Sep 26

Years ago Blackberry used to be “the Cadillac of smart phones”. The iPhone and Android didn’t exist in a time when CEO’s and VPs all owned Blackberrys. Smart phone was synonymous with wealth and business. Though times have changed, and the smart phone market is more mainstream, Blackberry still holds the wealthy mantel. According to a survey done by Prosper Mobile Insights, Blackberry is favored among the wealthy at 11.9%, which is about .4% higher than iPhone and a whopping 4.1% higher than the Android. But what is “wealthy” to PMI? According to them, anyone making over $150,000 a year. Perhaps that’s not what some consider wealthy, but it’s certainly very comfortable.

The survey didn’t stop there though. They checked several other income brackets, including anyone making $100,000 to $149,000. In that pay grade the favorites stay close to the same, but it has become evident that the Blackberry is losing some of their comfortable ground. The lower the income bracket the more the iPhone takes over the lead and Android begins creeping up to the Blackberry. People making between $75,000 to $99,000 favor the iPhone at 19.6%, with Blackberry at 18.7% and the Android right behind the Blackberry at 18.2%.

But where the iPhone begins the gain, so does the Android. Google’s Android phones have one advantage over iPhone, which is they offer their operating system on a wide variety of phones and are now available on all major carriers. With this in mind, more companies are able to create a wide variety of prices in their phones, which allow for more affordable phones for the middle to lower class. So when we get below $74,000 a year, Google’s Android begins to dominate.  But what else makes the Blackberry lose favor with the middle to lower class?

Games. Games are much easier to play with a touch screen, like everyone’s favorite Angry Birds, as oppose to Blackberry’s staple ball navigation. Not to say Blackberry phones aren’t worth it anymore. They are excellent business phones and can surf the internet just as well as the competition. They even dabble in the touch screen world, most notably with the Storm and Storm 2. But their strong point, and stereotype, will almost certainly always be in business. Even their old commercials played on this stereotype of the business suit go getters sending emails and conference calls on the go.

Blackberry doesn’t just lose out on games though. According to the survey 85% of iPhone users and 84% of Android users claim they download apps on their phones, while Blackberry users are at a low 59.9%. Does this mean there are less apps on the Blackberry? Probably not, and those numbers may have more to do with what the typical Blackberry user looks for in their phone. Blackberrys tend to be business ready right out of the box, which is enough for anyone using it as a business device. iPhone and Android play heavily on their apps, almost exclusively advertising apps as the reason to purchase their products.

So what does this survey really mean? Besides the obvious “times are changing”, the survey shows that competition on the smartphone market is looking good. With three major companies vying for the top spot we can expect nothing but improvements in both technology and choices. When one company innovates the other responds. Though Blackberry is just beginning to really kick start their competition (they have been rather comfortable at the top for some time) we should expect some surprising things around the horizon.

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