In a world in which Apple and its iPhone are spoken in about in hushed tones of reverence, it's a bit discordant to see that NPD found that Research in Motion's BlackBerry Curve, not the iPhone, was the best-selling smartphone in the United States during the first quarter of 2009. The iPhone 3G was second, followed by two more BlackBerry entries, the Storm and Pearl. The top five was rounded out by the T-Mobile G1. NPD said that a lot of the Curve's gains were due to a "buy one, get one free" offer from Verizon Wireless.
There is good reason that the iPhone is the device against which all others are measured, whether or not it gets nosed out in a specific quarter. In the JD Power and Associates 2009 Customer Satisfaction survey, the iPhone That was 40 points more than the industry average, 19 points more than runner-up LG, and 52 points more than the BlackBerry. The weighted scoring covered ease of operation, operating system, features, physical design and battery function.
The battle for consumers and enterprise users will continue. It won't be limited to devices, either. I've written about the great growth of app stores. Whether it is a heavy-duty enterprise app or something downloaded from an app store for a couple of bucks -- or free -- the reality is that innovation will be key going forward. That's certainly a good thing, and something that will benefit end users. For instance, at the RIM Wireless Enterprise Symposium, Hewlett-Packard and the host company will introduce CloudPrint, which enables BlackBerries to use any printer without installing a driver. That's the kind of common sense application that people want. Some will go with RIM due to that feature, and the other vendors will play catch up. At the end of the day, such a function likely will be common.
The bottom line is that there will be a lot of news out of the smartphone sector going forward. It is still hot, at least comparatively so in these tough times, the platforms continue to expand, and it has become home to a huge number of creative people.