The Silent Success of the Blackberry

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There has been so much hype about the way OSX, Android and WebOS are growing that most people are unaware of a silent revolution that has gone on for years in the mobile industry with one of the “old guard”.

The Silent Success of the Blackberry 1Years ago, almost no-one outside of North America had heard of, muchless used, a Blackberry. The standard Blackberry was boring and ranked low in terms of features.

But the Canadian manufacturer, Research In Motion (RIM), pulled a stunt that almost no-one has noticed. Blackberries suddenly became more appealing to the eye, and began to pack more wallop.

Today, Blackberry is the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer – bigger than Apple, HTC, and Samsung. And RIM’s growth hasn’t stopped.

Last year, RIM acquired Torch Mobile Inc., the developers of the superb Webkit-based Iris browser that was available for Windows Mobile phones. One of the letdowns of Blackberry devices have been the quite basic built-in browser. Actually, the Blackberry browser has been more of a WAP than a web browser. RIM’s acquisition of TorchMobile was an excellent strategic move. Now, Blackberry users can expect a superb web browsing experience in the not-too-distant future.

Fact: Blackberries now account for over 20% of the world’s smartphone market share, up from about 14% in early 2008.

Global Smartphone Market Share Trend
Global Smartphone Market Share Trend

Ironically, the Blackberry’s limiting factor – the fact that it is more tailored to the corporate world – is also what guarantees its future. Fashions come and go; the business world generally stays stable. Blackberries are enterprise devices. Blackberry services are enterprise services.

Corporate organisations help secure RIM’s future. Here in Nigeria, the Blackberry rules the corporate world. Yet, even individuals are not left out. Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) also allows individuals to hop on. Prepaid Blackberry services are available on all functional (Mtel is as good as dead) GSM-based mobile networks here.

On the hardware level, there are touchscreen Blackberries, there are QWERTY keyboard Blackberries, as there are flip Blackberries. There seems to be a Blackberry device for everyone. Okay; not literally everyone.

If you are not primarilly a media person (Blackberries traditionally are mediocre in the realm of cameras, music and video playing), and you need email on the move or text more than make calls, or you just need to make a corporate statement, there might just be a Blackberry for you.

The Blackberry device has come of age.

PS: If interested in purchasing a Blackberry device, please note that there is no email support without your subscribing to BlackBerry Internet Service. Put another way, you will not be able to use the built-in email client without a Blackberry account.

6 comments

  1. I personally use a Blackberry Tour 9630 and in my own opinion I have found my self using the camera and video camera more then when I had other windows mobile powered smart phones and smart phones in general. I particularly like the fact that the camera has flash, it would have been nice if the video camera had some sort of night vision or light.

    The built in email client can actually be used without BIS, the way around it is to use a program like Aerize Wifix lets you force applications to work over WiFi or you regular data plan instead of using the bis, so you can use a application like shangmail to push your emails to your Blackberry.

    If you have ever watched movies on the Blackberry Tour, I am pretty sure you will have a different opinion in regards to your perceived mediocrity of the media capabilities of the Blackberry, at least the Blackberry Tour 9630.

  2. Quam,

    Thanks for the input on the Blackberry Tour. It is probably the finest product from RIM yet, beautiful with a gorgeous display and the finest keyboard on the market, if what we hear is any good.

    While RIM has made steady improvements in the media capabilities of their devices, in the world of media, the Blackberry is really far from being king, though comparable with many phones on the Windows Mobile platform.

    In the world of media (especially media creation), Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson really rule the mobile world by a wide margin. 5, 8 and 12 megapixel cameras, neon flash, high resolution video recording, Smile Detection, DiVX support.

    No; not that the media capabilities of the Tour are mediocre, but that they are not among the best out there in the world of phones.

    You are absolutely correct about the video playback on that gorgeous screen though – amazing! The average Blackberry screen simply makes one drool over videos.

    Speaking of which, if you have the time, would you like to do a personal review of the Tour for publication here? It doesn’t have to be long or highly technical, but we’ll leave that in your hands. No rules. Just your review. We haven’t had a single Blackberry review on MobilityNigeria – ever.

    Any other Blackberry users in the house?

  3. thanks quam for your info on the wifix app. another reason to consider the bold 9700 as my next smartphone.

    i love the design and display, which makes picture and video viewing remarkable. audio quality is very good and i can live with the average-performance camera. i can get a better cameraphone for my second SIM or a digital camera.

  4. I’m yet to be bitten by the Blackberry bug cos after careful analysis, I don’t REALLY need a smartphone cos all I do with my phone is make calls, text, check my emails, play java games and listen to music/radio and all these can be gotten in a regular non-smartphone.

    A customer bought one while I was @ Slot Ltd today and I wasn’t impressed with the keyboard of the model he bought. (Can’t say which model it was cos I didn’t ask ;)). The keys were so tiny, I concluded typing on that phone would DEFINITELY cause DeQuervain’s Syndrome (Blackberry Thumb).

    Anyway sha, when most of my peeps have joined the bandwagon, I’ll follow suit so we can be BBing ourselves constantly 😉

  5. @Chukwudi

    It seems like the blackberry the customer purchased might be a blackberry pearl, which does not have a full qwerty keyboard, but the reality is that blackberries have one of the most comfortable qwerty keypads ever.

    Blackberry’s might not have the most bells and whistle but it gets the work done. Try using a blackberry curve 8900, tour 9630 or bold 9700 and you will see the difference.



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