The Smartphone Wars – What is the Outcome?

I have to confess that I am really enjoying keeping up on the smartphone wars.  This is the new space, the unclaimed territory that all the major manufacturers wish to claim as their own.

Many are not aware that the concept of the smartphone was actually brought to the market by IBM in 1992 with what they called ‘Simon’.  Nokia would later make the concept practical with the introduction of the Nokia 9000 series in the mid-1990’s.  Palm brought out their Pilot in the late 1990’s, which was not a smartphone until the Treo came out.  The Treo was based on the Handspring which was introduced in 1998, which was the same time that Research in Motion released their two-way pager, the Blackberry 950.  The Blackberry phone came a year later in 1999 but it was the Apple iPhone that completely changed the landscape and defined what a smartphone should be.

It is this definition now that all the competitors are attempting to match.  It is this user experience that Google and Microsoft are so closely trying to emulate.  Just how successful is the iPhone in comparison to the Android and Blackberry?  Well, to answer that question one simply has to only refer to a report released by Asymco today.

In this analysis, which represents sales units for Verizon it clearly shows that sales for the Android have stalled and more disturbing, RIM Blackberry have dramatically declined.  This echoes another report by the Wall Street Journal which states that a year ago, RIM had 90% of Verizon’s smartphone sales whereas today that has dropped to below 20% of Verizon’s overall sales.

This is very disturbing for RIM especially with the rampant rumours that the Apple iPhone will finally be released for Verizon just after Christmas.  Verizon is seriously needing the iPhone to regain some of the market share that they have been losing to AT&T since the 3rd Quarter this year.

It is my position that with the relatively successful launch of yet another player, Microsoft’s Windows 7 Phone, that this is going to further create uncertainty and disturbance for the smartphone manufacturers.  Google and Microsoft, which are not producing hardware devices are both heavily competing for the attention of various manufacturers, such as HTC, Samsung and Motorola.  This is likely to create a lot of competition and very low margins.  Apple will continue its’ path of manufacturing the complete package and winning the hearts and minds of their customers.  RIM on the other hand has not responded to the looming threat appropriately for the past two years and sadly, they will eventually disappear from the market entirely.

Crazy predictions?  I guess time will only tell but I’ve had the fortune of being able to make a number of accurate calls in the technology space over my 25 years in the business.

About Grant Fengstad

I’m a technology professional in the travel and transportation sector and have been very involved with the Internet for over 20 years.