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Smart Phone Battle Transforms into Two-Way Race Between RIM and Apple

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The battle for supremacy in the smart phone industry has transformed into a two way race between Research in Motion's BlackBerry and the Apple iPhone, according to a March 17 to 24 ChangeWave survey of 3,597 consumers.

The survey shows RIM dominating in terms of current consumer smart phone market share; however the Apple iPhone shows tremendous momentum going forward. In addition, the survey reveals accelerating woes for smart phone maker Palm and its Treo.

In terms of the current marketplace, the RIM BlackBerry (42%; down 1-pt) maintains its huge lead among consumers while second place Palm (16%; down 2-pts) continues a two-year decline. This was the seventh-consecutive ChangeWave survey in which Palm's market share has dropped.

Closing in fast on Palm is the Apple iPhone (9%), which continues to score exceptional growth in the smart phone market. Customer satisfaction ratings point out why.

The iPhone receives an astonishing 79 percent 'Very Satisfied' rating among its owners -- considerably ahead of all other manufacturers in the smart phone market including second place RIM (54%). Palm (22%) once again ranks at the bottom in terms of customer satisfaction.

Future Growth - The iPhone Has Momentum

Better than one-in-three (35%) respondents planning to purchase a smart phone in the next 90 days say they'll purchase an Apple iPhone -- a 12-point leap since the previous survey in January.

"The biggest reasons for the surge are the recent Apple announcements on the iPhone Software Development Kit and the new 2.0 Operating System," said Tobin Smith, founder of ChangeWave Research and editor of ChangeWave Investing. "One-in-10 respondents now say they're more likely to purchase an iPhone in the future because of the new software."

Mobile OS Wars: RIM vs. Apple vs. ... the Google Android Operating System?

The ChangeWave survey also asked respondents which mobile operating system they'd like to have on the smart phone they plan on buying. Once again, the consumer market is dominated by the RIM and Apple operating systems.

Although the Google Android operating system isn't being offered yet to the general public, the survey does provide an initial look at the Android's market potential. And while the number of respondents saying they're Very Likely to use the Android was just 2 percent, another 15 percent did say they're Somewhat Likely to use the new OS.

"These numbers do show some consumer interest in the Android Operating System," said Smith, "but based on the ultra-competitive battle between RIM and Apple, there's little likelihood of the Android gaining traction on either one's OS. They're sucking up all the oxygen in this market."

"The Android's potential niche appears to be with a handful of second tier smart phone players like HTC," he added.

RIM vs Palm vs Apple Market Share

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