Wanted Dead or Alive: The iPhone Killer

Just got back from CTIA in Vegas, and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed this year. There were very few of the blockbuster product launches typical of the show. In the ever-present race to discover the elusive "˜iPhone killer’, there were only a few notable device announcements (Sprint’s Samsung Instinct being a highlight), even though a number of companies positioned their next device as the latest and greatest to take on the AT&T/Apple juggernaut.

This story has been the same since Apple announced the iPhone over a year ago. Now that the shine has worn off, it is time to take another look to see if anyone has emerged as the Apple assassin. Given that the majority of wireless shoppers plan to use the online channel to research their next purchase, we took a look at the online interest in the iPhone and its competitive set. What we found is that the biggest competitor for the iPhone is . . . wait for it . . . the iPhone!

No surprise, but the recently launched 16GB iPhone is the most heavily cross-shopped device amongst online shoppers who consider the 8GB iPhone by hitting a product detail page on att.com.

Given that most cross consideration occurs within a particular carrier, things get a little more interesting when we look at the devices that are cross-shopped across carriers. By looking at the cross consideration of the iPhone across carriers, you can start to get a picture of the early favorites for the devices that are most likely to draw interest away from the iPhone.

It raised a few eyebrows at the time, but when Verizon Wireless CMO Mike Lanman said that the LG Voyager would "kill the iPhone" upon its unveiling last October, he may have been onto something. The iPhone isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but Lanman’s device has proven to be the iPhone’s primary competitor the past six months.

The volumes may not seem high, but the fact that 4% of everyone who viewed the iPhone on att.com in February also viewed the Voyager on verizonwireless.com represents a healthy interest. That number did drop to under 3% in March, with T-Mobile picking up the extra interest across the lineup of Blackberry Pearl, refurbished T-Mobile Dash, and the Blue Blackberry Pearl.

The fact that a refurbished device is now in the consideration set for the iPhone may also be indicative that the iPhone has finally fallen from its illustrious perch into the realm of other plain old "˜cool’ wireless devices.

To look at the newest of the iPhones, you can see that the cross-consideration of the 16GB iPhone looks a little different. This higher-priced device skews heavily towards Verizon Wireless, indicating a less price sensitive consumer who is comparing Verizon’s pricier service and devices versus T-Mobile.

The Voyager still stands as the biggest competitor to the various iPhone models in the market, but with overall interest levels falling in line with other popular handsets, you can start to sense the need for the Cupertino crew to put out the next generation iPhone device. Mr. Lanman is waiting.

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