Nielsen, on the eve of a RIM announcement, has found loyalty among U.S. BlackBerry users to be far lower than among Apple iPhone or Android users. Its message? RIM needs a hit on its hands.
Nielsen, the venerable ratings company, has a message for BlackBerry maker
Research In Motion.
In Nielsen-run surveys with U.S.
consumers regarding smartphone use, the company found Google's Android
operating system to be the fastest growing in the last quarter-faster even than
Apple iOS, running on the range of iPhones. Apple, nonetheless, had both the
"most desired phone," in the iPhone, and the strongest loyalty rating
in the field.
"Among current subscribers thinking of switching devices, the iPhone
remains the most desired phone, finding loyalty with nearly 90 percent of
current iPhone users and enticing healthy slices of Android users (21 percent)
and BlackBerry owners (29 percent) to consider the move to Apple," Nielsen
reported in an
Aug. 2 blog post
"Android's loyalty among switchers (71 percent) outperforms BlackBerry
(42 percent)," the post continued, "where half of its users could
potentially choose an iPhone or an Android phone for their next device."
Nielsen's message to RIM? Whatever it has planned, it had better
get it right.
RIM will be holding a media event in New York
City Aug. 3, but it's unclear what exactly will be
One guess is its new OS. RIM has made no secret of its plans to release
the BlackBerry 6 operating system in the near term, offering
new details on its blog
During RIM's June 24 first-quarter earnings conference call with media and
analysts, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie told
participants that a "range of exciting new BlackBerry products" will be
arriving in "the coming months."
RIM is rumored to have both a new touch-screen-based smartphone and
a tablet device-potentially
named the BlackPad
-in the works. During the call, Balsillie confirmed that "two significant
product additions" will be debuting later in the year; that the company has
new platforms planned that are a "quantum leap" over anything
currently in the market; and that the form factors for media consumption are
"poised for redefinition."
"I just wish I could wind the clock forward a few weeks,"
Balsillie told participants on the call. "You'll say, 'I get it now.' When
you see the pieces come together, you'll say, 'Now I see what they were doing.'
And it is really
Despite Nielsen's ominous warning, RIM-thanks to its focus on smartphones,
which Nielsen predicts will overtake feature phones by the end of 2011-performed
well during the second quarter of 2010. According to a July 30 report from
Strategy Analytics, RIM
posted the highest year-on-year growth of any of the top-five vendors
placed fourth on that list), shipping 11.2 million units during the quarter.
Still, report author Neil Mawston described RIM as feeling pressure from
Apple and Android handsets. This may turn around with the launch of the
BlackBerry 6 OS, Mawston added, which is "sorely needed to improve [RIM's]
outlook in North America."