Tuesday, August 2, 2011

iPhone 5 Will Be A Big Deal But Could It Entice Android Users To Defect? Maybe With Android 4, It Won't Matter; Microsoft And RIM Still Big Players Second Half of 2011

Is the iPhone about to surge ahead once the next iPhone is out?  According to a survey with very small sampling, it seems to be the case.  But let me say this again, it's a very tiny survey sample.  On top of that, there are places in the world where Android is a more affordable choice than the iPhone.  And there are also a large parts of the world where the iPhone isn't even available.

When the iPhone became available on Verizon, no one thought that Apple was going to suddenly turn the tide against the Android.  Even fact, as Apple sold more iPhones through the third quarter, Android not only held its grown but managed to grow its share domestically in the US as well as internationally where it is closing in on 50% of the mobile market.  

To be fair, Apple does control two-thirds of the profit in the mobile market.  All things considered, I think Apple would rather have profit than market share right about now.

For Apple's achievement, all this was done with the aging iPhone 4.  When Apple and Verizon Wireless finally made it available to CDMA customers in the US, the iPhone 4 had been on the market with ATT for eight months.  By the time the next iPhone is available, it will have been sixteen months since it debut.  

As a gadget fan, I'm watching the competition between the various mobile platforms with glee.  Ultimately, we win as these tech giants fight and innovate to entice us to stay with their platforms or defect.  

For mobile warriors who wants to keep score, watch out for the iPhone 5 (or whatever Apple wants to call it) going up against Android devices running Ice Cream, the next version of Google mobile OS, and others like Mango from Microsoft or RIM's new .  I don't want people to think that the mobile market has come down to a two-horse race.  Things can change rather quickly.  

For instance, Samsung's Galaxy S II has already sold over six million units even before reaching North American shores.  I reckon Galaxy S III is in the works as we speak.  

But the race this year will be different.  In the past, the Android had the advantage of being on all four major US carriers.  This year, we know that at least two of the four will be carrying the new iPhone.  It's hardly a 4-on-4 situation but ATT and VZW does account for a major of the US mobile customer base.  Having the iPhone running on Sprint and T-Mobile USA will help Apple but there is no indication that either of these carriers will get the iPhone.

One thing that the iPhone has over Android and other platforms (with the exception of Blackberry users) is that it has a stickiness no one else has.  iPhone users do tend to come back and get another iPhone.  With Android and Windows, there does not seem to be the level of loyalty that Apple's mobile device has.  

So, we will have to see just how many new customers pick the iPhone or an Android device and how many defections there will be from one mobile platform to another.  If Apple does end up with a sizable Android defections, it could be worrisome for Google and its friends (Samsung's Galaxy is a relatively strong brand that might provide some immunity to the iPhone appeal).  

We are six to eight weeks from a new iPhone assault.  Certainly by this Christmas season, we will see a big shift in the mobile market.  We also want to watch out for this: if Mango powering Nokia's new smartphones will help Microsoft gain mind-share (anywhere); if RIM's belated smartphones can mount a comeback in North America.

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