If a recent survey from market research firm Crowd Science is anything to go by, there’s dark times ahead for RIM, maker of the Blackberry smartphone. 40% of survey respondents said they plan to ditch their Blackberry handset for an iPhone when it’s time to upgrade. As if that wasn’t bad enough, another 32% of those surveyed said they’d be getting a Nexus One for their next smartphone instead of another Blackberry.
The survey doesn’t appear to have asked about other companies’ smartphones, but even if they didn’t, the story told by these numbers is bad enough as is: at best, only 28% of current Blackberry users plan on sticking with the platform.
The Crowd Science survey also gives some insight into why Blackberry users are ready to flock to other platforms. The Blackberry is usually seen as a stereotypically “business” phone and not one that the average user picks up for strictly personal use, and the survey’s numbers support that notion. Only 16% of Blackberry users said they used the handset for personal use only, compared to 28% of iPhone users and 32% of Android users.
According to The Wall Street Journal, about 10% of Microsoft’s employees are avid users of the iPhone. While it’s not surprising that tech geeks like those who work for Microsoft would be interested in the iPhone, what is surprising is the lengths some Microsoft workers go to in order to hide their “forbidden love” for a competitor’s device.
While workers openly use their iPhones around fellow employees, when senior executives walk by, iPhones mysteriously disappear. Some workers even try to disguise their iPhones with cases to make them look like any old smartphone.
While there’s no official ban on iPhone use at Microsoft, Steve Ballmer has made his stance on the issue pretty clear, saying that when his father worked for Ford, his family always drove Fords. Since Microsoft makes its own competing phone OS, it has to be irksome for executives like Ballmer to see employees using competitors’ hardware; the Journal compared it to seeing Coca-Cola workers sitting around drinking Pepsi.
Last week at GDC, I joked that I really only heard about two things every day: Facebook and the iPhone. Of course, that’s because I was mostly there to cover iPhone gaming (and certainly there were plenty of traditional game developers in the house), but those two platforms are definitely the hottest new frontier in gaming this year. Facebook offers a gigantic user base, and the iPhone offers unprecedented access (just $100 and a Mac), as well as a ready-made market place.
But a new report says that there’s a clear winner here: the App Store. The Flurry Smartphone Industry Pulse report says that both platforms are growing, but that the iPhone is growing faster, and they cite the App Store’s “monetization possibilities” for the reason that Apple’s store is now carrying twice as many applications as the Facebook platform. Facebook actually has more users (not surprising, considering it’s been around longer and it’s free, while you have to buy an iPhone to use its apps), but the iPhone has more developers and more apps available for sale.
The report also looks at “iPhone developer DNA” — where iPhone developers are coming from — and it actually seems like iPhone devs are starting out from a good mix of places. Some iPhone developers have traditional development backgrounds, but up to 20% of the developer base is composed of individuals with no past experience. The iPad will probably be a big driver in application development going forward as well. Since its announcement, Flurry believes that the number of “in development” iPhone OS projects started per month has gone up 185%. The App Store is already one of the biggest platforms of the past few years, and it’s only going to grow bigger.
A few of you recently ordered an iPad. Now, the obsessive calendar-watching begins. How can April 3rd seem so far away? Satisfy your need for up-to-the-second notification of your iPad’s whereabouts with one of these package tracking apps for the iPhone and iPod touch.
Delivery Status Touch (US$2.99) is my personal choice. It supports more than 25 delivery services, like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the good old USPS. Additionally, there’s built-in tracking for packages coming from Amazon, Adobe and, of course, Apple.
You can track several packages at once, and the main screen lists each at launch, sorted by color-coded listings. Shipments are accompanied by a big countdown to the delivery date. Once your goodie gets close, you can bring up a map and watch it approach. Finally, push notifications will satisfy even the least patient among us.