When Will Nigeria Become An Android Market?

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Some days ago, Seyi Taylor threw open the question of how long it will take for Android to own the Nigerian smartphone market? Observing things from the position that BlackBerry OS currently owns about half of the market, you might wonder if this supposed Android domination is a given. I believe that it is.

In my response to that question, I mentioned that when you step into any mainstream phone store in Lagos, for example, right now, you have the BlackBerry section representing BlackBerry OS, and then the Samsung, LG, Motorola, Huawei, Tecno and HTC sections all together representing Android. It is not just the numbers. There are quite a number of low-end Android smartphones that cost much less than the lowest end BlackBerry device. The cheapest BlackBerry smartphone in the market right now costs over N20,000, while there are already N13,000 Android smartphones sitting on shelves in the same stores.

Android will own (read: dominate) the Nigerian smartphone market. Make no mistake about it. BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone smartphones will share the smaller chunk of the cake.

How soon it will happen? It is difficult to say, but this change of ownership is in progress already. This time next year, we might be looking at sub N10,000 Android smartphones from the nameless and faceless Chinese makers. When that happens, the fight would be over. The Chinko makers are the ones that keep changing the game at the bottom of the pyramid. To use Android is free. Once those guys get the hang of Android and start churning out Android smartphones, it is a done deal. The Nigerian smartphone market would firmly be in the grip of Android.

Data Consumption/Costs

There is one huge factor that keeps BlackBerry as a very attractive option – data costs. On Saturday, I had a discussion with Nicole, the MOBILITY BlackBerry Group administrator, about the future of smartphones in Nigeria. We were agreed that the iPhone was sentenced to a small corner forever. We were agreed too that Android would own the market eventually. We talked about BlackBerry OS 10 (she is a BlackBerry lover to the core), and while we both hoped that RIM would pull things off, the truth is that BlackBerry 10 would take off with flagship products only, and it would take time for it to trickle down to the low-end segment.

However, Nicole did mention that regardless of how OS 10 goes, so long as the superb BlackBerry Internet Service tariffs were in place, she was going to always own and use a BlackBerry. We talked about the huge cost savings of using a BlackBerry smartphone. This point is key to BlackBerry’s hold on the market.

I have observed that in the last few weeks of reviewing the Lumia 610 and 920 here, as well as when I announced that the Galaxy note II was heading this way, a regular question that people asked is about data consumption. Clearly, the costs of internet usage on mobiles is a critical factor. As much as some people would love to switch to a different platform, the attraction of “no-worry” internet usage for N1,500 per month is too much to pass for a huge number of people.

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To Infinity And Beyond!

Despite that factor, the odds are huge against BlackBerry OS retaining its hold on the Nigerian smartphone market. I predict that within a 2 – 3 year period, the Android domination of the Nigerian smartphone market would be complete. Deep down, I suspect that it might happen even faster than that.



12 comments

  1. I seriously doubt it that soon android will take over the Nigerian market. Not when it is still data guzzling and no internet plan for it from our internet network providers. Blackberry will still be around for much longer I guess because of the cheap and sometimes unlimited data cap. I own the two anyway. I cant do away with the blackberry for anything. Not for now!

  2. Even the fear of data gulping by Android may not stop lots of people from going the android Way.

    Particularly so when we know it is a baseless fear with not grounded in reality.

    If you misuse electricity, it can KILL you. If you observe simple rules and precautions, it will SERVE you.

    SUBSTITUTE electricity up there with android.

    It is reasonable to expect that when spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.

    with Samsung, LG, Motorola,
    Huawei, Tecno, etc being on the Android side, and Samsung being the largest manufacturer of smartphones, it is just a matter of WHEN, rather than IF Android will predominate.

  3. Well ,i would like to wait and see how the brand new BB10 shall play out first cos with that new os blackberry will never be the same in terms of UI which is always a big traction in the mobile wars. However,the BB company must ‘ve realised the significance of countries strategic to its growth and would do anything to survive in those regions.However again, data factor is a factor that cannot be trivialised in nigeria or developing worlds for a long as the new BB10 can still keep to the data economy on the smooth new User interface.

  4. I told a friend about this two months ago that android had taken over and someone said my figures were diabolical.

    all I ask is this pls head to gs.statcounter.com select Nigeria and select mobile os and see for yourself that android is twice blackberry already.
    I come across articles of BlackBerry owning over half the smartphone market and I never see any data to back it up.

    I say android is more now and there’s my data at statcounter.com

    surely statcounter is credible.

  5. About Blackberry and cheap internet, very true!

    I abandoned my BB for about two months, because I have wifi almost everywhere I go in my university. But then I had to come back to it, with a cheap BIS plan (20GBP for 6 months).

    Now My BB is my backup internet device whenever I leave the ranges of school wifi. And it has helped me stay online wherever I am in the city or country.

    I’ve told some people before: Android and iOS may be ruling everywhere and may be the favorite options for a primary smartphone, but a blackberry is always there as ‘companion’ smartphone. Whether my main smartphone was the N8, or N9, or Pliris Blaze, my Bold4 has faithfully been around. That cheap internet and superb keyboard will always make it constant in my smartphone family.

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