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Handango study dubs BlackBerry top smartphone

In a recent study by Handango, BlackBerry displaced Windows Mobile to become the dominant platform within the smartphone content catalog.

According to the Handango Yardstick report, BlackBerry constituted 44 percent of all applications sold in Handango's applications catalog during the first half of 2009. This number is up from a 31 percent share in 2008.

?BlackBerry has emerged as a dominant force in our catalog,? said Kelly Mulroney, vice president of consumer experience at Handango, Las Colinas, TX. ?We were definitely pleased to see the growth of the games catalog year-over-year, but that has been something anticipated in the eco-system generally speaking.

?We are really pleased to see Blackberry downloads doing as well as they are,? she said.

Handango is a provider of smartphone applications for the BlackBerry, Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian OS, and Android platforms. The company has more than 140,000 applications and a network of over 23,000 content partners.

The Handango Yardstick compiles and analyzes consumer activity from these channels and creates an industry index of smartphone content trends across platforms.

Ms. Mulroney said she was surprised to see how quickly BlackBerry emerged as the dominant platform for paid downloads.

?I think the next two to three quarters will be really interesting to observe ? especially in light of the upcoming operating system releases for WindowsMobile,? Ms. Mulroney said. ?I expect a very dynamic and exciting environment for mobile app developers.?

According to the Handango findings, Ms. Mulroney suggests marketers should turn their attention from the iPhone to other platforms.

?Many marketers have been focused on the iPhone,? Ms. Mulroney said. ?I think it?s important to understand, respond to and build for the consumer group that uses BlackBerry. It?s clearly a consumer group that is engaged with their devices, uses applications, consumes mobile content, and will seek many types of information services via an application or mobile search.? 

Ms. Mulroney credits BlackBerry?s OS improvements, device releases and multichannel consumer marketing for its strong showing in her company?s report.

?BlackBerry?s device launches have been driving app downloads,? she said. ?BlackBerry?s also been very active in the social media space, and I think that helps drive engagement with the device, the use of applications to communicate, and with that BlackBerry cultivates a great deal of brand affinity."

Based on the Yardstick findings, Ms. Mulroney had some key advice for marketers.

?The strong showing this year by BlackBerry in the Yardstick is a reminder that things change very quickly in the mobile space,? Ms. Mulroney said. ?That means marketers who are addressing mobile subscribers need to be especially watchful for changes in consumer behavior and interest. Don?t get locked into a single device or operating system.

?BlackBerry?s coming on very strong, but I also think WindowsMobile is a force to be reckoned with,? she said. ?At the same time, Nokia has a very important content strategy, and we continue to watch for what that will become for Symbian.

?To use the old adage, don?t put all your eggs in one basket.?