If you ask the average person to name a smartphone, many of them will blurt out iPhone. Since the iPhone 3G launched the mobile device has become one of the most popular phones around.
New data was announced this week that shows the iPhone now holds 16.6% of the entire global smartphone market for the quarter ending in September. The top smartphone brand globally is Nokia with 43.6% of the market.
A year ago Nokia held a massive 63.6% of the smartphone market, the loss of slightly more than 20% of its market share is squarely due to the soaring popularity of the iPhone 3G. According to Electronista, analysts cite the iPhone 3G as the reason that the smartphone market hasn’t had a significant slowdown.
Smartphones from RIM and those running Windows Mobile saw slight downturns over the quarter. Microsoft's Windows mobile platform holds 17% of the smartphone market and Palm OS devices hold 10% of the market. Much of that is likely thanks to the low-cost Palm Centro that has been one of the best selling smartphones in America.
Analysts claim that the increasing popularity of the iPhone signals a wider preference for the business model used by Apple and Palm where they make their own operating systems and have control over the hardware.
Analyst Charlie Wolf from Needham said, "The Symbian operating system is generally considered to be less robust than Windows Mobile or the Palm OS. But Symbian was able to retain a huge lead over competing operating systems chiefly through Nokia’s endorsement and marketing muscle, especially in Europe, along with Microsoft’s difficulties in attracting major handset manufacturers."
Wolf doesn't feel that RIM's Blackberry Storm will gain traction and pose a significant challenge in the market. He cites high-profile mixed or negative reviews that show the Storm doesn’t challenge the iPhone and leaves traditional Blackberry users out.
Strangely, Electronista cites data showing that the iPhone is currently the second most popular smartphone in America behind the Blackberry. NPD released data in November that showed the iPhone was not only the most popular smartphone in America, but the best selling phone in the country overall.
It's interesting that while the popularity of the iPhone is undeniable, it still lacks some of the basic features that other phones offer. The iPhone has been criticized for its poorly performing camera that can't record video. The phone also lacks voice-dialing built-in, though some Apps for the device can fix that omission. Among the other missing features iPhone users wish for are copy and paste, the ability to synchronize iTunes over Wi-Fi, landscape view for the emails, and the ability to hide icons that aren't needed.
The iPhone also makes for an excellent gaming platform, though the iPod touch is faster by some accounts for gaming. Apple has also found itself in hot water over its advertising campaigns for the iPhone. The court proceedings center on ads that boast in a cheeky manner about the speed of the iPhone. Some consumers have claimed that the ads are misleading; Apple basically said in court documents that consumers who believe those ads are fools.