iPhone Killers?

As of yesterday, consumers could bring home the new T-Mobile G1, an HTC-designed device that will be the first to run Google’s Android operating system. Could the G1 emerge as an iPhone Killer?

Although only time will tell what consumers will choose, I took a look at the competitive field to date to see if any of the top 5 mobile devices most viewed by online iPhone researchers at AT&T’s site has succeeded in capturing significant interest over the past three months.

Note: In September, AT&T pulled the LG VU from its national line-up; the Sony Ericsson W350 became available in mid-August 2008.
  • Although it dropped out of the Top 5 in September, Sprint’s Samsung Instinct was the only device to attract the attention of more than 5% of iPhone researchers in any month. In fact, the Instinct held the #1 position for both July and August.
  • Three devices have been in the Top 5 for all months following the iPhone 3G launch: the AT&T Tilt, the LG Dare, and the Pantech Duo.
  • Two new devices entered the Top 5 in September – the Sony Ericsson W350 — Ice Blue and the Motorola Q Global.

So what implications might this data have for the G1 and other smartphones coming on the market? The first takeaway is that it’s been difficult for any devices to attract the attention of a critical mass of iPhone researchers on the carrier site.

With the exception of Sprint’s Samsung Instinct and AT&T’s Tilt, the top 5 devices each month only captured the attention of around 3% of all iPhone shoppers. But now may be a good time for new market entrants to jump in and grab some media attention now that coverage of the iPhone has slowed a bit.

Second, it looks like phones with both touchscreens and/or physical QWERTY keyboards are potential contenders for attention. Each month, the top 5 has contained at least one touchscreen phone and at least one with a physical keyboard.

With all of that said, the term "iPhone Killer" may be a bit of a misnomer — it would be incredibly difficult to either duplicate the excitement around Apple’s latest release or, even better, the iPhone 3G’s sales numbers. But, with the G1 and other smartphones due to launch in the next few months, we’ll see if anyone can take the belt from the Instinct as the strongest "iPhone Contender".

For more on devices that have been competing with the iPhone for online consumers’ attention, see our October 10th blog post.

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