Fool Poll: Best Smartphone Investment

If you haven't checked into the world of cellular gadgets since buying that Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) RAZR, you've fallen a bit behind.

Good old-fashioned cell phones are officially passe; long live smartphones, the new kings of the mobile device world! According to research firm Gartner, mobile devices as a whole saw a 8.6% decline year over year, but smartphone sales actually saw a 12.7% increase over the same period.

So while other electronics companies face pressure from consumers tightening their belts and going for more affordable options (e.g., Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) and other computer builders seeing buyers opt for more affordable netbooks), smartphones are actually accelerating in sales versus their feature-light counterparts.

Before you vote on which company gives the best bang for your buck in the smartphone arms race, let's take a brief look at where the industry stands:

Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) -- The current market leader with an estimated 41% world market share. Nokia's not priced as aggressively as its competitors, trading at only 14 times trailing earnings, but it has struggled to maintain its dominant position against upstart competitors.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) -- Since Apple burst onto the scene with its iPhone, it's shown no signs of slowing growth. Its iPhone 3G S sold a million units in its first weekend earlier this month.

Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) -- Due in part to a promotion that gave consumers a "buy one get one free" offer on its Curve series, RIM has posted a series of strong quarterly results. However, even without promotions, RIM's traditionally business-user-focused phones have proven popular. A recent survey by ChangeWave Research found that more consumers planned to buy a BlackBerry than an iPhone.

Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) -- Don't be fooled by the familiar name; Palm is playing the underdog. After years of sliding toward irrelevance, the company regrouped to release its Pre smartphone, which is essentially an all-or-nothing gambit. Initial reviews have been positive, but the company still faces an uphill battle against larger, more cash-rich competitors.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) -- While Google doesn't build phones, its Android platform powers the G1 from HTC, and other phone makers, such as Motorola, are looking to build Android-powered phones.

Even after naming all these giants, there's still Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform and a host of other smartphone makers such as Samsung. After taking our poll, drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Eric Bleeker currently rocks an old Samsung phone while he waits for Verizon's holiday smartphone offerings. He owns no shares of any companies mentioned above. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Dell, Microsoft, and Nokia are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy is always by your side on a cold winter morn.


Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (20)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2009, at 4:28 PM, SiriusAboutGold wrote:

    I voted for Apple... But only because of the Sirius application that will push it over the top.

    Motley FOOLS is right, should have included a SIRIUS option! SIRIUS OVER A DOLLAR BY END OF SUMMER, MOTLEY FOOL END YOUR SHORT.

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2009, at 5:13 PM, TexasChris wrote:

    I too vote for Apple. There is a hope that they have the guts and the foresight to make their i-Phone the first phone not to be attatched to a single phone provider and be able to allow customers to transfer their phone from one provider to the next.

    I agree about the Sirius issue as well.

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2009, at 5:24 PM, Rg2scribe wrote:

    Did anyone hear the rumor that Buffett is considering breaking his “no technology investments” rule and buying a substantial tranche of Palm? Apparently Munger’s tried the Pre and is big on WebOS. And Buffett likes the Rubinstein-to-CEO move. Anything to this? Gosh, I hope so. And on Twitter, they say Obama’s trading his BB for a Pre. Anyone hear any of this? If so, no wonder the stock’s surging! Looks like Palm is serious about its business plan–in it to win it. They know they can’t compete with a behemoth that has more than $25 billion free cash and Steve Jobs as the quarterback. Then again, Palm was supposed to have died awhile back. Problem is, someone forgot to nail the coffin. We’re still buying. Technology will be the sector that leads the U.S. out of its current slump. No bubbles needed. Just pure innovation and execution. Ask Jobs. And Rubinstein. Fact is, the feisty little Palm has now placed itself squarely in the rearview mirrors of both Apple and RIMM, which will only make them better. Everybody wins. After all, isn’t that the objective of the game?

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2009, at 9:05 PM, RTFM2009 wrote:

    Hands down it’s iphone. It’s the blockbuster of 2009 summer and beyond.

    2 FAST (Every thing loads up so fast on my new iphone its just amazing, look at the other smart phone “iphone killer” ha ha ha ha still too clunky)

    2 FURIOUS (They will tease the competitors, but if some one challenges their market moat, then they will kill who ever comes too close)

    2 COOL (What’s not to love about the product design. They have some of the best Product designers in industry)

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2009, at 12:57 AM, greenwave3 wrote:

    Even if the PRE is a hit, PALM will still die a slow death. They cannot even think about competing with the R&D dollars from larger competitors. Their day in the sun was the birth of the PDA, and they've adapted to the current market slowly and poorly.

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 2:20 PM, mikeinla wrote:

    One point that no one is focusing on is that Apple is not the operating system commonly used in business. Word, Excel and PowerPoint are Microsoft products constantly used in business communication. The business community rarely chooses Mac computers. As smart phones close the gap to become true portable computers, the business world will be using products that work with the dominate operating system, and that's Microsoft. And before all you Apple fans scream that Macs interface with products like Word, I get documents typed on Macs emailed to me all the time that cannot be opened, and have to be redone in Word. A problem that may never be completely resolved.

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