Mobile Market Wrap-up for Oct 2, 2009

Devesh is on the road this week, so he asked me to fill-in for this week’s mobile market wrap-up. I’m not sure if I can match the edge (or brevity) that Devesh puts into each week’s summary, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Given it is was the end of a calendar quarter this week, a number of interesting data reports were released. First up were two market share studies that provided some great insight into not only the handsets people are using, but also how the handsets are being used. In one, Comscore, who conducts monthly surveys of mobile subscribers over the age of 13, reported the following numbers for the 3-month period ending July, 2009:
     -32 million Americans own a smartphone, while 200 million own a “non-smartphone”
     -BlackBerry is the clear market leader with over 13 million users followed by Apple with over 6.5 million
     -Apple and Windows Mobile have nearly identical market share (although I suspect that Apple and Windows Mobile are on very different growth trajectories)
     -Symbian (Nokia) and Android are both around 1 million users each
In the second report, AdMob released their August 2009 Mobile Metrics Report. The iPhone leads with a 40% market share, followed by Symbian at 34%. BlackBerry has only an 8% share, Android 7%, and webOS (Palm Pre) and Windows at 4% each. Technically speaking, this report is not a handset market share report like Comscore’s but indicates the types of devices that are accessing AdMobs worldwide mobile advertising network, and therefore the mobile internet. In addition, it’s report is a worldwide study versus ComScore’s US-centric report. These reports indicate to me that iPhone users enjoy a much better mobile internet experience, amd more likely to use the mobile internet, given their smaller handset market share, and that Nokia, while seemingly forgotten in the US, is still a very important mobile player on the worldwide stage. It also shows that BlackBerry and WindowsMobile have some serious improvements to make in their mobile browsing experience.

To follow-up on the iPhone and marketshare, an analyst at Morgan Stanley expects that Apple could nearly double the number of iPhones sold once exclusivity arrangements that Apple has cut with carriers expire. From all the buzz on the internet, the quality (or lack thereof) of AT&T’s network is holding back sales or driving people away from the iPhone/AT&T to other carriers. With articles circulating on the internet that AT&T is dropping 30% of its calls in New York City (confirmed by the Apple Genius Store), you know the network has issues. The real question is will the iPhone effect last past AT&T’s exclusivity, or will another handset emerge that will kill the iPhone’s popularity and make the end of the AT&T exclusivity a moot point?

And for the last bit of data, Neilsen released a very interesting report this week on mobile internet usage. While stating the obvious year-over-year growth of the internet (which was 34% if you don’t check out the report), it shows that women, seniors and teens are the demographics that are driving the growth. Since these groups generally represent the late technology adopters, it indicates that mobile internet usage is hitting the mainstream. Combined with new features that link Google’s Local Seach desktop results to the mobile environmentsee post from earlier this week – companies really need to start looking at their mobile presence to make sure users are getting the right mobile experience.

To finish off this week, I wanted to touch on an important safety issue – texting while driving. There have been numerous reports lately on the dangers of texting while driving, and I’m happy to see that the federal government has issued its own notice to its employees. Anything that furthers the awareness of the issue is a good thing in my opinion. The issue also hit close to home as my kids were first hand witnesses to an accident in front of my house earlier this week involving a cellphone distracted driver. Luckily, no one was hurt, except for some minor car damage. To prevent texting while driving (and accidents in front of my house), I noticed a new technology tool called TXTBlocker has been released. I can’t vouch for how effective it is, and I am sure it will be the first of many solutions that will come to market. Using tools like TxtBlocker feel a little too “Big Brother” for my taste, and it’s a shame we need to create and pay for technology to prevent stupidity. Please, whatever you do, DON’T text and drive. – end of public service announcement for the week –

As Devesh does, here is a list of other articles I found interesting this week:
iPhone is not the end of innovation (puts some perspective into the iPhone’s seemingly insurmountable dominance of the mobile market)
BlackBerry desktop released for the Mac
Essential tips for making your mobile site work better

And some fun articles for this week:
Man arrested for threatening to shoot iPhone
A train map of Google’s investments (not mobile really mobile related, but too entertaining not to post)
Steve Jobs gets a taste of his own medicine – a parody of the famous Apple Super Bowl ad from 1984 (has Apple become what it once despised?)

Well, I hope you enjoyed this week’s wrap-up and my attempt to match Devesh’s edge, although it looks as though I have to work on the brevity part. If there is anything that I missed, don’t be afraid to drop a comment below – we’d love to hear from you. If you missed Devesh this week, I expect that he’ll be back next week to put his usual, entertaining spin on the week’s mobile events.

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3 Responses to Mobile Market Wrap-up for Oct 2, 2009

  1. Keith Soifer October 6, 2009 at 12:32 am #

    Gregg; Yeoman effort in providing this week’s Wrap-up:

    Two points of follow-up.

    1 – It is most interesting to me that while BBerry clearly dominates the smartfone user market, much if not all of the “buzz” is about Apple’s iPhone. I suspect that the agency execs that manage the ad campaign for iPhone spend many a sleepless night obsessing over how they can maintain and further grow what appears to be a very lucrative ad account, based on the extensive promotion that iPhone currently enjoys in mainstream media. On the other hand, BBerry which is firmly entrenched in the country’s offices and cubicles, does little, if any consumer promotion, relying instead on carriers such as my Verizon to promote the BBerry brand. In addition, I think that market data would be more useful if it was broken down across age categories, to use one demographic as an example.

    2 – Regarding the current growing concern involving the texting / driving issue. It is troubling that it took several tragic accidents involving texting / driving to bring the issue more “front of mind” in the country’s collective pysche. Of course, we know that this issue has been growing in importance for many years, prompting states such as New York to enact legislation prohibiting the texting / driving activity.

    That said, I have followed the voice enabling, speech recognition market for many years and firmly believe that this technology would make significant progress toward helping make our roads safer. In fact, I purchased my current car, an 06 Acura TSX because it was the first model year that provided bluetooth hands free phone capability. Since I am a road warrior, this capability in my vehicle has been literally a “lifer saver.” I am, at once, both more productive and far more safer on the road as my car becomes my office and conference room.

    But if readers would prefer to not spend tens of thousands on a vehicle with bluetooth voice enabling capibilty, companies such as Vlingo provide applications that completely voice enable your mobile device. As was recently mentioned in the trades, “Voice has become the new Touch. ” Using a voice enabled handset, a user can simply say a person’s name in the addressbook and the application opens the device’s addressbook and locates that person’s name. Then the user dictates the messages, says send, and voila, the message is sent without a single keystroke. Lastly I am please to learn that speech recognition vendors have tweaked their algorithms so the applications are vastly more accurate in deciphering people’s voices than was previously the case. ( Very little if any voice training is needed between the user and application. )

    Again thanks for the great Wrap-up.

  2. Gregg Borodaty October 6, 2009 at 6:48 am #

    Keith – I agree 100% with your sentiments on Apple. They are a marketing machine. You can’t go through one night of prime time television without seeing at least 1, if not 3 or 4 iPhone commercials. They have done a great job creating the perception that it is the must-have device. On the other hand, I have to give Apple credit for making the mobile market relevant. Thanks to Apple’s marketing prowess, they have created a buzz and momentum around mobile that did not exist 2-3 years ago. They’ve also done a great job showing how the mobile device can be used as more than just a phone. While I have strong opinions on how Apple will fare in the long-term (I feel they are repeating their PC mistakes from the eighties in the mobile market with their “closed” platform), we should all be thankful they have made our space relevant.

    Thanks for bringing up voice/speech recognition as another solution to texting while driving. I like these alternatives much better than blocking solutions. It will take a bit of time for the technology to roll-over. Cars have a long lifetime, so it could take 5+ years to have a critical mass of cars within built-in speech recognition, while it could happen quicker with phones since the turnover time is generally 2 years or less. It will be up to the handset manufacturers to to make the technology easier to use. My BlackBerry has it, but it is awkward and cumbersome, and not very intuitive to use.

  3. Keith Soifer October 6, 2009 at 8:45 am #

    Gregg, I see your comments re Apple’s promtional activities and raise you Microsoft’s marketing efforts.

    Since I am a “sales guy” and not a developer, I believe that without Microsoft, most of us would still be using an abacus to do the work we are so used to doing with Office applications. From a developer’s viewpoint, Office code may not be the best in the world, but the world is a far more productive place because of it.

    I now open the floor up to Gates haters.