The Palm Pre, Blackberry Storm/Bold, and Google G1 hype have made the smartphone market so noisy that everyone’s forgotten about the iPhone (AAPL), right?
Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt looks at the smartphone mindshare war through the window of Google Trends. No question about who has been–and still is–winning this one:
Think of the jagged light blue line in the fever chart [above] as the bubble of hype that keeps Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone floating above of its competitors.
It’s a snapshot of a Google Trends chart comparing the number of times the word “iPhone” appears in a Google search request with the words “Palm” (PALM), Research in Motion’s (RIMM) “BlackBerry,” Microsoft’s (MSFT) “Windows Mobile” and Google’s (GOOG) “Android.”
Android, by the way, is the tiny blue line at the bottom, which barely registers. Blackberry’s the light orange one, which is at least headed in the right direction.
[Y]ou can click here to recreate the chart on your Web browser…
You can see right away why it’s so hard for Apple’s competitors to be heard above the din. Those spikes (A, B, C, etc.) marked by randomly chosen news articles are triumphs of event marketing orchestrated by Steve Jobs and amplified by the writers — including this one — who follow his every move.
The timing of most of those spikes are self-explanatory. June 29, 2007 was the day the first-generation iPhone launched. Sept. 6 marked the day Apple lowered the price. The iPhone 3G went on sale on June 11, 2008.
But even adversity plays into Apple’s hand. The iPhone was first unveiled on Jan. 9, 2007, but interest in the device spiked two days later, when Cisco (CSCO) sued Apple for over the iPhone trademark (the two companies eventually settled out of court).
How can RIM, Palm and the rest compete? The launches of the BlackBerry Storm and the Palm Pre barely register on the chart. In fact, the Palm trend line is almost certainly inflated by searches related to “palm trees,” especially in cities with a lot of them, like Miami, Los Angeles and Irvine (see red “Palm” bar in the chart detail inset).
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