Google's Android eats up the BlackBerry
Survey shows Google's smart phone system challenging the iPhone, making RIM an afterthought.
Google (GOOG) and its Android operating system are now the next big thing for smart phones, taking the spotlight from Apple (AAPL) and its iconic iPhone. And with these two smart phones as the leaders, future demand for Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry devices is drying up.
Nearly twice as many consumers were using Android-based phones compared with three months ago, according to a survey of 4,000 consumers in March by ChangeWave Research (an InvestorPlace company).
Granted, these users still make up less than 10% of the market and are far behind the iPhone’s 32% share of the market or the BlackBerry’s industry-leading 37%, but the growth rate is very impressive.
Apple’s iPhone OS saw 3% growth with consumers compared with a survey three months ago. RIMM’s BlackBerry OS, on the other hand, actually lost ground according to ChangeWave, seeing a 1% slip in its market share compared with three months ago.
Looking ahead, Android handsets are set to win over even more consumers. ChangeWave’s survey shows explosive demand, with 30% of all respondents planning to buy a smart phone in the next 90 days saying they’d prefer to have the Android OS on their new phone. That’s a huge 9 percentage point jump since December and a fivefold increase from just six months ago.
With 30% of future buyers shopping for an Android phone, that makes it the most popular system among prospective customers. Apple’s iPhone was next in line, with 29% of future buyers saying they’ll purchase this brand within the next 90 days, 1 point higher than reported by ChangeWave in a similar survey last quarter. And despite a dominant share of the current market, a mere 13% of respondents said they plan on purchasing a BlackBerry.
The iPhone probably won’t be toppled from its perch at the top of the smart phone market anytime soon, since it still ranks highly in future sales and is the clear dominator in customer satisfaction.
ChangeWave reports that 76% of iPhone OS users are “very satisfied,” but Google is gaining fast as consumers get familiar with its devices. The Android OS boasts a 65% rating among “very satisfied” customers. That makes it the second-best smart phone in the industry. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion tied for third with a “very satisfied” rating of 37% -- about half the numbers for Apple and Android.
With strong consumer adoption, strong future demand and strong current satisfaction ratings, Android has a lot of momentum behind it. That has shifted the spotlight away from the Apple iPhone, and is already eroding the market share of the BlackBerry.
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John Stumpf acknowledges that growth has been slow, but he says he's still optimistic.
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