Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Z10, the leading smartphone?

I came across this article from the Globe & Mail, stating that the new Z10 as sold more than the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy SIII.
No numbers published, no details revealed...
It drives me mad to see that kind of article as they promote more than they inform. There are many ways to interpret numbers and the mobile market has been so creative in the last 3 years.
Some benchmark:
- Devices manufactured
- Devices shipped
- Devices sold
- Devices activated
Devices manufactured are rarely used to promote market share and rarely revealed. Basically, a company may have manufactured millions of items and have all of them in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere. All it can tell is that they have high projections numbers or not.
Devices shipped may tell another store. But again, it only means that retail stores and cell providers may have them in their own warehouse, ready to be put on shelves. They are not sold to the general consumer.
Devices sold gives a better view. The problem is that a device, priced at 0$ with a 3 years contract will gain market shares because the end user do not want to pay for his/her device. The market share, even if real in terms of people owning a device does not represents the actual interest in that particular brand.
Devices activated are basically the same as the Devices sold. Since all smartphones do need to be activated, this is almost a 1-on-1 factor.
There are many aspects when analyzing market shares. A brand new device may get a momentum for a few weeks. The arrival of a new device may lower the numbers as people will wait for the new version. The time of the year may impact greatly also. Think about December... And the aggregation or method of grouping brands and models will tell a totally different story.
A few examples:
- Apple vs Android: basically 2-3 models against a few thousands
- 0$ model against 600$ models: for sure, cheap will attract more
- New model vs A-few-months-old models: older models will sell less as people want the newest
Back to the Z10...
For a brief moment, they may have sold more Z10 than the competition. We are a few months after the release of the latest iPhone and the latest Samsung Galaxy SIII. That simply means that those who bought the Z10 were not interested in Apple or Samsung and they waited for the release of the Z10. The other users already got their iPhone or their Galaxy a few months ago, just in time for Xmas. So for a brief moment in time, the Z10 may have sold more, for a few days at least. That does not make the Z10 the most sold device of all time.
What I want to see: how many devices were sold/activated in the last year, by brand and models (not by OS).
As for my personal experience, all I see around me are iPhones and a few Galaxy's. when I say "Blackberry", people tell me about how bad their experience was and will never get a Blackberry again...
Maybe the Z10 will be a game changer for Blackberry, but stating that it is "the leading smartphone" is rubbish!
Patrick Balleux

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