The major smartphone makers are gearing up for a second-half showdown. The new iPhone 3GS launch in mid-June came less than a week after rival Palm unveiled its widely hyped Pre smartphone, and a week before RIM announced its planned debut of the new BlackBerry Tour in the coming months.
Stiff competition has eroded Apple's smartphone market share to just 19.5% in the first quarter of 2009, from 30.1% in the third quarter of 2008, according to IDC. BlackBerry maker RIM's share rose to 55.3% from 40.4%. Palm's share continues to stay below 4%.
The new iPhone's sales have been stellar, selling one million units in the first week. That compares to just 50,000 for the Pre's first week, though some analysts say sales have perhaps neared half a million since then. Yankee Group expects Apple and Pre to win back some market share by the end of the year and BlackBerry to fall back just a bit.
Still, it would be foolish to get caught up in the hype and count out market leader BlackBerry. Experts note that iPhone sales have typically started strong and tapered off after a new release, whereas BlackBerrys -- which are sold on every major carrier -- are less volatile.
And if flashy and new is your thing, analysts widely expect RIM to unveil a touch screen BlackBerry with a physical keyboard, much like the Pre, in the coming months to keep Apple and Palm at bay.NEXT: PC sales