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Research Firm: Smart Phone Market Now Dominated by Apple & RIM

The smart phone market is now dominated by just two companies -- Apple and research In Motion -- according to a research firm Changewave Research. In a survey released by the company Tuesday, the firm said that RIM has some momentum due to a slew of new products, but found that RIM's market share was down 1% from its last survey, while Apple's had risen 6%.

Changewave analyst Paul Carton wrote in a statement that RIM would be in a strong position to give Apple "a run for its money" in the early part of 2009 due to its new product line, but found that customer satisfaction for the BlackBerry Storm was lower than with past BlackBerry models. According to Mr. Carton, customer satisfaction will be key for continued market share gains.

The real test in a cutthroat market," wrote Mr. Carton, "is how satisfied consumers actually are with their new models. In this survey, we found the BlackBerry Storm's satisfaction rating to be middle-of-the-road."

More specifically, in a survey of some 61 new BlackBerry Storm customers, the firm found only 33% of them to be "very satisfied" with their Storms. That compares to a "very satisfied" rating of 52% across the board for BlackBerry customers, and even more instrumenting, to a "very satisfied" rating given to Apple's original iPhone in a similar survey in July of 2007 when the iPhone was new.

"The overall satisfaction rating given by new owners of the Blackberry Storm can, at best, be characterized as lukewarm," the firm said. "While far from bad, it's mediocre - which means it's a potential concern regarding RIM's head-to-head battle with Apple."

The company went on to compare those satisfaction results with, that of mid-tier smart phone manufacturers like Nokia (32%), Motorola (32%), HTC (31%) and Samsung (30%).

"It's not that the BlackBerry Storm is a bad phone," wrote Mr. Carlton. "It's just that the initial launch has glitches which have resulted in a mediocre satisfaction rating."

Changewave Research Chart
Chart courtesy of Changewave Research

Those satisfaction numbers led ComputeWorld to offer the somewhat misleading headline, "iPhone trounces BlackBerry Storm in satisfaction rating," but Changewave's point is RIM will have to "rapidly fix" the initial glitches of the device. If it can do so, the firm said that RIM's other products could offer the company "accelerated momentum" during 2009.

In the meanwhile, the firm also surveyed the future buying plans of smart phone customers. It found that some 30% of those planning on buying a new smart phone planned on buying an iPhone. That's down 4% from the last survey, and down from 56% in June of 2008 when the iPhone 3G was first announced.

In comparison, 39% of respondent said they planned on buying a RIM phone, up 9% from the last survey, and up from 23% in June, when the iPhone was at 56%.

"Approaching the first quarter," the firm said, "the ball has shifted back into BlackBerry's court in the form of a big uptick in consumer interest which they can potentially capitalize on. But is the new RIM lineup of consumer products strong enough to take full advantage of their increased demand?"

The picture painted by the survey results is of a tough battle between two dominant players, with the BlackBerry battling it out with the iPhone.

1 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Faith109 said:

yea i saw it coming i knew apple iphone and blackerry phones were going to lead the market come on theyre the best phone out right now are you kidding me but i like the blackberry more though


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