RealTime IT News

RIM Still Leads in Smartphone Popularity

One would think, given how the iPhone has dominated the mobile device community since arriving last June, that the next revolution would come with the debut of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android operating system.

But one would be thinking wrong, at least according to a new smartphone user survey from ChangeWave Research.

Supremacy in the smartphone world remains a fight between leader Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and iPhone maker Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).

RIM's popular e-mail device, the BlackBerry, holds 42 percent of consumer smartphone user market share -- a huge lead despite it having dropped one point since the previous ChangeWave quarterly survey released in January. Treo maker Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) is down two points, in second place, with 16 percent.

Palm’s market share has dropped in the past seven consecutive consumer user surveys. But the struggling handset maker can take solace it's still ahead of the iPhone as Apple grabbed 9 percent for third place.

Future reports will likely show some changes later in the year, as one in three surveyed plan to buy an iPhone in the next three months -- a 12-point jump since the January survey. ChangeWave attributes the iPhone surge to the recently announced iPhone Software Development Kit and the new 2.0 OS.

"We won't see dramatic changes right away, and the planned iPhone purchases don't necessarily bode negative for RIM. It indicates that the iPhone will continue rising," Paul Carton, research director, ChangeWave Research, told InternetNews.com.

ChangeWave also expects consumer users may hold off on iPhone purchases given the impending arrival of a 3G iPhone this summer, Carton said.

RIM's likely not sweating the current statistics given its dominance in the business sector. A previous ChangeWave survey reported that the vendor accounts for 73 percent of corporate purchases.

When it comes to user satisfaction iPhone already grabbed the leadership reins. Users gave it a 79 percent "very satisfied" rating, while RIM got 54 percent, and Palm just 22 percent.

"Customer satisfaction is the gold standard and strong indicator of future growth," Carton said.

The survey also queried consumers about mobile operating systems. Despite hype, Google's soon-to-come Android operating system isn’t gaining much interest as yet. Just 2 percent are "very likely" to use it.

"The story here is that this is a two-way race between RIM and Apple in the consumer market and it's the story of Palm's collapse,” Carton said.