Perceived wisdom in media circles over the past few years is that Apple's iPhone is the dominant smartphone in the U.S. and will continue to grow in market share. Advertisers only wanted inventory on iPhones (no one else used their phones for media, it was believed) and the iAd was the last word in completing a mobile media buy. Last year's Android sales and reports from other mobile ad networks proved that one wrong, but now we have actual proof that the BlackBerry is not an old white guy device that people only use because their work says they have to. And these recent stats also reveal that advertising actual works, at least in the case of BlackBerry.
ComScore in its "Year in Mobile 2010" report notes that BlackBerry had done exactly what it intended to do with its newest phones: actually appeal to someone under 40. This chart shows that with each operating system release its users have gotten younger and that BlackBerry has the most sizeable bunch of people in their user base under 35.
BlackBerry parent Research in Motion launched the Torch last summer -- a touchscreen with a slide out keyboard -- with ads featuring a San Francisco bike messenger and a hip chick in a Brooklyn-esque coffee shop. It seemed to be trying a bit too hard, sort of like Austen Powers saying "I'm hip, I'm with it," but people clearly bought it. Now its turning to the app market to prove that yes, you can find the apps and use them on one of their phones. Its current campaign is an interesting new take on advertising for mobile devices. Rather than showing scary sci-fi-ish space robots like Android or happy friendly apps like Apple, RIM tells us that we don't really want all those apps the others guys have, you want our more utility-driven and really useful ones (like Poynt, which is a grown-ups version of Foursquare combined with the Yellow Pages). Let's see what this chart looks like in another six months. A company once written off may be back in the game. Thanks advertising, you really work!
For this and other useful insights for marketers on the rapidly changing dynamics of the mobile market, check out the Mobile Marketing quarterly series and the recently updated primer, What You Need to Know About Mobile Marketing 2011.