BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past year. Yet, almost half (44%) of SA smartphone users have a BlackBerry, new research from Strategy Worx Consulting has found.
BlackBerrys make up 3,3m of the 7,5m smartphones in use in SA, the research has found. However, only 15% of the 53m cellular connections in SA can be attributed to smartphones.
That BlackBerry controls the SA smartphone market is not surprising, Strategy Worx says. “More significant is that the number of Windows Mobile 6.5 devices still outnumbers the amount of Android devices and, despite all the hype, the iPhone accounts for only 4% of all smartphones in SA.”
Strategy Worx expects a “shift” in these numbers in the next 12 months, particularly as Nokia begins moving its high-end devices off the Symbian platform, which currently controls 15% of the SA smartphone market, and onto the new Windows Phone 7. A significant 24% of the market is set to change mobile operating systems — “whether they like it or not” — over the next 24 months.
The research company adds that affordability remains a “significant decider” for consumers. As a result, BlackBerry will remain “dominant for some time to come as the consumer BlackBerry Internet Services has proved to be extremely cost effective”.
“This, coupled with the popularity of the messaging service BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), leaves BlackBerry in a very strong position and little is expected to change in the next quarter. How the company responds to new entrants into the market, such as the Nokia Lumia range, as well as the anticipated data-inclusive bundles from competitive ecosystems, such as Android and Windows Phone 7, will determine their success past 2012.”
Strategy Worx says BBM has emerged as one of the largest mobile social platforms in SA behind only MXit, which currently has 10m active users.
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare and emerging social platforms such as Path and Google+ do not appear to be affecting the popularity of BBM, MXit and WhatsApp Messenger – they appear to be used in parallel at this time but will become more significant as they develop in 2012. — Staff reporter, TechCentral
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