updated 03:50 pm EST, Thu December 17, 2009
Nearly 40pc want Apple or Google phones
Apple and Google are in a near-even race for smartphone demand, according to a new comScore study. Among those Americans looking to buy a smartphone between November and February, 20 percent are planning to get an iPhone 3G or 3GS while 17 percent plan to get some form of Android phone. Both audiences are more likely to buy a high-end device: about 14 percent of the entire group intend to buy an iPhone 3GS, while 8 percent expect to buy a Motorola Droid.
BlackBerry still leads in demand with 51 percent of buyers aiming to pick up one of RIM's phones, but the preference in models is a reversal of those at its competitors. About 18 percent of BlackBerry buyers intend to get the least expensive model, the candybar-like Pearl. Demand for the touchscreen Storm and Storm2 is strong at 13 percent, but just 4 percent plan to buy a variant of the high-end Bold and 3 percent want its CDMA counterpart, the Tour.
Other platforms trail significantly: just 2 percent want to buy either a Palm Pre or the Windows Mobile-based AT&T Tilt.
The demand for Android in particular is said to have spiked dramatically compared to August, when a lack of Android phones beyond the G1 and myTouch 3G left only 7 percent of the entire group seeking out Google's platform. Apple in contrast has seen relatively steady demand and actually lost a single percentage point between mid-summer and mid-fall.
Why BlackBerry demand has remained strong isn't explained, though RIM is unique in the top three for having its OS available on all four major US carriers and for selling many of its devices at contract prices of $100, $50 or even for free.
Android growth, however, is credited to a popularity of data use virtually identical to that of the iPhone. Users of either platform are disproportionately more likely to use third-party apps, e-mail, media playback and the web than other smartphone owners. Only e-mail suffers on Android, where 63 percent use it regularly where 87 percent of iPhone users do the same.