Separating the Smartphones From the Dumb Ones

There are no shockers in market tracker comScore's latest data on smartphone platforms.

Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iOS and Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android continue to gain in popularity, posting healthy market share spurts between February and May of this year.

Obviously, there can't be winners without losers, and Apple's and Google's success is coming at the expense of Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , and Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) Palm.

Let's take a closer look at comScore's findings, which pit the three months ending in May against the three previous months:

 

February 2011

May 2011

Android

33.0%

38.1%

iOS

25.2%

26.6%

RIM

28.9%

24.7%

Microsoft

7.7%

5.8%

Palm

2.8%

2.4%

Source: comScore.

It's not a surprise to see Android growing faster than Apple. Several carriers and handset manufacturers are routinely putting out Android handsets. Apple is down to annual refreshes, and it's now been more than a year since the last iPhone update.

RIM and Palm -- the two companies that pioneered this space before Apple crashed the party -- continue to slide. Mr. Softy's decline isn't all that problematic now that we know that Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) will be championing Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 as its smartphone platform of choice.

It will be interesting to see how the market shakes out from here. It's not just Microsoft with catalysts for hope. HP began shipping its TouchPad this month, and the webOS-powered tablet may rekindle interest in the smartphone operating system.

The widening gap between Apple and Google will also bear watching.

The iPhone was never going to be the smartphone for the masses with its high price points and reliance on the country's two most expensive wireless carriers for connectivity. However, the last thing Apple wants to be is a fading silver medalist in a niche it redefined.

Stay close. This race is getting interesting on many different levels.

What would you like to see in the new iPhone when it hits the market in two to three months? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is hoping that he has plenty of choices since he's due for an iPhone upgrade later this year. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


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  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2011, at 11:28 AM, techy46 wrote:

    It's kinda like separating smart diners from dumb ones. You'll find that the most popular eateries are not necessarily the best one (McDonalds) and I'll bet that holds true across most consumer products (autos, clothes, gadgets, movies, music, etc.) . Usually, a products initial popularity is more a factor of fad, hype and marketing than product quality. However, once commodity availablity takes hold and true economic facts become known the better solutions gain traction. Let's see how 2012-13 shakes out in consumer mobile electronic gadgets.

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