updated 01:35 am EDT, Sun June 1, 2008
iPhone Share Down in Q1
The iPhone's marketshare took a significant drop in marketshare over the first three months of 2008, says new research data from IDC. The handset dropped from its more than a quarter of all US smartphone sales">strong fourth quarter share of an estimated 26.7 percent to a significantly lower 19.2 percent for the first calendar quarter of 2008. Analysts at IDC don't specifically attribute the shift to any Apple weakness but instead suggest that close rivals, particularly Palm and Research in Motion (RIM), were able to increase their own share through important changes to their phone catalogs.
RIM jumped from 35.1 to 44.5 percent between the fourth and first quarters largely through further expansions of its BlackBerry range into the high-end home user market, which is still relatively new to the originally business-oriented company. Palm in turn raised its share from 7.9 percent to 13.4 percent based largely on sales of the Centro, which is considered one of the least expensive new smartphones on sale in the US and is targeted at first-time as well as price-conscious users trading up from comparatively limited devices.
Samsung also saw a small but significant gain from 5.1 percent to 8.6 percent, largely based on increased access to its Windows Mobile-based smartphones at Verizon. Motorola was the only manufacturer of the larger firms outside of Apple to have lost consecutive share, earning just a third of its earlier influence as it dropped from 7.5 percent to 2.6 percent. The RAZR creator is in the midst of splitting off its mobile business in a major bid to reorganize and save the group after several consecutive quarters of falling phone sales and lackluster products.
However, nearly all the companies in the market for more than the past year also saw year-over-year losses that are directly attributed by IDC to the iPhone's existence in the marketplace, suggesting a longer-term impact on their results. RIM dropped from a near-record 48.7 percent share, while Palm tumbled from 23 percent in early 2007 to nearly half as much in early 2008.
These numbers are expected to shift dramatically in the summer quarter between July and September, when both RIM's BlackBerry Bold and Apple's 3G-capable iPhone will be widely available through AT&T and are commonly expected to pull customers from other handset manufacturers. For both companies, the addition of 3G cellular Internet access for HSPA networks to their smartphones has been considered essential for wider adoption by customers anxious about slow data speeds.