand scale. They really have no one to blame but themselves. I'll miss them but I suspect I will be on my own.

    1. borkbork

      pixi plus umts 900/2100

      I'd buy one if any bastid would sell me one here in .au. Pre's a bit chunky for my pocket.

    2. Kamal Hashmi

      a title

      When Orange started selling the Pre in the UK, I tried to look at one at four or five orange stores. Only one had a working one to try out. Recently I tried again - none had it on display.

      With friends like these...

  13. red hal

    I don't know about the UK

    ...but smartphone shipments worldwide for 2009 as analysed by Canalys see Nokia with 47.2% of the market, RIM on 20.8% and Apple on 15.1%. Equivalent figures for 2008 (from the same source) are 52.4%, 16.5% and 9.6% respectively. Apple and RIM are certainly on the up with Nokia the largest loser, but it is still the dominant worldwide player in the smartphone marke.

    Let's get some global perspective here.

    References: canalys dot com/pr/2010/r2010021.html

  14. Neil 13

    Something else to consider though

    Weren't RIM at one time offering a buy one, get one free scheme with their Blackberries in the USA? That could make a difference to market share but it doesn't mean their products are streaking away from the iPhone in terms of popularity. After all, anyone can give their products away (except Palm apparently).

  15. Anonymous Coward


    According to the table they are accounting for 100% of smartphone users.

    Not a single Nokia in there and yet they cover 100% of smartphone users? Do Nokia not sell any in the U.S.? What about Sony, or Samsung who also have (admittedly limited) smartphones on the market?

    Boffin as maybe they can make sense of the numbers?

  16. Leon Prinsloo
    Thumb Down


    Find it amazing the berry is doing so well, considering it has a useless interface and possibly the most complicated mail setup I have ever seen...

    Not very impressed having to set these POS's up for clients, I personally use an Android phone, which I love, but if it were a berry or a Jesus phone, and I had no option of an Android phone, I would definitely take the Jesus phone...

  17. Paul 131
    Thumb Up

    Beyond hope

    Microsoft is well & truly FUCKED

  18. Steve Evans

    US centric figures...

    It would be nice to see figures for the whole world, not just the US.

    Real world figures would have everyone behind Symbian, which has been powering smart phones since before Apple and Blackberry even thought of making them.

    At least this time the article does almost make it obvious they are using US only figures, it's just a pity that with the smart phone market the US view is completely out of sorts with the rest of the world.

    Oh well, guess this is what we should expect from a website where 90% of the writers appear to live in CA.

  19. Giles Jones Gold badge


    The problem with the Palm phone is there's just not enough handsets with it on. The Pre is okay, but the keyboard is a bit naff.

    Palm are too small in the market to be able to make a couple of average phones and not market them. They need to licence the OS to others, it's a great OS with no user base.

    I also think Palm were a bit cheeky to try to make it work with iTunes, that has backfired. They should have produced a really good alternative to iTunes which can be used regardless of if you use the Pre or not.

    I don't really know what use a monthly statistic is when contracts are 18-24 months on average. You really need an annual summary.

  20. red hal

    @Steve Evans

    See my post five above yours for those figures.

  21. morphoyle


    "Fans of the iPhone have little to worry about, however."

    Why would they worry anyways? Not everyone in the world has to use the same phone as you. But I guess we are talking about Apple users here, and they seem to be a bit more insecure, and tie how much they like their device to what other people think about it. I would rather have a device I enjoy personally. Screw what everyone else is using...

    Also, Blackberries really are that popular, considering they had a HUGE jump on everyone else in the smart phone market. If I were anyone but Google, I would probably worry. History has shown that open platforms tend to dominate the market over time. It's how Apple got pushed in to the niche corner in regards to their computers.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Read between the lines

    but what about the things that aren't listed...

    40.8 + 25.5 + 19.1 + 3.8 + 7.2 = 96.4%

    42.1 + 25.4+ 15.1 + 9 + 5.4 = 97%

  23. Serenity

    The reaons Nokia is not in US data

    I forget the specifics, but there was a longish legal battle that kept Nokia from selling their more advanced phones in the United States (patent dispute I think). As such they haven't had much market penetration for years and walking into any cellular store in the US you might see one or two Nokia models, and they're typically not the top of the line. So the data is, apparently, accurate for the United States, but quite obviously is not representative of the global market. Someone else probably remembers the specifics better than I....

  24. Glenn Amspaugh

    US Carriers marketing Blackberries

    For the last 6 months or so, both AT&T and Verizon have been marketing the Blackberry phones in direct mailers. Before this, they were pretty much just a work phone. Looks like Blackberry took a page from Apple's playbook. Now, if Symbian would get a clue...

  25. Nexox Enigma


    Looking at the ComScore page with the source of the information, it seems that they just defined Symbian out of 'Smartphone.' I know I have a S60 phone that was sold as a smart phone, even though it's a standard flip phone that I pretty much just use to make phone calls. I suppose multi-tasking is nice, but that sort of thing might lead some people to believe that S60 is just another feature phone OS.

    That leaves Maemo / Meego as the only Nokia smartphone platform, and while I rather like my N900, I doubt enough other people use them to count.

  26. Watashi

    Symbian open source

    One noteworthy point is that Symbian is now also open source. Can't see how Symbian is not a smartphone OS - that's like saying linux isn't a computer OS because you can get versions that run on mobile phones as well. I'd suggest this is xenaphobia as no-one in the US wants to admit that nearly 50% of the global phone OS market is controlled by a Finnish company. Think of all the time they'd have to spend looking the country up in Wiki.

  27. gimbal

    I think it just goes to show you

    ...that a carefully well architectured* design trumps a sense of in-crowd "vision", any day

    * sure, not perfect - where's the Pulsar support for BB platforms? (or iPhones either, I guess, if it's possible) - not perfect, but well enough, by far

  28. Synthmeister

    Apple's stealth weapon

    What these figures ignore is the huge iPhone OS userbase Apple is capturing with the iPod touch, which is now selling almost as well as the iPhone, practically doubling the iPhone marketshare for third parties interested in making money off the platform. At least in the US, many people can't or won't use AT&T or can't/won't pay an extra $35 per month for data and text messaging, so they just buy an iPod touch. Plus Apple is enticing millions of teens and pre-teens with the iPod touch. Where will they go when they can afford their own cell phone? To Apple, of course, so they won't lose all their favorite apps.

    None of the other cell makers have anything to compete with the iPod touch, and they are ignoring it at great peril to their future.

  29. mgrey

    Survey stats by age group?

    The comScore survey is based on smart phone owners 13 years and older. The likelihood is that a quite different picture would be shown if broken out by phone AND by age group.

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