Until recently I was a proud BlackBerry supporter and user, but even I must admit to now being an iPhone convert.
It would seem for RIM (Research in Motion), creator of BlackBerry, times are going from bad to worse… to dire. The internet fail which hit in the middle of October lasting the best part of a week left millions of BlackBerry users in Europe stretching to the Middle East without internet, email or BBM Messenger.
No “real” answers were given until RIM founder Mike Lazaridis recorded a video apology. This has now been followed up with some compensation – $100 worth of free apps to anyone affected. This could be seen as a panic attempt to keep customers, understandably, since the huge impact of the iPhone 4S.
This may seem bad enough, but for RIM things were set to get a whole lot worse.
Google have announced that from the 22nd of November the Gmail app for BlackBerry handsets will no longer be supported. However, to ensure that Google don’t upset their own customers, current Gmail BlackBerry app users will be able to continue.
If that wasn’t bad enough RIM have now launched a new investigation into further complaints of delays. With Apple going from strength to strength combined with the stream of BlackBerry problems, sales are plummeting. RIM hit their lowest figures in 9 years this month, with their US market share falling to 9.2%, this time last year it was 24%.
It would seem that Apple have quickly outdone anything that made BlackBerry different. BBM was once a selling feature, offering free texts BlackBerry to BlackBerry and now Apple have launched iMessage with the new iOS upgrade, matched the demand and then some. The iPhone automatically changes from iMessage to standard text message depending on the recipient, whereas BlackBerry BBM is a separate application which makes the service less straightforward for the user.
With Apple selling over 17million units worldwide in the 3rd quarter to date, BlackBerry’s days could be numbered. That said, with the rise and rise of Google’s Android operating system (half of the worldwide smartphone market share according to the latest research) and the fact that Apple doesn’t licence iOS to third parties, there are interesting times ahead for the mobile market.
Who knows, this time next year this fickle consumer might have moved on to the next “new and improved” device (as long as my contract lets me). Contracts… now that’s a different story altogether…