Is the Blackberry Hype Dying in Nigeria?

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Around the beginning of this year, a sudden hype about Blackberry smartphones hit Nigeria and almost every young adult that I knew had plans to get one.

blackberry torch1

The rush for it was big as big could get. I remember reading a story online a while back concerning a girl that used her tuition fee to get a Blackberry phone.

However, is it possible that many people who went for the Blackberry at the peak of its fame/rush in Nigeria are now slowly but gradually having the scales removed from their eyes?

Why do I ask? Here are a few factors that I am looking at:

  1. Internet/BIS
  2. Messaging/E-mails/Social Networking
  3. Social Status/Class/Efizzy
  4. Some Gaming
  5. Business/Enterprise

Pardon me if I got anything wrong on my list up there but those are the major reasons that I see as to why people, especially Nigerians, get Blackberry phones. However, it seems that a lot of Blackberry users have ended up disappointed and disgruntled.

The reasons for their disappointments? Here is a breakdown:

  1. Internet/BIS – It is a known fact among BB users that the mobile network operators in this country do not offer good blackberry services but still market them anyways. Who gets hit by this? – you guessed right, the Blackberry owner.
  2. Social Status/Class/Efizzy: I think the hype over BB has decreased compared to 4-5 months ago when carrying a Blackberry device auto-magically gave you “class”, even if you didn’t subscribe to the service. Do not get me wrong, it still has an aura of class associated with it but not as huge as before.

    Bear in mind too that with the advent of low-cost blackberry devices, the class thing has been diluted.There are now different classes awarded to people using different models of the phone e.g. Curve (8520) owners don’t get the same level of social respect as someone using a Torch (9800).

  3. Some Gaming – Most people that got Blackberry devices thought that they could eat their cake or berry in this case and still have it. However, they woke up to the sad realization that BB was not the most gaming-friendly platform and that games that could be deemed decent were far too expensive for their pockets.

This is my opinion as to why I think that the hype around Blackberry devices is dying down. It may not be the most complete synopsis of the situation, but I would love to hear thoughts, opinions and ideas in the comments.

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49 comments

  1. no beafs intended but i personally dont really see whats so great about blackberry. Take away BBM and the phone is just a dumb phone. The browser aint that great, and the apps available are mainly those that revolve around social networking afterall thats their selling point. the games are incredibly terrible for this time and age where some platforms are really good at it (have you seen infinty blade). To me most of the people that get it do so for the BBM services and well, to show that they now ‘belong’. It simply sucks at every other thing.

    Thats why in my opinion their playbook hasn’t been successful as they intended it to be. however i dont think its hype is going down, its rather the other way, considering the dirt cheap plans currently available and the flooding of the market with used blackberrys. Note that BBs are being replaced at rates far greater than their adoption in U.S Europe and other places by iOS and android especially by corporate companies. Where did you think those used bbs are from?

    A friend of mine who was a long time nokia fan recently bought a used bb for about 17k just because glo’s rate dropped to N1,400. He uses it mainly to download stuff. . . . I just wish the same ‘unlimited data’ plan was available for iOS, android, WP7 and symbian for the same price.

  2. Wow, interesting topic, I personally don’t like Blackberry Phones, but I can assure you that the hype is not going down. The BB messenger is the main selling point. Many users don’t know what Operating System their BB uses. Many don’t care about the Email, many don’t use the avalaible apps, but they love to ‘ping’. I had to ‘seize’ my friend’s phone because she was ‘pinging’ during our date. Students ping during classess, people ‘ping’ in church. With the new tarrifs for BIS subscriptions the craze will surely increase.

  3. Pinging galore…the. craze craze is eternally ongoing and not abating at all. Glo’s BIS plan is indeed a have game changer. I mean 3GB for N1400? Tempted but I’ll let it pass.

  4. The browser aint that great

    That’s true for older BB devices. BB OS 6 and 7 have very good browsers.

    As a matter of fact, in terms of HTML5 compatibility, they are the most advanced mobile browsers out there.

  5. i’ve never liked anything related to bb.its UI is nothing compared to either the android or ios.. The bb phones are unnecessarily expensive compared to other ios… Very soon it will be left for students to toy with

  6. Generally speaking, I don’t think that the BB craze is dying yet, but there are BB owners who are already using something else or longing to do so because they feel that the BB cult has been pervaded by the pure water syndrome that’s the lot of Nigeria.

    Like the writer did say, the class aura of BB has been so diluted by cheap and used BB phones that some of the people that joined the craze just to belong rather than the actual service are already feeling ordinary.

    Also some people that are informed about technology are also aware that RIM is not doing enough to improve their devices in terms of hardware and latest development in software technologies. Young people who are not very savvy technically but rather more interested in social networking are the ones still craving for BB devices.

  7. Well, I bought a new Bold 9700 two days ago. It was the 1400/3GB package from Glo that did it for me.

    I’ve read all about the pros and cons of BBs for more than a year. I’ve also been under pressure from friend and family to buy one. As soon as word got around that I had one, bbm requests just began flying in.

    Honestly, i’m already a bit tired of it. My efforts to upgrade to os6 have been unsuccessful so far. And I hate the browser!! No tabs!!

    I plan to sell it As soon as the BIS expires, and focus on getting my dream Meego and Android phones when they come out.

  8. I’m actually still doing most of my browsing on my N8, as well as a little tweeting on gravity. The bb is just for BBM, email, and ubersocial. And for experimenting. Gonna install os6, then try some hybrid OS too!

  9. naturally everytin in dis world obeys d law of diminishing return, but d desire to hav BB still has nt reachd d peak, it is still goin up d curve. Infact, wit drop in subsciptn for BIS by glo, many people lik me will go for one by force and dat makes d desire to hav BB still going up. The sad tin is dat lik d writter rightly said, many go for BB bcos of d social status attach to it dan d other tins u can do wit it. Remove d BBM, and u will see dat 70% of people using it are for class.

    D hype for for BB is evry where both in d villa and in d town,in my villa for instance, wen most of dem see me wit my E5 or any fone wit “big” screen&qwerty key, they say “u and dis ur BB sef” and to enjoy dat moment or feel “big” I will say “ah na im b d koko now oo, and laugh and d next question will be “how much u buy am?” even among my educted friends,excpt few who care to hav a close look at it to see Nokia written on it.

    if u really want to kno dose who use it for class, ask dem what is name of wht they are carrying and d answer is “BB” wht is d model name? (to most of dem, curve is curve, bold is bold and torch is torch, all na BB)i dont kno, wht is d OS? i dont kno, or tell dem “android is good and I learnt dis type of ur BB uses andriod d other type uses symbian ” they will proudly tell u “yes its true”. Its d 9ja way and dat is wht makes us unique.

  10. I do not agree that the craze for a bb has gone down rather it has gone down thanks to Glo. For me its a good productivity tool rather than a status symbol phone.

  11. No one here is considering the terrible network and bandwidth restrictions that blackberry users are going through currently
    The 1400 Glo BIS is a great package but how stable is the network?

    Truth be told most blackberry users don’t even have the technological know-how to grab the fact that they’re using “out dated and over priced devices”

    Now to answer your question, the hype is slightly declining but it is still there especially among the lower class in Nigeria but in certain circles iphones and android phones are respected.

  12. Internet/BIS – It is a known fact
    among BB users that the mobile
    network operators in this country
    do not offer good blackberry
    services but still market them
    anyways.

    I would say that this excessive generalization.

    I strongly believe that if you complain about the blackberry, then it obviously was not meant for you.

  13. i meant putting the sim card that you are currently using with the BIS plan and browsing with the allocated 3GB on the N8. perhaps the glo direct settings will work with it?!

  14. I guess it wasn’t cause i’m a power user and the only reason that i would even consider getting a BB is for the email capabilities but i am more than covered on the Android platform.

  15. @andy, lwkmd!!…

    This bb overcraze sef na wa o… Thank God its dying cos lyf was better when berries were just fruits. I really thing the bb genre of phones were meant for men in suits n not for kids in panties… No pun intended.

    The #1400/ 3Gb glo plan ‘s tempting though, i’ld have preferred it on my nokia.

  16. BB is still very popular both in the corporate world BES. Most corporate organization do send mail through their MS Outlook directly to their staffs and it is instant with BB not like Nokia that has schedule mail download. BIS is also common among individuals. I have Nokia N900 but each phone as its uniqueness. While BB may not be able to stream video Nokia does that seamlesly you can even watch TV on Nokia N900. BB will always be relevant because of its uniqueness. While other phones will also serve their own purpose

  17. Even non blackberry users like us arent enjoying the network. internet connection disconnects for several minutes several times a day. dunno if bb surge has anything to do with it though

  18. My own BB serve the following purpose daily
    1. Alarm that wake me up
    2. I read so many Bookmark daily devotion on it also I read The Nations Newspaper
    3. Check International news with Time application, CNN money application, Aljazeera app.
    4. I check FB application
    5. I download free podcast this really suck MTN unlimited bandwith.
    6. I listen to music with Sky.fm this also a bandwith sucker
    7. I browse the internet with especially google and wikipedia
    8. I read my mails online real time
    9. I read my ebooks with mobipocket reader application
    10. I hadrly BBM on my own phone I even see BBM as a nuicance I have even tried to see if I can turn it off but I don’t want to uninstall it

    One more thing I monitor my dear period JX ovulator calender lol Good morning

  19. @kunle

    All of the functions you mentioned above could be handled effectively by most smartphones except maybe the BBM, so if you are not using the BBM, I think the only other reason you picked a BB device is the unlimited bandwidth that goes with BIS subscription.

  20. For me, I never plan to have BB mostly due their tiny keypads. I’m so used to touchscreen that I can not go back to such tiny keypads. I just upgraded from N97 to SGSII and am loving it .

  21. I quite agreed with you at some point but the general idea that the Blackberry hype is going down isn’t ‘all’ true. The rate at which people are opting out is far less than the rate of guys yarning for this device every day.

    One of the truth part is the Poor Service and the Efizy thingy. Personally I dislike this device because it lacks what I want in a mobile device. I can do without it because even the ‘pinging’ stuff doesn’t entice me – I can always use 2go. I so love my Nokia!

  22. I can see you’re using a Blackberry phone. I still want to make it clear that this device is useless except the pinging aspect which eventually get boring after few months of using it.

    A typical Nokia phone can perform all the functions you’ve listed above.

  23. The only unique feature in Blackberry is the pinging. Believe me, other phone types will soon come out with a similar function. That’s what competition does anyways.

  24. I own a Bold 2 and as a Developer and Game Freak the BB is the crappiest Platform i have ever jumped to.

    Nokia Symbian served me right i could play Final Fantasy during Go Slow, Watch Youtube, play high End 3d games and even have emulators on my phone. the BB without the BIS is just pure crap its a business phone no doubt the only reason i have the phone is cuz of contacts for business.

    IOS is the Platform anyday anytime. Android is too fragmented almost went mad trying to figure out the best 3d,best os and best phone to buy because they all have different specifications

    WP7 skeptical about it, Symbian ^3 or IOS is my best bet, i just don’t like the lack of Flash as i love watching movies online. BB is crap unless they move to QNX platform.

  25. The only BB I use is Bread and Beans. When it comes with the crowd, it goes out likewise. I use a Nokia now, I’ll definitely wait until their Mango phones come out before I switch from sweet Anna/Belle. Gaming on a Blackberry? Try ice cream in hell fire.

  26. I read on gsmarena last week or so that BBM is coming to android next year (2012)..they even gave some screenshots of the android BBM app

  27. … n as d hype is going off, bb’s worldwide experience an outage |http://telegraph.co.uk/technology/blackberry/8818094/BlackBerry-services-collapse.html

  28. I use the bb as well as truly consider it a crappy device. Like a commentator said earlier, take away the BBM and the phone goes lame. What’s most nauseating is the fact that without a BIS, u cannot really do anything online by way of the regular internet packages the networks provide even with a WIFI service. The hype is simply crazy and unnecessary which would soon naturally die.

  29. Na wa oh! So much hate for the BlackBerry. I ain’t into gaming and all these hitech stuff! I’m good with what my BB Curve does for me. N1,400 for 3GB is something that regular smartphones would never experience as they guzzle loads of data.

    Actually the BB is my first smartphone and I ain’t too keen on moving away soon ’cause of 3GB BIS/Push Email/BBM.

    BIS is closely linked to regular internet service thus when the latter fails it affects the former. (I know what I’m talking about)

    Of course if person dash me iPhone or Galaxy, I go take am ;-). lol

  30. I think blackberry phones will be here for as long as we demand affordable messaging services in this part of the world.

  31. Since Friday, I’ve been trying to download the blackberry OS6 [for Globacom and Bold 9700] from the official site, but I’ve been frustrated so far; chief among them being that the BB website doesn’t support download-resuming. Also the speed is quite slow [for reasons unknown] although I regularly exceed 1Mbps when downloading from other sites.

    If anyone has the 157MB file somewhere on the net, please could you share the link with me? If you prefer to do so privately, then you can mail it to me : spacyzuma@yahoo.com.

    Or if perchance, you are in Port Harcourt, I could meet you for it.

    Thanks

  32. People are taking this BB discussion too personal. Why call a device names just because you don’t use it. Everything in life has advantage and disadvantage. Your android and IOS are not perfect if they you will not being having new edition every year. Please let us give constructive criticism.

  33. It’s obvious that this has turned into a BlackBerry bashing thread. If the BlackBerry OS doesn’t meet your mobile requirements, kindly pick an OS of your choice. Shikena.
    This thread reminds of me the many symbian vs the rest debates on MN.

  34. I think blackberry phones will be here for as long as we demand affordable messaging services in this part of the world

  35. @ceo

    ‘I think blackberry phones will be here for as long as we demand affordable messaging services in this part of the world’

    Its available on other mobile platforms, its just for u to get the right app that suits you.

  36. Blackberry is just perfect for the traits in the market in Africa, it will remain relevant in this part of the world as long its proprietary BIS provisioned by the telcos is still functional, i have used several smartphone by Nokia and i am really pissed at the browsing speed, browsing on the Blackberry is almost seamless and faster.

    real-time push email and social (IMs/SN) integration are the major features that inform Nigerians buying decisions and blackberry serve this purpose better.

    Gaming on smartphone won’t be a game changer neither touch screens, Nigerians will always prefer the QWERTY Keypads

  37. @biola
    Its available on other mobile platforms, its just for u to get the right app that suits you.

    Well, true but I don’t know if its just me or something else. Concerning bbm, no other app can serve that purpose satisfactorily for me right now. Its so readymade, no log in, no sign in, no session timeout, no monitoring, its just there whenever n wherever you need it.
    But hey,we all have our preferences though.

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