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Summary:

The iPhone has been our Golden Child for over two years and we’re much accustomed to reading how it’s setting this record, or breaking that record, or changing “the game” in some revolutionary way. I’m not complaining in the slightest — credit where credit is due […]

brandindex_loyalty

The iPhone has been our Golden Child for over two years and we’re much accustomed to reading how it’s setting this record, or breaking that record, or changing “the game” in some revolutionary way. I’m not complaining in the slightest — credit where credit is due — but by now all the plaudits have blended into a gentle, harmonious, background hum.

So, it’s a bit disjointing when a few errant notes are played out of tune. If you’ve managed to survive this disaster of a metaphor this far, you know I’m talking about Bad News. A few numbers-heavy reports this week present us with news that, if not entirely bad, is at least disappointing

According to Electronista, NPD Group reported this week that the Blackberry Curve — of all things! — kept the iPhone 3GS from the title of first place handset in this summer’s smartphone handset sales in Northern America. Verizon’s “Buy One Get One Free” deal is said to have been the culprit; it not only offered two handsets for the price of one but also lowered the average selling price of a ‘feature phone’ handset from the same period the previous year ($88 down to $85). The iPhone 3GS and the older 3G took second and third spots respectively, which is not too shabby considering they were only beaten-out on price.

Devious Droids

More recently, Verizon’s wily ways have proven (again!) to be bad news for Apple’s smartphone. In its BrandIndex report last week, YouGov announced that Motorola’s Droid had a loyalty score of 29.3 among younger men, easily beating the iPhone’s score of 22. Why is Verizon to blame for Motorola’s success? YouGov say that loyalty scores for Motorola remain largely unchanged, so they attribute the success of the Droid to Verizon’s cunning ad campaign that has very openly criticised AT&T’s spotty 3G coverage and poured scorn on the iPhone, decrying its closed software platform, low-resolution camera and lack of multitasking ability.

Might not sound so bad, but consider that just prior to Verizon’s ad campaign, the iPhone’s loyalty score was running at a high of 48.1! It seems obvious that Verizon’s advertising was hugely effective; irrespective of whether or not the Droid is a superior platform, Verizon managed to significantly influence customer perception.

Hungry Hungry Handsets

It’s not all bad news, not really; according to a recent study conducted by AdMob and reported by Hardmac, the iPhone has captured 50 percent of the world’s 3G network bandwidth. Other mobile OS’s are trailing far behind it seems, with Symbian taking second place with 25 percent share. Android takes third place with 11 percent and RIM and Windows Mobile fail to make double digits.

I said it’s not all bad news, but the carriers might disagree with me. They’re suffering at the hands of smartphone-wielding customers and their bandwidth-hungry handsets. AT&T has been gradually upgrading its 3G network to try to cope with the added strain of millions of data-hungry mobile devices but it’s an expensive upgrade that will take years to complete. But, still — nice to know we iPhone users are being a nuisance and shaking things up a bit for The Man!

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  1. The Admob study confirms that the Blackberry is going the way of the Motorola Razr which I owned. I switched from the Razr to the Blackberry which was a game-changer in its day. I now own an iPhone another game-changer. The difference is that I can’t see how I could ever switch from the iPhone because of the applications like Dictionary.com and NeuroMobile that I rely on. The applications advantage makes the underlying handset technology less relevant. Apple now just has to keep pace with the handset technology and keep churning out great applications. The next version of the iPhone will one-up the the Droid.

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  3. Actually, there are plenty of dictionary apps for Android. NeuroMobile is supposedly coming to Android as well.

    One neat thing about Apps is exclusivity and branding. For example, right now Neuromobile is available for iPhone. But let’s say someone does an application similar to Neuromobile called BrainGo for Android. It might be as good or better than Neuromobile. But Neuromobile has the brand–you wont switch to Android unless there’s a product called “Neuromobile” for Android.

    This gives Apple a competitive advantage. Right now, the only “names” are on the iPhone. This is one reason for Apple concentrating on games is that branding is important for games. I want to play Madden ’09 on my smartphone. I’ve never heard of “Fantastic Football ’09” and I’m not going to shell out my hard-earned money to find out if it’s decent.

    Google may have a hard time competing here–their task will mostly be to convince developers to bring their titles from the iPhone and that’s a losing scenario. “BrainGo” and “Fantastic Football ’09” may be great apps, but they’re not going to bring people to Android. “Neuromobile” and “Madden ’09” will.

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  5. That is until someone figures out that web apps really are all you need, as long as you have a device that doesn’t bury them an additional level deep (all of them). There’s your game changer.

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  7. As a long time Verizon Wireless user I finally made the plunge a year or so ago to the iPhone. I must admit the network with AT&T is a bit shaky at times. However, the iPhone more than makes up for the downfall i get from the AT&T network. I also feel the droid will be a formidable competitive device. However, there will always be the Apple user who will not even consider switching…

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