Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Told you so: RIM, Apple, Google Tied In Smartphone Race

Back in mid-2008 the smartphone race was rapidly heating up. The App Store had just come out and experts were trying to predict who is going to be the winner in the space. While journalists, bloggers and pundits were pondering whether the iPhone will be the one to win it all,  I stuck my head out and called a “no winner” scenario.

Recent research from the Nielsen Group suggests that we currently have exactly that, with all 3 major smartphone platforms – RIM, Apple and Google, tied for 27% market share or a little less than 1/3 of the total market.  Here is the link to the original post.

It should be noted that the data in the article is from the US and excludes the remaining 6+ billion people in the world, many of which don’t have the same buying patterns or consumer preferences as their American counterparts.

Still, it is one tied race with no clear dominant winner. And it will likely stay that way for a while, especially with Microsoft joining in the race (never underestimate what the giant from Redmond can bring to the table) and Nokia taking the plunge.

Lies, damned lies and Appleinsider.com statistics

By now I should be used to all kinds of sponsored market research, shameless product propaganda and PR hype that knows no moral boundaries. I am in fact part of the most oversold to population in the history of humanity.

Yet when something so obnoxiously manipulated and clearly intended to misguide and distort the truth innocently presents itself as actual market research something inside me wants to scream.

Appleinsider.com just published some respectable-looking survey backed by some respectable-sounding company to the effect that the iPhone somehow managed to become the most satisfying business smartphone, by a wide margin.

The survey seems to give the venerable device what looks like a nearly perfect 778/800: if God himself were to do it, the subconscious message seems to be saying, he clearly wouldn’t be able to make things much better. And oh look how far ahead of the also-rans the iPhone is, compared to BlackBerry (703/800), Samsung (701/800) and the puny Palm.

I say seems of course because when you look closer to the axis and scale of the survey you start noticing things. Like how the visual axis scales from 600 to 800, and the small print says 1000 point scale. Ah, clever! Nearly got me there, appleinsider. If ever there was a visual way to make something that scored 70/1000 less points look half as good and what scored 15% less look as nearly pathetic by comparison, you have nailed it.

But that’s not what bothered me about this survey. True, I find it hard to believe that somehow the iPhone has become the most satisfying smartphone for business users by a wide margin, but I am used to listening to all kinds of iPhone-will-take-over-the-world-just-you-wait talk from pretty-looking websites that my brain has subconsciously stopped paying attention to “research” like this anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the iPhone. It is a pretty damn amazing device. As a mobile enterpreneur I also like it in a vested interest sort of way: a rising tide lifts all boats and if all my clients came to me and asked me to port all the enterprise-targeted BlackBerry apps I made for them to the iPhone, that will be good for the consulting line of my business.

I like the iPhone so much that even on occasion I entertain the intellectual thoughts of pundits and journalists (largely the latter) who speculate of the place of the iPhone in the corporate world (none) and when it will start to get adopted by enterprise users (never). I would explain, but then I would have to get into things like security, end-to-end encryption, IT policies, Sarbanes-Oxley, push email, the importance of battery life and seamless intranet access, and I just don’t want to get all technical here.

But what bothers me about this survey is Samsung’s place. Within rounding error from BlackBerry?? You surely must be kidding me.

I am sorry but I have a hard time taking this kind of bullshit seriously. The BlackBerry world has all those sites like blackberryforums.com, crackberry.com, pinstack.com, everythingberry.com to name just a few, where avid BlackBerry fans from around the world, corporate and consumer alike, convene to rave about their devices and drool over what’s to come. What does Samsung have in terms of user fan base? I only hear the sound of crickets.

Companies tend to be fairly rational when it comes to making their purchasing decisions, and if they were almost equally satisfied with the Samsung’s offering as they are with RIM’s, they would be buying roughly equal parts of both, right?

Except that the business crowd has been buying BlackBerries left, right and center. Of course they have, why else would the BlackBerry become the de facto pop culture symbol of modern day corporate affiliation? You don’t hear people talking about CrackJacks, do you?

How Samsung can “catch up” as a satisfying business device to BlackBerry is clearly beyond my comprehension. It certainly has nothing to do with the reality that I am seeing around me. Especially since Samsung’s devices largely run on Windows Mobile, an OS so despicably horrendous and notoriously buggy that reviews like this one are not at all uncommon (the review is for a non-Samsung device, but you get the point).

And I have not even gotten to things like security, end-to-end encryption, IT policies, Sarbanes-Oxley, push email, the importance of battery life and seamless intranet access.

I know, I know, the state of the economy is tough for everyone. iPhone sales have been sagging and with the major customers of market research firms either bankrupt, bailed out or about to go bankrupt and get bailed out, you must do research to whoever pays the bills. And should the outcome from the research be what your clients wanted you to prove in the first place, hey, let’s call this a lucky coincidence, shall we? I get it.

But please can we at least have some semblance of integrity? And please don’t try to brainwash me with your fake data and sponsored research. I am having none of it.