The smartphone boom has carried all manufactures with growth for sometime. The consumer wants a phone that can connect to the web, primarily to Twitter, Facebook and other varieties of social networks. The consumer enjoys apps, they want a phone that can play Angry Birds but how much do they care about exactly what manufacture of device or OS? In the past the sales figures would suggest that the user is not too bothered by which device or OS. Standing in a mainstream mobile phone shop in the UK illustrates the current situation very well. There are two consumer types:
1. The "I must have xyz OS / Manufacture". These are typically people who enjoy technology and have researched their buying decision carefully.
2. The "I must have a phone that goes online". These people, quite probably the majority, listen carefully the sales persons advice and are wary of the shop trying to sell them the most expensive.
So category one will be driven by blogs, tech articles and their own experience. Category two are easy conversions for the sales person to earn the commission by selling an Android phone. Its an easy sell - not the most expensive but does everything the most expensive does (the iPhone).
This impact coupled with the confusing direction Nokia have taken and the below benchmark standard devices that RIM pedal the most recent sales data is no shock.
In Q1 2011 Nokia has nose dived, and RIM have shown the first drop in sales since at least Q3 2007. The manufactures driving Android forwards are booming, take a look at Samsung and HTC their growth rate is competing with Apples growth rate.
This year will be an interesting time in the smart phone land, if RIM and Nokia don't get a move on, their game could well be over.