Android vs. BlackBerry vs. iPhone

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Rob Pegoraro is a technology columnist at The Washington Post. We recently interviewed him on our Motley Fool Money radio show. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation about the smartphone market in America.

Chris Hill: Right now, Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) BlackBerry has around 35% of the market, the iPhone has about 28%, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android about 9%. Three years from now, what do you think those rankings will look like? How much do you think that is going to change?

Rob Pegoraro: I see the iPhone number definitely going up. Android is definitely going up. comScore put out some new numbers and I think they have Android up at 13% already. Windows Mobile is going down, down, down. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) is moving to an entirely new generation Windows Phone 7, but it is doing work it should have done and completed a year or two ago. Research In Motion, they're kind of in Microsoft's position as well. For years they made phones that IT departments love, but consumers are not necessarily; how many people do you meet on your days off that say, "I really want to see my working mail show up on my phone instantly"? Is that a feature on most people's wish lists? I don't know. BlackBerry has a terrible browser that they are replacing. Their equivalent of an app store is late and slow and clumsy. Their interface is just not as elegant as the iPhone's or Android's, so they have got work to do.

Hill: Is there an untapped opportunity out there for BlackBerry?

Pegoraro: Hard to say. From what I have read about the next version of their operating system, due sometime later this year, they want to make it much more touch sensitive and try to get into that consumer market. I see two opportunities that are being left open a little bit right now by iPhones and Android devices. One of them is really simple synchronization with the calendar and contact software on your computer. The iPhone does that, but in Windows it is only with Outlook and so a lot of consumer home users, they don't have Outlook, so they have no way to sync up. The other is just a cheap, cheap phone and I think Palm in its own way has been sort of backing into that strategy. If you have seen how cheap you can get a Pre or a Pixie Smartphone, in fact, with some carriers they are not practically giving them away, they are giving them away.

Hill: Is that also an untapped opportunity for iPhone and Android, to just make a really scaled-down cheap version of their product?

Pegoraro: Android, yes, iPhone, no. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , they just don't do the stripped-down, entry level product anymore. They used to, if you go back 20 years or whatever. You had the Mac Classic, the cost-engineered version of their desktop computer. They don't really do that anymore. Google built the software to run on a variety of devices and they didn't all have to be $200, $100 Smartphones with all these capabilities.

Chris Hill owns shares of Microsoft, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Mac Greer doesn't own any of the stocks discussed. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (10)

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 July 09, 2010, at 8:03 PM, financeforfools wrote:

    Looks Like everyone is not paying attention. In the quarterly report just announced, the co-CEOs at RIM stated clearly that the unit volume for the current quarter will depend on how well they execute delivery to market of two new products and when. Nobody asked what the projected unit volume will be in total for the next 2 quarters due to the uncertainty of the new product delivery date. Rim is sitting on a record preorder for one of their new products that is equivalent to the total volume of all of their products shipped in the past quarter. The Us market erosion due to Apple and Motorola competition is not a problem for their explosive growth. They are going to have to execute on all cyclinders just to deliver committed orders. Look up some of their key suppliers to verify RIM's committed volumes for the next 2 quarters.

  • Report this Comment On July 10, 2010, at 8:44 AM, mhonarvar wrote:

    everybody is loving apple and andriod...but rimm isn't disapearing..the stock is very cheap right now and they will continue to grow.

  • Report this Comment On July 11, 2010, at 11:32 AM, stanpowellwg wrote:

    I am puzzled about whether Rimm is disliked so much because it is Canadian or the products. It seems to me and I own like Rimm that they are making the right moves to be a worldwide player. Smartphones are big and like cars there is room for a number of key players. Judge them by the new product cycle, and I agree it is important and will not disappoint. I still believe smartphones in the future will have a fewer key apps. I don't see business functioning or allowing employees to play games and watch media and still be productive in the workplace. Rimm's fault is it is a smartphone company and lacks other products to fuel growth in different sectors.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2011, at 7:51 AM, infektu wrote:


    100% in 2004 simply meant that there were no other players. This was surely a situation that could not last, as other players entered a huge and profitable market.

    In absolute units RIM has grown at 30-40% per year, every year since. They have grown faster than Samsung and LG and way, way faster than Motorola or Nokia. The only manufacturers that keep up with them in numbers and quality are HTC and Apple (although Apple seems to have slacked a bit on quality recently as the margin war heated up).

    So your statement that RIM had fallen 30% is totally erroneous and it's more akin to wishful thinking.

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