BlackBerry Still Rules the U.S. Says Analysts

Comparing market numbers for smartphones is a crazy game, with each survey, analyst and company filing saying different things. comScore—a market analytics company—claims that its research shows that Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerrys still have a hefty 37.3% chunk of the overall US smartphone market. Apple’s iPhone is holding steady at 24.3% and Google’s Android has climbed to 21.4%. This certainly paints a different picture than the unit sales numbers have doesn’t it?

What does not sit well for RIM however (besides Apple surpassing it in smartphones shipped last quarter) is that its corporate customers are jumping ship partially because BlackBerrys are no longer fulfilling their needs and partially because of the global recession. Companies are letting employees use their own phones for work in record numbers now to cut costs. That means far less corporate issued BlackBerrys to boost sales. RIM is compared to Nokia occasionally but its coming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and new operating system could turn things around dramatically.

Android’s rapid growth is expected and manufacturers are releasing new Android powered smartphones on a seemingly daily basis. Why not? Android means freedom for manufacturers to focus on building the best smartphone possible and freedom for customers to choose which smartphone they really want. The operating system’s long-term success will rely on the success of its Android Market (which is quickly growing) and international growth.

Interestingly, Apple’s iPhone is only part of the picture. While RIM is still working on its tablet and has no plans to compete against the iPod touch, companies are building Android powered tablets and personal media devices designed to go toe to toe with the iPad and iPod touch. So far however, Apple has the entire tablet market locked up and practically owns the entire ‘smart’ personal media player market.

Steve Jobs loves to talk about how many iOS devices are out there but everyone else wants to talk about how many smartphones are out there. Jobs might be right that the entire iOS market dwarfs the iPhone, but we need to give Microsoft time to get WP7 into stores, Google time to get Chrome onto tablets and manufacturers the time to start competing in the broader ‘smart’ personal electronic device market. Then we can make some comparisons.

Think Android media players will find success? Should tablet manufacturers be going with Android or should they wait for Google’s Chrome OS? Does RIM have the stuff to make the PlayBook a smash hit and reinvigorate its smartphone lineup? Apple a little too big for its britches considering its actual market share for smartphones? Let me know below in the comments!

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