Interest in BlackBerry Rises, iPhone Levels, G1 Wanes



Compete offers some interesting mobile device analysis on their blog today; they offer web analytics services akin to Alexa, Quantcast, and Google’s Analytics products. Today, Compete is looking at the web traffic to mobile handset landing sites. That makes sense, because a sizable portion of consumer handset purchase decisions are driven by factors outside of a carrier’s brick-and-mortar store. Information on the different handsets, features and services are readily available on mobile device product pages and that’s what Compete is zooming in on.

The above graph represents traffic (as measured by Compete) to U.S. phone-specific portions of handset manufacturer’s web sites on a monthly basis from July 2008 to February 2009. A few interesting tidbits:

  • Interest in the iPhone dropped off sharply after Apple’s (s AAPL) launch of the iPhone 3G. That’s not terribly surprising, as folks aren’t expecting any new info on a handset after launch. However, I wouldn’t have expected it to drop off that much right after the launch, considering the hype and buzz it generated.
  • RIM (s RIMM) has managed to keep folks coming to their handset product pages, even after the launch of the Storm. The company continues to evolve from an enterprise device provider by making a generally successful transition to the consumer space. It probably didn’t hurt to have some App World rumors zipping around earlier this year.
  • The T-Mobile G1 with Google (s GOOG) Android lost much, if not all, of its momentum. It’s as if T-Mobile, Google and HTC have already received all of the major buzz they’re going to get with this first effort out the door. I don’t see nearly as much marketing for the G1 as I do for iPhones and BlackBerrys, which is likely part of the issue. But the general “unfinished” feel of the current Android OS environment is another part; I heard that term used at least a dozen times at CTIA. Android is still facing a “chicken-and-egg” situation as well from what I can see: Folks don’t a vast number of solid applications to choose from yet, and developers aren’t likely to embrace a platform that has limited consumer demand.

Now this data is specific to what Compete monitors and extrapolates, so it’s not the whole picture. Even with a limited set of data points though, there are useful trends being formed. Do you think the data is completely off-base? I don’t think so: RIM is doing a good job, as mentioned before ,and interest in Apple builds and peaks when new hardware or software is announced. In fact, we should see interest build there come June and July, as folks are expecting news out of the Apple WWDC 2009. As far as Android goes, more handsets on more carriers and more applications are likely to fight the waning interest there. A software update or two wouldn’t hurt, but my money is on handset and carrier choice combined with great application offerings.


Constable Odo

Too bad about Android. When it first came out everybody and their mothers were so hyped about it’s openness and that developers would just abandon the highly restricted iPhone platform to develop for Android. I didn’t think it would be chicken and egg for Android. It would be easy to develop for Android and handset manufacturers would just jump on the chance to build hardware for it.

I’m still puzzled about the BlackBerry’s strength. Since I follow a lot of Apple discussion, Apple fans are always saying that RIM is just going to keel over and die in a short while because their products are so sub-par compared to the iPhone and the reason so many BlackBerrys are being sold is because RIM is practically giving them away. Apparently people are still buying BlackBerrys and investors still think that the BlackBerry isn’t done for. We’ll see by the end of this year. You can use the BlackBerry on any carrier so it certainly isn’t restricted to only a small percentage users like the iPhone is. Plus they sell different models to please more potential buyers.

Supposedly the iPhone will come in two different flavors in June. A lower-priced model (possibly for China and India) and a Pro-type version. Maybe that will really boost iPhone sales. Apps and games should continue to drive sales for quite a while. Hardware will just have to take a back seat for iPhone users.

Richard Garrett

I wonder if the tracking for RIM was partly influenced by the Storm’s shaky introduction and the ongoing debate? As you’ve pointed out, its either love or hate and that is a dynamic for lots of traffic. Meanwhile, RIM has introduced several new models (in addition to the Storm) since the iPhone’s debut. Surely that is an influencer too. Was Apple’s spike in November related to the intro of the Storm?

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