Research in Motion Ltd. will hold onto its position among the top threesmartphone makers in the U.S. in 2012 but lose significant ground toAndroid phones in the next two years, Yankee Group Research Inc.predicted Tuesday.
Although RIM’s share of the U.S. consumersmartphone pie has fallen tonine per cent in 2011, Yankee Group expects it to bounceback up to“double digit percentages” in 2012. RIM will retain an enterprisemarket share above 12 per cent next year “and will still exceed thenumber of Android users,” according to Yankee Group’s 2012 mobilemarket forecast.
In both the consumer and enterprise spaces, RIM will fend offcompetition from Microsoft Corp.’s new Windows smartphones (put out inconjunction with Nokia Corp.) to stay in the top three with AppleInc.’siPhone and phones using Google Inc.’s Android OS, Yankee Group says.
“The death of RIM in smartphones has been greatly exaggerated,” thereport pronounces.
The BlackBerry’s ability to stay in the top three next year will bethanks mainly to its longstanding reputation as a more securesmartphone OS for enterprise use, Yankee Group says. It’s also viewedas a safer bet than investing in a newer, unproven platform like thenew, untested Windows phones, the study suggests.
RIM’s foothold will erode by 2014, however, as Android moves from thirdplace among enterprise smartphone platforms to an even share alongsideiPhone and BlackBerry, “so that it’s essentially a dead heat,” saidEugene Signorini, vice-president of Yankee Group’s enterprise researchgroup, during a Web cast of the study’s findings.
While Yankee Group’s forecast is only for the U.S. smartphone market,recent comScore Inc. figures show RIM is losing ground globally too.Itsworldwide share fell 4.5 per cent in Q3 to 17.2 per cent, whileiPhone’s grew one per cent to 28.1 per cent and Android’s rose 4.4 percent to capture 46.3 per cent.
According to Yankee Group, RIM will suffer as the popularity of Androidphones with consumers will bleed over into the enterprise as theconsumerization of IT trend – with more people using personal mobiledevices for work – continues to grow.
“This gain in (Android’s enterprise) share will be driven by increasingacceptance of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and come at theexpense of traditional enterprise stalwart BlackBerry,” the reportstates.
To regain its sliding position, RIM should break out of itslongstanding enterprise box to target consumer habits and tastes more,Signorini said.
“RIM needs to bring sex appeal (to its devices)…to appeal to the heartsand minds of users themselves,” Signorini said. “So 2012 will be acrucial year for them.”
As the Yankee Group report notes, “RIM is positioning its BBX OS as ameans to capture greater consumer appeal, but it has failed to deliverto the market yet. Time is running short.”
2012 could also be a make or break year for the new Windows phones,which have yet to generate a lot of promising buzz, he said.
“Windows phone really is the wild card…Microsoft and Nokia are making asignificant push towards relaunching a global kind of Windowssmartphone platform and really re-emerging here in the U.S. where theyhave virtually no presence.”
Among other Yankee Group mobile predictions for 2012:
Tablet sales in Asia-Pacific willsoar by 95 per cent in2012 to hit almost 39 million units, outstripping sales in Europe (26million) and the U.S. (25 million) next year. No big surprise sincemobile operators in China and India have signed up a billion new usersin the past five years compared with less than a tenth of that amounthaving joined the mobile stream in the old G7 markets.
Video consumption on tablets could more than double inthe first half of next year in “an explosion of video being deliveredto non-TV devices” by the likes of Time Warner Inc., CablevisionSystems Corp. andDirecTV Inc., the study says.
Yankee Group declares 2012 will be “the year personalcloud services move from nascentmarket status to high growth status,”forecasting one in five professionals with three or more devices willadopt a personal cloud service for online storage, backup and synching.
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