iPhone OS download rate 10X Blackberry

Today, Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie said his BlackBerry App World has 20 million registered users and nearly 1 million daily app downloads.

via Apple Doing 10-20X As Many App Downloads A Day As BlackBerry.

As previously stated, The App download rate increased to a record 10,753,000 per day during the last 90 days.  That makes the download rate for the iPhone platform 10x that of the Blackberry Platform.  The iPhone platform is nearing 100 million installed base.  Blackberry is citing 20 million registered users.  I think everyone is pretty clear on where this is going.

App Stores Grow Dramatically, Ovi Climbs to Third Place

The last four months have seen tremendous app growth. Apple grew by 59k apps while Android added nearly 10k and Nokia added 5.5k apps to Ovi.

As a percent, Palm grew the fastest with 1,352%, followed by Ovi with 827%. The slowest growing was actually Blackberry App World with a mere 56% growth.

More curious is the popularity of certain categories. Games and Books are dominant in the App Store, while Personalization and Music account for more than half of Ovi (ringtones and wallpapers?)

Finally, in terms of catalog ranking overall, Ovi climbed the league table to third spot behind Apple and Android and overtaking Blackberry App World. Palm overtook Windows Mobile Marketplace which is now dead last with 693 apps.

link: Distimo Mobile World Congress 2010 Presentation – Mobile Application Stores State of Play

Blackberry Users Consume One Fifth the Data of iPhone Users

As mentioned before, Blackberries should not be thought of as smartphones.

Consumer Reports announced this week the results of a study it commissioned assessing the monthly data usage for customers of Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones. The data reveals:

On average, iPhone users consume 273 MBs of data per month. That compares with 54 MBs for consumer users of Blackberrys and 150 MBs for consumers who use other brands of smart phones, the Validas study found.

The disparity in data usage is particularly evident at low levels, where 80% of BlackBerry and 54% of “other” smartphone users consume less than 50 MB of data per month while only less than 20% of iPhone users maintain such low usage.

As I argued in the past, Blackberries should be considered feature phones. Doing so helps to understand both their limitations and their potential.

This categorization helps put into perspective the phenomenal growth RIM is able to maintain while not being at all competitive with other platforms by any measure of performance that defines the basis of competition in smartphones.

Being a feature phone means the Blackberry just needs to be better than a dumb phone, something it’s more than able to demonstrate to a prospective buyer.

Blackberries are not Smartphones

It’s time to re-evaluate the categorization of smartphones. The term has always been problematic. It loosely means a phone that runs an advanced operating system and has third party SDKs. There is no industry standard definition and some call it a converged device or a multimedia device. One analyst famously said that the iPhone did not count as a smartphone on launch because it was not open to developers.

I’d propose a different definition, not based on the attributes of the device, but the jobs that the device is hired to do. This is in a way, the same distinction between Facebook and MySpace. They are clearly hired to do different things by their users and as a result don’t directly compete. When you do this job-based segmentation, you realize that iPhones, Android devices and Windows Mobile and Palm are fairly similarly used. Blackberry, however, does not match the profile. (Neither do most recent Symbian devices, though for different reasons.)

The most common jobs I can see in use with the first cohort of devices is (Comscore data exists to back this up)

  • browsing
  • social networking
  • applications/games
  • email
  • media consumption
  • navigation

The Blackberry has relatively poor utilization of any function except for email and perhaps social networking (though the latter is not likely in company-sourced devices). The focus on a large number of jobs to be done is what distinguishes smartphones from the more limited “feature phones”. By this logic Blackberry is hired as a “feature phone”.

It’s also instructive to follow commentary among enthusiasts. It’s fairly clear that this segmentation exists implicitly: Android, iPhone, Palm and WinMo are comparable while Blackberries are for a different demographic, different user, different usage.

Finally, there is the gut check. It’s become clear to me that what users do with Blackberries is similar to what they do with voice phones: voice and messaging. Although additional functionality is available, it hardly gets used because it’s hard to use.

But you may ask: so what? The reason this is significant is that smartphones are embryonic mobile computers with a clear trajectory for improvement. Feature phones are overshot voice phones which are likely to be disrupted by data-centric entrants.

On a different level, it also means that growth stats for the two product types are not comparable. Saying that the Blackberry is outgrowing the iPhone (or vice versa) is meaningless.

It also means that Blackberries, being an evolution of voice products, still have a huge growth potential with those customers which are looking for messaging as an improvement for their good enough voice products and for whom smartphones are over-serving.