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Apple iPhone Will Woo Away BlackBerry Users

The Apple iPhone will steal users away from BlackBerry smartphones, according to new research by Crowd Science.

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Signaling it might be time to start humming Squeeze's barroom mainstay "Tempted (By The Fruit of Another)," Crowd Science also found that only 14 percent of non-BlackBerry smartphone users would switch to a BlackBerry for their next smartphone purchase.

The survey results, culled from a random sampling of visitors to Web sites in Crowd Science's open research network, illustrates that the once-dominant BlackBerry is starting to lose traction as more consumer-focused smartphones like the Apple iPhone hit the market.

According to Crowd Science's research, one in every three smartphone user has an iPhone, a number that's sure to grow with last week's release of the Apple iPhone 3G S, which sold one million units in its first weekend alone. Further illustrating the stickiness of iPhones, Crowd Science found that about 82 percent of iPhone users are loyal to the brand.

And while BlackBerry users may soon join the iPhone using dark side, it might be premature to conclude that BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) has lost its edge completely. According to research firm Gartner Inc., RIM's BlackBerry line continued to capture smartphone market share in the first quarter of 2009, holding a 19.9 percent market share, up from 13.3 percent the year before.

Apple and its iPhone captured 10.8 percent of the smartphone market in the first quarter. Working in Apple's favor, however, is that its smartphone market share more than doubled in just a year. In the first quarter of 2008, Apple held just 5.3 percent of worldwide smartphone market share.

Crowd Science CEO John Martin said the results of the new survey, however, show that BlackBerry, which has long dominated the smartphone space, should start watching its back.

"These results reflect the great challenges BlackBerry faces in stemming the iPhone stampede," Martin said in a statement.

Martin added that Crowd Science will conduct further research shortly to look at the changing mobile landscape, investigating other new devices and the new class of touch-screen titans looking to unseat BlackBerry from its spot as king of smartphone mountain, like the Palm Pre and the new iPhone 3G S.

Along with showing that BlackBerry users are starting to question their loyalty, Crowd Science discovered that iPhone users outpace other smartphone owners in their use of a wide variety of phone functions, like Internet, email, music, Wi-Fi and GPS.

Additionally, compared to BlackBerry users, iPhone users reported a much higher satisfaction level with their smartphone. Crowd Science indicated that iPhone users are more satisfied than other smartphone users with their device's screen size, navigation, add-on availability and video playback.

Lastly, Crowd Science's study revealed that the vast majority of smartphone owners, 71 percent, use them for both business and personal tasks, while only 3 percent use them for business alone. That last statistic doesn't bode well for BlackBerry, which over the past several years has tried to shake its business-only stigma with a release of more consumer-focused smartphones.

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