Research In Motion (RIM), the makers of Blackberry devices and services recently opened an office in Lagos State, Nigeria. Along with that they also opened a BlackBerry® by SLOT store that sells authentic Blackberry devices and also offer device setup and OS updates in-store.
This was all prompted by the fact that Blackberry Smartphones have generally received a great reception by many smartphone buyers in Nigeria. In fact a large percentage of Blackberry users in Nigeria today are youths and people in the middle-aged people. In short Blackberry usage in Nigeria is huge and RIM have finally acknowledged that by opening up an official office in Lagos.
The question to be asked however is that how did Blackberry phones achieve premium or “big boy” status in Nigeria?. How did it manage to survive and even beat other smartphone platforms like Android and iOS?.
Well, the reasons are quite simple really and I will be listing some of them below:
- ALWAYS ON CONNECTIVITY:
This I think is the reason why it is a huge hit in Nigeria. The ability to be able to receive alerts as they happen is simply mind boggling.
That you could comment on a post immediately it is posted was a young hit among the young populace. Peer pressure and the wanting to feel among pushed many other young adults to purchase one and this has in the end helped spread the Blackberry craze around the country.
- PRICE POINT:
That most Blackberry phones in use today in Nigeria are UK or US used is no news. As such, the price points unlike brand new Blackberry devices are negotiable and much lower hence enabling thousands to buy it second handed and cheaper than they could have ever gotten it brand new.
- INTERNET CONNECTIVITY/SOCIAL NETWORKS/BBM:
The average price for a Blackberry Internet Subscription plan in Nigeria currently is 1,500 Naira and that offers you access to social networks, an email address and Blackberry Messenger (BBM). There is no other smartphone price that can rival that in Nigeria at the moment and I think this is where Blackberry phones get major appeal from users.
In America and other parts of the world, Blackberry usage/ownership has dwindled drastically as they failed to offer competing products against the likes of Android and iOS. I do not think that there should be fanfare as regards to RIM opening an office in Lagos as I feel that they should have done that a long time ago. Nigeria is a huge market for RIM but I do not feel that they are really serious about us, at least for now.
Unlike Nigeria where our internet infrastructure and implementation is still weak, America and to some greater extent Europe and Asia have excellent internet connectivity so point number 3 does not work there. RIM is now in the spotlight as to how they are going to fare in the already crowded smartphone market when they release Blackberry 10 devices next year.
What do you think? Do you know of any other reason why Blackberry devices “blew” in Nigeria? Do comment.
Emmanuel is a video blogger who shares his love of technology with the world. Check out his videos at Geekception.