iPhone 4's uSwitch decline: why it doesn't matter

iPhone 4's uSwitch decline: why it doesn't matter

A story has been doing the rounds over the last day or so revealing that the iPhone 4 has fallen out of online comparison site uSwitch's monthly bean-count of the Best Mobile Phones, dropping three places from last month.

Leaving aside the fact that February is still not over, this month's dramatic fall – from third to sixth in the rankings, if you must know – is being seen as a portent of doom for the now-ageing iPhone, especially with all those new phones we saw at MWC on the way.

Currently making a clean sweep of the top of the chart is the HTC Android-powered trio of the Desire, Desire HD and the plucky entry-level Wildfire, with the BlackBerry Curve 8520 and the Samsung Galaxy S also now topping Apple's finest.

Switch to the weekly view and things appear even worse for the iPhone, as the latest reckoning, published on Monday, shows the iPhone down in eighth spot. Surely the end is night and Apple's time is up?

Perhaps not. That same weekly chart lists the Nokia 1800 three places above the entry-level 16GB iPhone in fifth spot. Now, Nokia's had enough bad press recently that we're not going to go out of our way to bash the utterly unoffensive 1800, but it's safe to say it wouldn't rank above the iPhone on any sane person's list of 'Best Mobile Phones'.

Take a closer look and uSwitch's list is simply a ranking of the devices that people a) search for the best deals on the most, and b) see the most sales based on those searches. On uSwitch itself, not any other site.

So all the list really shows is which phones people are most successful in finding the biggest bargains on – on one single site. The iPhone's incomparable brand value means it simply isn't subject to as many 'hidden deals' as other handsets. At Mobot we scour the web for the best mobile deals every single day, and in two months have yet to unearth a single iPhone bargain. Why? Because Apple's phone is desirable enough that nobody needs to discount it.

Another point: look again at that trio of HTC handsets topping the charts. The Desire and Wildfire have both just had their replacements announced, while the new Incredible S is so similar to the Desire HD you can practically include it in the mix too. In other words, three handsets that have just had newer-generation replacements named. Of course people are looking for good deals?

Come June when the iPhone 5 is announced (hopefully), we'd certainly not be surprised to see the iPhone 4 back near the top of the charts on uSwitch, as people will be thinking they might finally be able to afford one now that it's officially older tech.

Or maybe they should just settle now for a Nokia 1800. According to uSwitch it's a better mobile phone.

Read more about: Apple iPhone 4Apple iPhone 5

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EJStyleS  Feb. 23, 2011 at 13:21

Just to clarify, our stats on the Mobile Tracker are from Omio's network of comparison sites, which include uSwitch.com and a number of leading consumer technology websites which total in excess of 10 million monthly pageviews. So our numbers are an aggregation of all of the clicks and all of the sales from those partner sites, making for a fairly accurate representation of handset popularity across the UK.
We can likely attribute the huge popularity of the Nokia 1800 to recently being available on a £1 per month contract, which has led to a large influx of searches, clicks and subsequent sales of the device over December and January.

Hope that this clarifies things somewhat.


Ernest Doku
Communications Manager - uSwitch.com

EJStyleS  Feb. 23, 2011 at 13:30

Also, if you were to take a look at the latest Best Mobile Phones rankings on uSwitch and you'll see that there's no love lost between our visitors and the Nokia 1800, with our star rating currently denoting it a 2.5 star phone...



martinjjames / MOD  Feb. 23, 2011 at 15:11

All fair comment, Ernest. I'm certainly not trying to belittle the stats themselves, or the services powering them, I'm simply pointing out the danger in using them as evidence of some greater trend. Because that argument falls apart when you see the Nokia 1800 sitting above the iPhone in the list. There are logical reasons why those HTC phones are currently so popular, and they have nothing to do with the iPhone. Likewise with the 1800, as you point out yourself.

Fair enough, the closing sentence was a bit cheeky in trying to be ironic, but the list is titled Best Mobile Phones, and the Nokia 1800 is on it 3 places above the iPhone.


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