Consumer Preference, Market Share For webOS Drops

ChartAs opposed to their last report from September, which was somewhat ambiguous on Palm's current fortunes, ChangeWave Research's latest 90-day overview of the consumer smartphone space is decidedly more gloomy.

The survey of 4,068 consumers showed that in addition to Palm's marketshare falling slightly by 1%, consumer preference for webOS has also dipped in the face of fierce competition from new Android handsets, dropping from 8% to 4% of planned future smartphone purchases. As the report's authors note, Palm's best chance to boost their slowing momentum is their upcoming launches on new carriers, finally freeing them of the Sprint exclusivity that many have blamed for webOS's relatively unspectacular sales figures thus far.

webos marketshare Graph

There was one bright spot for Palm: the proportion of consumers who are "very satisfied" with their webOS device sits high at 58%, up from 45% in the last survey.

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palmt600 @ 1/5/2010 6:29:54 AM # Q
Consumer preference only represents how well and effective smartphone companies perform their marketing strategies. December '09 accurately reflects the influence and success of Droid Ads that ran during that period which were seen across various media outlets such as billboards and television commercials. Repetitive "Droid can do and iPhone can't do" lines.

With the upcoming CES event and Palm's focus in strengthening their marketing strategies, Changewave's next research statistics will likely show considerably higher consumer interest in Palm's webOS smartphone devices.

Meanwhile, Palm's pricing strategy in offering webOS across affordable Palm Pixi handsets with updates that support OpenGL 3D hardware acceleration will continue to help boost sales and drive market share even higher.

RE: marketing
nastebu @ 1/5/2010 5:08:49 PM # Q
palmt600 wrote:
Consumer preference only represents how well and effective smartphone companies perform their marketing strategies.

Isn't that like saying "batting averages only reflect how well a player hits, not how often he gets on base"? Even if Palm's hardware is competitive, the hint that they are dropping out of mind share is very difficult news. Without a huge announcement at CES, how can they get the press required to reverse that? OpenGL whatever isn't going to turn many heads.

(sorry for the American-centric sports metaphor)

RE: marketing
bhartman34 @ 1/5/2010 10:55:14 PM # Q
I think it's reasonable to say that it's not good news that Palm is losing mindshare to Android. But the question to ask is, just how bad is the news, and how much significance can you attach to it?

Given that the Droid is a newer phone, it was all but inevitable that the Droid would take some luster off of the Pre and Pixi. But the question to ask is, how long will that last? If Palm expedites the native app support that seems to be on the way, the paucity of their App Catalog offerings could very well be a thing of the past. Then there's Flash, WebGL, and the new app distribution process. Hell, there could even be movement on the video recording app. (It's not as if no one's put video recording on the Pre before, after all.)

Don't get me wrong: From what I've seen, the Droid is a damn good phone. But Palm obviously still has a few cards (no pun intended) left to play here.

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I have yet to see a webOS device in the wild.

pmjoe @ 1/5/2010 6:31:48 AM # Q
But Android ones are popping up everywhere. Part of this is probably because Sprint is not a popular carrier in my area, but IMHO it's not a good sign for Palm.

Palm needs to open up their developer / app distribution model as well to get the apps flowing. The closed Apple model is not going to work for them.

RE: I have yet to see a webOS device in the wild.
bhartman34 @ 1/5/2010 7:08:41 AM # Q
I'm in the same boat. The only Pre I've seen in the wild is mine. However, I can also count on one hand the number of iPhones I've seen. I think it's somewhat a question of whether or not you're particularly in the position/happen to take notice of what phone someone is using. You also have to take into account the relative size of the phones. Droids are more noticeable just because they're much larger than Pres. And finally, don't forget that the Droid is much closer to its initial launch date. It's somewhat predictable that a phone launched Nov. 6 would have more buzz in January than one launched last June.

I think you're right that Palm needs to open up the app distribution model. Hopefully, today they'll give more details about that plan to give developers URLs for their apps if they don't want to go through the App Catalog process. That's in addition to the expected announcement of upcoming support for native apps in 1.4. The announcement of an official video recording app wouldn't hurt, either. :)

RE: I have yet to see a webOS device in the wild.
pmjoe @ 1/5/2010 12:20:52 PM # Q
Oh, I see iPhones and iPod touches everywhere. I know 2 people who have bought the Droid Eris in the past week, and a couple more are considering ones. Nobody I know even talks about Palm anymore. Part of that has to do with not being on Verizon though. Pretty much everyone around here is either on AT&T or Verizon. Sprint is nearly non-existent here.
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in the wild

rpa @ 1/5/2010 1:20:28 PM # Q
I saw my first Pre in the wild a few days ago in Paris of all places. We were checking in for a flight back to the US and another passenger was showing off photos on his Pre screen.

Maybe I need to get out more....

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Palm's final nail has been put in place b/c they went with Sprint

imgreenlantern2 @ 1/5/2010 8:53:04 PM # Q
As a marketing major I remember saying early 2009, "Palm, you are a bunch of idiots going with the worst carrier in America Sprint, as the carrier to launch your new phone on."

I don't know if Palm got cocky or what, but it is almost like they thought it was January 2006 all over again with the Palm Pre. Back in 1/06 Verizon released the Treo 700w and it was huge. WHY? It was the only phone like it on the market. Competition was minimal.

If Palm had wanted to make a TRUE comeback, they should have gone with Verizon again. I would have bought one. I have always wanted a Palm Pre, BUT NOT EVEN FREE WOULD MAKE ME WANT TO BUY A PRE ON SPRINT'S NETWORK. Clearly, I wasn't the only one thinking that way.

RE: Palm's final nail has been put in place b/c they went with Sprint
SeldomVisitor @ 1/6/2010 5:04:43 AM # Q
Gotta remember Palm's financial history at the same time you think about what Palm did and didn't do.

Palm had LOST important carriers and was in dire financial condition, o much so that they had to get a cash infusion to even survive. They were trying to redifne themselves because they KNEW where they were wasn't going to work.

So they had to find a carrier that was willing to buy into a brand new product.

Sprint historically had backed Palm with, for example, the Treo 300. Sprint, too, had to have a game changer for their OWN financial reasons.

From my POV, going with Sprint seemed (after the fact) like a given.

I believe as well, however, that Sprint was greatly disappointed in the results. We already know Palm was disappointed with the sell-through out of Sprint, its main wholesaler (Sprint sold through to end-consumers, of course, but also to retailers like BestBuy).

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