BlackBerry in Trouble?

In the current smartphone battleground that is developing, you have 5 new Operating Systems fighting for market share

  1. Apple iPhone OS
  2. Android OS by Google
  3. Web OS by Palm
  4. Windows Phone Series 7 (or WinPOS7)
  5. Nokia’s Symbian 4 due in 2011

Missing from that list is the 2nd biggest smartphone vendor in the world, RIM. RIM instead has focused on incremental upgrades to their OS, and the deployment of a touchscreen only version of their hardware (Storm) which is not really relevant to the rest of their hardware. The Storm has not exactly set the world on fire in terms of sales, RIM is in second place due to a myriad of Bolds/Curves which are available at low price points from all vendors (CDMA and GSM). RIM also has the biggest advantage in the enterprise space with their Blackberry server solution and tight integration into Exchange, device encryption, and secure remote management.

A recent survey of smartphone users would seem to suggest that RIM needs to start development of a brand new version of their OS and to create some new loyalty points for their phones. In addition, the application and web browsing weakness of the RIM system might be finally catching up to the “older” RIM Blackberry OS.

Image from Appleinsider

Right now both iPhone and Android have customer loyalty numbers that far outperform Blackberry. Apple seems to have a lock down on their customer base with an almost impossible 92% loyalty number of iPhone users who would buy an iPhone again. Android is doing well, with a 87% re-purchase loyalty number. One small point, the number of Android users in the survey was very small out of the total sample with iPhone and RIM dominating the smartphone sample. Blackberry users though at 49% rate indicate that they would purchase a different smartphone for their next purchase. Blackberry users download apps less than their iPhone/Android counterparts.  91% of Blackberry users had downloaded zero paid applications. BlackBerrry’s app store is not working and/or the apps available for Blackberry are not compelling or adding any value. Convincing developers to move to Blackberry with this kind of data is going to be tough, especially with Android and WinPOS7 fighting for those same developers. 67% of Blackberry users had not downloaded a free application (this data point could simply be confirmation that Blackberries are work phones and the users are not permitted to download apps). These numbers have to be a worrisome stats for RIM when third party app capability seems to be a huge element of smartphone perceived value and brand loyalty. Blackberry trails both iPhone and Android in devices used for personal use (Apple 28%, Android 32%, and Blackberry 16%). Blackberry does win in the business only use category with 7% supporting the idea that Blackberry users are primarily using their work supplied/required phones.

Other interesting Notes:

  • Smartphone users represented 56% of surveys. The traditional cellphone market is still quite large.
  • iPhone users represented 17% of all surveys. Apple’s smartphone share 33%.
  • More bad news for Windows Mobile and Palm. WinMo overall share 4%. Palm 2%.
  • Other Smartphone users (not iPhone/Blackberry/Android users), who represent 33% of the smartphone population, were more likely to buy an iPhone over any other device. (41% vs 32% for Android)
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  1. March 22nd, 2010

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