BlackBerry Storm Gaining Momentum in Smartphone War with iPhone


ChangeWave Research's new survey looks at the marketshare of the RIM vs Apple. New RIM products such as the BlackBerry Storm have provided a jump in consumer
planned buying that suggests RIM is gaining steam.

The ChangeWave survey of 3,803 cell phone owners looked
at smartphone market trends. It also reviewed consumer reaction to RIM's
launch of the BlackBerry Storm and how it compares to the Apple iPhone.
The December 9-15, 2008 survey was conducted just weeks after the
Storm's initial release.

A total of 12.2% of respondents plan on buying a
smartphone over the next 90 days, 0.3% more than previously, surveyed by ChangeWave.

RIM (41%) is still the consumer market share leader, it has fallen 1-pt
since the previous survey in September to its lowest percentage of the
last 12 months.

At the same time, Apple (23%; up 6-pts) has witnessed explosive
growth - up 6-pts just since September. Importantly, its overall market
share has more than doubled in the past six months - a direct result of
the late-June release of the 3G iPhone.

Apple and RIM, together, now control two-thirds of the smartphone market, as smaller/weaker players such as Palm (9%) have proven
unable to compete.

Next 90 Days - Winners and Losers.

The picture going forward points to changes in the smartphone market.
RIM (39%; up 9-pts) shows real momentum due to its slew of new product
launches - e.g., the Storm, Bold, Pearl Flip - and appears capable of
giving Apple a real run for its money in the first quarter of 2009.

Moreover, after the huge wave of enthusiasm generated by the 3G
iPhone launch, Apple consumer planned buying (30%; down 4-pts) appears
to have settled down somewhat.

So approaching the first quarter, the ball has shifted back into
BlackBerry's court in the form of a big uptick in consumer interest
which they can potentially capitalize on. But is the new RIM lineup of
consumer products strong enough to take full advantage of their
increased demand?

BlackBerry Storm vs. iPhone Survey Reactions

The current survey took a close-up look at the reaction of 61 owners
of the new BlackBerry Storm, and compared the results to a similar
survey in July 2007 of new owners of the original iPhone.

The overall satisfaction rating given by new owners of the
Blackberry Storm can, at best, be characterized as lukewarm. One in
three Storm owners (33%) said they were Very Satisfied with their new model, well below the 52% Very Satisfied rating given by all current owners of BlackBerry smartphones.

The Storm satisfaction rating is similar to that of
mid-tier smartphone manufacturers like Nokia (32%), Motorola (32%),
HTC (31%) and Samsung (30%). While far from bad, it's mediocre - which
means it's a potential concern regarding RIM's head-to-head battle with

For comparative purposes, here's how the BlackBerry Storm's
favorability ratings stack up against those of the original iPhone
(taken in a survey of new iPhone owners in July 2007, less than a month
after its initial release).

As the chart shows, the original iPhone's Very Satisfied rating (77%) was more than double that of the new BlackBerry Storm (33%). Importantly, the Storm's Unsatisfied rating (14%) is three times higher than that of the original iPhone (5%).

BlackBerry Storm: Key Likes and Dislikes

Respondents were asked what they liked best and disliked most about
the Storm. The results show that RIM made the right choice in producing
a touch screen phone, being that it's a highly popular option in the
smartphone market. One-in-two (49%) say Touch Screen Interface is what they like best about their BlackBerry Storm. Other key likes include Screen Size (46%) and Screen Resolution (43%).

At the same time, the touch screen interface represents one of the
BlackBerry Storm model's biggest Achilles heel. In terms of dislikes, Lack of a QWERTY Keyboard (21%), Touch Screen Interface (20%) and Difficult to Use (20%) were top issues, along with Short Battery Life (21%).

Bottom Line

The smartphone market is now dominated by two companies - Apple
and Research In Motion. According to our survey results, the Apple
iPhone trails the RIM BlackBerry in terms of current market share - but
the iPhone has experienced strong growth since its inception and
explosive growth since the release of the 3G model in July 2008.

Going forward, RIM is showing a surge in momentum due to its slew of
new product launches - and appears capable of giving Apple a strong
challenge in 2009. But the real test in a cutthroat market is how
satisfied consumers actually are with their new models.

In this survey, we found the BlackBerry Storm's satisfaction rating
to be middle-of-the-road - lagging behind the average rating for other
RIM BlackBerry models. It's not that the BlackBerry Storm is a bad
phone. It's just that the initial launch has glitches which have
resulted in a mediocre satisfaction rating.

Competitive pressures may have caused the Storm to be launched
before it was quite ready for primetime. But if RIM can rapidly fix its
initial glitches and bugs, the survey shows that this new offering -
along with RIM's other recently released models - will provide
accelerated momentum for RIM in 2009.

View ChageWave's Report

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