Will Apps Be the Key to Success For Blackberry 10?

by Istvan Fekete on January 30, 2013

With the BlackBerry 10 event just a few hours away, all the questions about how successful the new operating system and the new RIM handsets will be are close to being answered. While everybody is talking about a possible Research in Motion comeback, there are a few caveats to be considered before investors’ hopes for success are justified.

First, there is RIM’s market share, which is now languishing below five per cent. If we compare the company’s market share with Android and iOS, the future doesn’t look so bright: Android captured 70%, while iOS retained 22% of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2012, and they are still growing.

So, how should RIM adjust its strategy for BlackBerry 10? Well, it all depends where its 79 million subscriber base is located and which markets it is targeting. As you may recall, RIM has lost its grip on the North American smartphone market, and now it needs to focus on emerging markets in order to maintain growth.

A quick look at RIM’s installed base locations reveals a bit of surprise: Saudi Arabia accounts for 7% — more than the company’s Canadian installed base, which currently stands at 4% — the Philippines (4%) has more BlackBerry users than India (2%) and Argentina (3%), according to Tom Astle a Byron Capital Markets analyst. Another interesting piece of information comes from Horace Dediu of Asymco, who says about 11 million BlackBerry users switched to iOS or Android between 2009 and mid-2012.

How does RIM plan to reverse BlackBerry’s downward trend? First of all, the all-touch BlackBerry 10 handset was redesigned, and now it is definitely similar to the iPhone with respect to its functionality. It now has all the same features that the iPhone and Android phones have, says Atimi Software vice president Alan Jones.

Secondly, the apps. With the launch of BlackBerry 10, we can expect to see between 70,000 and 100,000 apps ready to download, which is a great step ahead, and a smart move from RIM. From the perspective of a software developer, apps will make or break the BlackBerry 10.

The success of the new BlackBerry 10 depends on multiple factors, and yes, the apps are a big component of that. What we can see, though, is that BlackBerry has made the launch as global as its RIM business, with events scheduled for New York, Paris, London, Dubai and Johannesburg. Also, the company has struck up relationships with 50 carriers around the world.

Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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