I watched Bloomberg West – the daily tech news TV show on Bloomberg TV yesterday and analysts are pretty much calling RIM, the company that makes the Blackberry device- irrelevant, near dead and a perfect take over target by companies like Google.
Yes there are some undeniable truths- the company’s profits and stock market value has fallen big time. In the USA market, the article title “ Americans Losing Addiction to ‘CrackBerrys’, pretty much says it all. Unlike the rest of Europe, BlackBerry OS is holding its own admirably in the UK, with 36.22 per cent of the market share.
In 2010 it was said that BlackBerry was not struggling in the global market. Gartner revealed in May that BlackBerry maker RIM became the world’s fourth-largest handset maker, and had 19.4% global market share in the smartphone arena. Also in 201o, it was reported that South Africa BlackBerry was showing particularly strong growth. According to Vodacom more than 350,000 BlackBerrys compared to 100,000 iPhones for that period. In the Caribbean, Blackberry is said to have 80% of the consumer and business market and in Jamaica, Blackberry is king with 70% of the market.
But, where are the Apps?
That’s where things currently stand with Blackberry and their achilles heel is summed up in this sentence “I still use the BlackBerry, but it’s not the most developer-friendly platform”. They just haven’t seem to get their finger out it seems when it comes to the number of consumer level Blackberry apps as iPhone and Android has, even as they have the business level apps down to a science.
Is Blackberry waiting for the Apps market to rationalise itself, by keeping its head focused on what it does best – the business market? You see, while the Apps industry is currently experiencing unprecedented growth, which is expected to continue into 2012, it has to rationalise itself eventually. There are free apps and there are paid for apps. Developers want to get paid and make a profit on their apps, fact is only a small percentage of app developers in the industry are making real money from it. Blackberry has since asserted that developers make more money from developing for the Blackberry.
Evans Data Corp gathered the facts, to see on which platform the developers made the most money, and “the results are shocking” they said. 400 commercial developers were interviewed and the results showed that 13% of BlackBerry developers make over $100,000usd from their application, which they say is “considerably more than Android or iOS developers.” As the report said, “Of course this doesn’t hold for every developer, not just anyone who submits an application to AppWorld is going to make over $100,000, but it does show that the BlackBerry ecosystem is strong, users are willing to buy applications, we just need people to continue to develop them. ”
So Why is Blackberry still king in Jamaica and the Caribbean?
The three main reasons Blackberry is still King in Jamaica and the Caribbean
1. It’s the current status symbol – it’s positioned as a device for business, for the professional. In fact, if you are seen with a Blackberry the perception is that you have money. Period. The average cost of a Blackberry ranges from $35k -$65kjmd. Noticed I said current, do you remember the Motorola Razr madness a few years ago? Uzimi.
2. Blackberry Messenger- The most used features on a Blackberry here are email, and of course the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and how that eliminates the extra voice, text and roaming costs. We Jamaicans, Caribbean people LOVE to chat so if we can do so cheaper and longer by using our fingers, well, that’s what’s going to happen.
3. Digicel– Working its usual magic and made the Blackberry accessible to the Jamaican consumer market which is over 90% prepaid, by well, making the Blackberry service prepaid too. That was the tipping point for making the Blackberry a household name and must have.
The Blackberry All Touch Torch a sweet contender
Personally I use all three major platforms for one thing or another. I am a born-and-bred-Mac-fed-Steve-Jobs-fan-girl-to-the core-I-can-use-nothing-other-than-a-Mac in the laptop category. I get hives when I have to use a PC. I use a Blackberry for email, BBM and roaming when travelling to tech conferences and I now use Samsung for the video recording and digital camera features for a project I’m working on.
Ok now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ve been using test driving Blackberry All Touch Torch phone for the past 6weeks I’. Lawd it sweet and addictive. It was one of 5 new smart phones this morning that formed The largest global launch by BlackBerry . It included 2 new BlackBerry Bold and 3 new BlackBerry Torch models like the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and Torch 9860. The Torch 9860 retails in Jamaica J$50,950 plus tax.
Here are the details: Physically, the new Torch 9850/9860 measures 120mm x 62mm x 11.5mm (4.72in x 2.44in x 0.45in), so it is not the slimmest touchscreen slab on the block. It has RIM’s newest operating system, BlackBerry OS 7, a 5 megapixel camera with flash, autofocus, and 720p (1280 x 720 pixel) HD video recording. RIM says the 9850 will get up to 6.8 hours of talk time or 13.4 days of standby from its battery, while the 9860 will get 6.1 hours of talk time or 11.8 days of standby from a full charge.
But with the walls of Blackberry seem tumbling down in large markets such as the US and in some parts of Europe, is its focus on emerging markets the smart idea here? Will the Caribbean, Latin America, South Africa enough to keep them in cash, buffered against the rising tides of Android and iPhone to re-emerge on the other side intact, profitable still seen as innovators in the Global Marketplace?
More specifically, can Blackberry hold on to its lion share of the Jamaican and Caribbean market?