updated 06:05 pm EST, Mon January 4, 2010
Fifth of smartphone buyers want Android
Nearly as many smartphone buyers want an Android phone as they do iPhones, ChangeWave finds in a new study. Following the November launch of the Motorola Droid, demand in the US for Android phones in the next 90 days has shot up from just 6 percent in September to 21 percent in December. The number puts it much closer to the iPhone, whose demand actually fell slightly to 28 percent.
The sudden switch is enough to put Android demand ahead of the BlackBerry (18 percent) for the first time. Other platforms have continued their steady decline in demand as Windows Mobile has lost a third of its demand, falling to 6 percent, while even Palm's webOS hasn't been enough to prevent demand from halving to 3 percent.
Appropriately, Motorola has reversed course and jumped from just 1 percent of demand as a hardware manufacturer to 13 percent; the increase not only puts its demand over Palm and HTC (4 and 9 percent) but is the first increase registered in over three years of studies, the analyst group says. When linked to individual phone makers, Apple still has a clear lead as 32 percent of respondents want an iPhone while only 21 percent want a BlackBerry.
The strong marketing campaign for the Droid, as well as favorable reviews, has helped Android gain publicity in the past two months and led to the sharp uptick. However, it's also noted that existing Android phone owners are nearly tied with iPhone owners for satisfaction, as 72 percent say they're "very satisfied" while 77 percent of iPhone owners say the same. Just 41 percent of BlackBerry owners claim the same while a third of Palm owners and a quarter of Windows Mobile owners reach similar levels of happiness.
While a potential danger to Apple, it's noted that the drop in demand for the iPhone 3GS has been much softer than after the iPhone 3G was released, hinting that Apple is relatively secure. BlackBerry and Palm success, however, are both likely to be contingent on new phones shipping in the early part of this year, such as the BlackBerry Tour2 and the Pre Plus for Verizon.