Looks like I may have found the answer to that irascible question that fellow blogger Horace skirted about in his article Why are Blackberries so Popular? He tried and tried to get a handle on Blackberry love in Jamaica and around the World. Good to note that based on his penchant for words, Horace tech-centric motif was evident and so possibly overlooked another reason as to why the Blackberry is so beloved in Jamaica and the World over: durability.
With that kind of start, I shall now, with this article, attempt to do likewise! Despite arguments of not having an apps store, touch interface and being overpriced and yet palming itself off as a smart phone, hardware quality is one thing that Canadian based RIM (Research in Motion) does not scrimp on.
This according to statistics from United Kingdom Marketing analyst WDC, which did a year long study of nearly six hundred thousand (600,000) Call Centers in North America, Canada, Europe and South Africa.
Their results are nothing surprising (Android folks, be truthful now!).
The statistics below lay out the smartphones, categorized by OS (Operating Systems) and further broken down into percentage of those calls to the various Call Centers that dealt with hardware problems:
- Android – 14%
- Windows Phone 7 – 9%
- Apple iPhone – 8%
- RIM Blackberry – 3.7%
I suspect that other Operating Systems were in the stats, but probably registered fewer hardware fault related calls than the above listed, being mostly feature phones with fixes either found online or solvable by avid DIYs (Do-It-Yourselfers).
If anything this is probably the best bit of news for RIM for quite awhile, seeing as their forecast for Playbook shipments have been scaled back to between eight to nine hundred thousand units (800,000, to 900,000).
Too bad that RIM’s attention to detail does not translate to great sales, as they are losing market dominance to Android and Apple on a global scale, based on the stats presented in my article Apple’s Revolution: Android @ Home and IceCream Sandwich in 2015AD.
Dear reader with a tech-centric lilt snorts while reading, muttering under their breath “But of course. Blackberry been making the same ol’ phone for so long, that they got it down pat!”.
That plus the lack of touch-centric design, a threadbare apps store, a poor browser experience and a price tag which their technology can no longer easy to justify, as Horace’s article Why are Blackberries so Popular? succinctly opines!
Even among the Corporate and Enterprise, traditional supporters of the Blackberry Platform thanks to its universally accepted email and BB Messenger, who were surely disappointed with the PlayBook as stated in my article RIM’s PlayBook needs to become a Real Tablet.
Apple micro-manages the production of its Apple iPhones at the FoxxCon Factory in the People’s Republic of China, making sure everything is tested at every stage of production. Lots of pressure goes into making a precious blue diamond, and that quality is paying off in great sales, it would seem.
Smartphones supporting the Windows Phone 7 Platform, albeit facing lackluster sales, are themselves still rigorously tested. Who knows, if Analysts Gartner and IDC is correct and I am wrong about WebOS, possibly a Windows Phone 7 may be No. 2 in the smartphone market by 2015AD.
Android OS smartphones, the “winner” percentage-wise, is really just a freely available OS that every smartphone maker is tailoring to low quality hardware.
But despite this, Android smartphones are still on track to take 50% of Global Market share by 2015AD thank to sub-US$100 prices on two (2) year contracts for smartphones, an Android App store with so many free region-less apps and lower prices overall.
Chief Marketing Officer at WDS Craig Rich, expresses this best about Google Android: “Android has been instrumental in bringing smartphone technology into the mass-market. The maturation of the industry, availability of hardware components and a reduction in manufacturing costs has seen some OEMs drop the price of Android smartphones below US$100. However, many of these factors are also driving varying levels of hardware quality into the market, in turn delivering an inconsistent customer experience.”
This is placing some pressure on Apple who are now under attack by a horde of Google Android Devices as my article Apple iPhone and Google Android – Helms Deep Under Attack points out. I even speculated on their designing a cheaper smartphones whose design considerations can be perused in my article Towards a cheaper Apple iPhone – Batteries Not Included.
With the Apple iPhone 4 now in Jamaica, the rumours of the early death of the Blackberry may therefore be greatly exaggerated as Ryan’s article LIME, The iPhone 4 And The Death Of The Blackberry would portend.
After all, to quote his article “BlackBerries are widely popular here in Jamaica, so much so that it costs little to nothing to have one replaced if you’re among the unfortunate few who have fallen to theft or misplacement”.
So a support system has to be developed to provide the same level of Repair and Maintenance for the Apple iPhone for it to really be a hit. Jamaicans are not all a tech-crazed lot like us tech-enthusiast writers and statistical analysts (that would be me!).
They are more bling-centric: give a couple of their sponsored artiste an Apple iPhone to splash about coupled with trained Apple iPhone specialists, and the smartphone will start selling like the Blackberry.
Especially now that these stats from WDC put clothes on the generally held consensus that Blackberrys give the least problems, despite losing marketshare to Android and Apple due to a combination of innovation and pricing!
The reason for the love for Blackberry is thus plainly and simply revealed: reliable hardware!
Also, did I say a coming flood of Android Phones? My bad!
I guess I forgot to mention the initial flood of Blackberry phones coming from the US of A, as more Americans chuck them away for cheaper Android smartphones, if the statistics from my article Apple’s Revolution: Android @ Home and IceCream Sandwich in 2015AD hold true for Jamaica.