Google's Android platform is showing strong momentum and accounting for a nice chunk of global smartphone sales and even dominating in the U.S. But what's really telling is how the major platforms---Android, Apple and BlackBerry---are playing a game of installed bases.
All three platforms can do fine as long as they convince their customers to upgrade. GigaOm citing Nielsen and Canalys data shows the following:
- 71 percent of Android owners want an Android OS when they upgrade their next phone, but 21 percent want an iPhone.
- 89 percent of iPhone owners want an iPhone next with 6 percent saying they want an Android next.
- 42 percent of BlackBerry owners want a BlackBerry next, with 29 percent eyeing an iPhone and 21 percent wanting an Android.
Add it up and it's clear that RIM is vulnerable since half of its user base is pondering another platform. However, RIM isn't going to disappear. If it can keep its customers in the fold---potentially with the BlackBerry OS 6---we're really dealing with a simple game. In a nutshell...
- Keep the customers you have;
- Poach from others when possible;
- Three mobile players can remain fat and happy for a long period of time.
Canalys says the following about Android.
The United States smart phone market grew 41% year on year. It is the largest smart phone market in the world by a significant margin, with 14.7 million units accounting for 23% of global shipments in Q2 2010. Android devices collectively represented a 34% share of the US market in the quarter, and with growth of 851% Android became the largest smart phone platform in the country.
So what's going on here? There's a new normal in the mobile industry. BlackBerry is giving up some gains to the iPhone and Android phones, but that will stabilize at some point. With this new normal comes a case of a trio of smartphone leaders. The only wild card is when the onslaught of the Android army will end. Android devices are just swamping the market.