Just between us, there's a difference between smartphones. Sure, we can argue about features, aesthetics, carriers, and even costs, but there's more to it than that.
We've seen it in our technology surveys, and now Nielsen has quantified it, too.
The type of smartphone you carry is a determinant of how app-active you are. In the new Jacobs Media Technology Poll, 95% of those with an Apple or an Android handset have downloaded apps, compared to more like 75% for BlackBerry.
Nielsen looked at it by the number of app installed, and the results are quite similar. As the chart below shows, the average smartphone owner has 22 active apps on their device. For those with Apple operating system devices, it's 37. Android is on the average at 22, while BlackBerry consumers only have 10 apps installed..
Interestingly, Nielsen blames the BlackBerry shortfall on workplace limitations and restrictions by saying that their "...relatively low number of app downloads (is due) to its significant corporate user share, which often locks the device and only allows corporate IT to install applications on the device."
While the quality and features of handsets counts for something - and in this case, many BlackBerry users are thrilled with their devices for business use - the secret sauce driving the mobile space is apps. It is why iPad is already showing strong signs of succeeding, and why so many other brands are lagging behind.
Understanding the true drivers in the mobile space is why Apple aims to stay on top. They are essentially using a simple, yet effective "crowd sourcing" model to facilitate an open flow of consumer creativity. Apple's App Store is like having your iPhone connected to the hot mall in town - and there are cool new stores opening up every day.
Google understands this, too, and while they feature more of a community-driven model, the end result is the same - lots of applications and an easy, simple consumer interface. The more hoops you make users jump through in the world of apps, the quicker you'll be out of business.
But there's one other factor that you won't see in anyone's tables or pie charts, and that's the "fun factor." Ask BlackBerry, Apple, Palm or Android users about how much fun it is to use their respective devices, and you're likely to get different stories. And I would submit to you that how they stack up on the "fun-ometer" today says a lot about how they end up faring in the future.
That's not just on the DL - that's the deal.