BlackBerry Users Lust After iPhone, Android

Tempted by the phone of another

By Scott Budman
|  Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010  |  Updated 3:02 PM EDT
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Smartphone envy.

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The field of battle in the smartphone wars is narrowing.  A poll taken by Crowd Science shows the once-fierce loyalty shown by BlackBerry users seems to be ebbing, while iPhone users are as devoted as ever.

According to the survey, nearly 40 percent of BlackBerry users say they'd actually prefer the Apple phone. And 34 percent say, if given a choice, they'd go Android, choosing any one of 25 phones using the Google operating system over a Blackberry.

That's bad news for Research In Motion, or RIM, the maker of the BlackBerry.

There's a pretty obvious reason for the BlackBerry's falling loyalty rates: It's become a standard in corporate America, meaning that its phones have become a device force-fed to mobile workers by IT departments, rather than the device they'd pick if they were spending their own money.

Not all smartphone users are so promiscuous.  Far from it:  Crowd Science says of the iPhone users it polled, fully 90 percent say they plan to stay loyal.

Also raising some eyebrows: 60 percent of those who say they don't own an iPhone or BlackBerry want an Android as their next phone.

That's good news for Google. Its Android phones have captured some of the iPhone's cool factor for themselves.

"Google has done a good job of stirring curiosity, but it's a scary road ahead for RIM," Crowd Science CEO John Martin said.

These switching impulses can't happen overnight, of course.  Not while individual phones are chained to individual phone carriers, and businesses pick phones for their workers.

Wouldn't it be nice to buy the phone you want, pay a carrier its monthly fees, and just have it work with your corporate email? I'm convinced this will happen someday, just not right away.

People may say in a survey that they want Android phones, but the reality is that Google's contract-free Nexus One is a weak seller, with an estimated 135,000 units sold in 74 days. The iPhone sold more than a million units in a similar time after its initial launch.

Apple is still the king of the hip smartphones. But Google's brand oozes Web cool. Can it go mobile with its quirky, geeky image? Survey says there's hope for it down the road.

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