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iPhone, BlackBerry steer phone design, price

updated 12:10 pm EST, Thu December 11, 2008

iPhone BBerry in ComScore

Apple's iPhone line and Research in Motion's BlackBerry have skewed the US cellphone market in favor of more expensive phones and designs, according to new ComScore m:metrics data. Following a year-over-year surge in which the iPhone jumped to second place for smartphone market share in the country, the researchers note that the average monthly percentage of touchscreen phones in use during the summer almost tripled from just 3.6 percent in September 2007 to exactly 10 percent a year later. Fixed QWERTY phones like the BlackBerry Curve also more than doubled their influence from 9.5 percent of users to 22.6 percent.

The shift towards higher-end phones is also reflected in declines elsewhere: the percentage of clamshell (flip) phones dropped substantially, falling from 71.7 percent to 51.5 percent in the same year-long span. Slider phones also climbed from 5.2 percent to 12.8 percent helped partly by a number of Windows Mobile phones with slide-out keyboards, such as the AT&T Tilt.

As a result of the smartphone shift, the typical asking prices have also crept upwards. While just over half (52.7 percent) of phones sold in the summer of last year cost $50 or less with a contract, these now make up only 44.9 percent. The largest jump came mostly from the $100 to $149 range that has included many entry-level BlackBerries, which spiked to 13.4 percent from 9.1 percent in 2007. The iPhone's influence was mostly felt in the $149 to $199 and $200 to $299 ranges, which each gained roughly a percentage point of extra share at 6.6 percent and 5.6 percent respectively.

Aside from Apple and RIM, Korean phone makers LG and Samsung were also considered leaders in the US, while increasingly budget-focused companies like Kyocera and Sanyo were hurt by similar amounts. Motorola and Nokia have also declined and typically sell lower-cost phones in the US than in other regions.



By Electronista Staff
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