The Pulse of the Smartphone Market

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Focus on market strategy

Both RIM and Apple have been busy adjusting user market strategies as this year.

Apple first aimed for the consumer base, but its second iPhone clearly is much more enterprise friendly. The iPhone provides Microsoft Exchange server support and a remote "kill" feature for wiping an iPhone clean once if reported lost or stolen. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) has stated it expects iPhone unit sales to double in 2009. A million new iPhones shipped in the first weekend of its launch.

RIM, which holds 73 percent of corporate smartphone purchases, is charging after consumers with a newly announced marketing strategy called "BlackBerry for Life." The program promotes the BlackBerry's multi-media capabilities -- a big departure from its mainstay workplace applications that make it so popular with businesses.

Such strident moves, Reith said, will get both vendors greater marketshare. How much of that growth will be drawn from Palm's holdings is yet to be seen.

If Palm can move swiftly with getting its Linux system in place within the next year it will remain competitive, given emerging vertical smartphone markets within the health care, educational and agricultural segments. Such markets, Reith explained, will want specific applications for their respective work environments. A Palm Linux system could spur such applications. It would eliminate current licensing fees Palm pays for the Windows OS and lower device cost.

"They have some work to do, but the Linux system could be its salvation," said Reith.

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