This week saw some interesting news regarding Google’s mobile marketshare. According to data from comScore, Google saw the largest gain in the smartphone market. This is no surprise, given that 2009 saw the release of several Google Android-powered handsets, including Motorola’s DROID. But Google’s gain wasn’t at Apple’s expense either, as the iPhone also continued to gain last year.
Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, and Palm each saw slight declines in the smartphone market. This is actually a bit of surprise, considering the strong sales with the BlackBerry Tour world smartphone and the reasonable success of the Palm Pre – the latter phone launching exclusively on Sprint, a carrier that didn’t exactly have a banner year in 2009. According to comScore, RIM saw a decline of about 1.0 percent, while Palm dropped 2.2 percent, and Microsoft also saw a drop in marketshare by 1.0 percent as well. Apple saw an increase of 1.2 percent while Google jumped by 2.7 percent.
In the smartphone arena RIM is still king with 41.6 percent of the smartphone segment, and Apple was at 25.3 percent (both figures as of December 2009). Google’s jump, which seems significant, needs to be considered more closely. This brings the company’s marketshare in smartphones to just 5.2 percent. So on the one hand it essentially doubled, but it did so thanks to just a few new models.
And this was after just a year on the market. Clearly, Google is a force to be reckoned with, and we’ll be interested to see how the market shapes up with the release of the Nexus One for T-Mobile. This phone has been called everything from the iPhone killer to an underwhelming smartphone that isn’t quite the killer app it promised to be. If the Nexus One does take off, especially if the rumors of an official release on AT&T prove to be true, Google could likely chip away at RIM’s share as well as Apple’s; and if users hang up on the Nexus One, the simple fact is that Google is hedging its bets wisely with many models for many carriers.
In other words, Google is taking a cue from both RIM’s and Apple’s playbooks. As with RIM it is providing a few different models to a multitude of carriers. Thus it covers the market nicely, but at the same time Android phones are appealing to the same type of user base that likes the iPhone – a phone that can mix work with pleasure, and relies heavily on those apps. As a result, we expect to watch that marketshare grow.
Google Lowers Cancellation Fee
And speaking of the Nexus One, this week Google bowed to pressure from the Federal Communications Commission and has revised – and thus reduced – its “equipment recovery fee” (that’s doublespeak for cancellation fee) from $350 to $150 for customers who cancel their T-Mobile subscriptions after 14 days, but within 120 days. Google doesn’t charge customers who have a change of heart before the 14 days expire.