On Wednesday Research in Motion revealed more details of the Blackberry 10. Blackberry has a chance of grabbing enough of the market for smartphones to survive. That’s due to a legacy effect.
The Blackberry maintains a thin hold on some corporate and government tech departments due to its legacy email integration and security features. If the BB10 impresses those tech departments, the aging population of Blackberry devices will be replaced with the BB10.
That would, in turn, save RIM from oblivion. If not, then Blackberry will be like the TRS-80 and other early models of desktops.
What RIM is facing is a world dominated by Android and Apple. According to shipment reports by Strategy Analytics 217 million smartphones were shipped in the 4th quarter 2012.
Apple had a market share of 22 percent of the phones. The combined manufacturers of Droid had a market share of 70.1 percent.
I’ll save you the math. That leaves RIM and Microsoft (and other manufacturers) with 7.9 percent of the world market.
In the US, the situation is even more tilted towards the two leading platforms. Just 4.6 percent of the shipments in the quarter for the next five platforms, including Windows.
The domination of the two leading platforms is a record in the smartphone market.
For companies like Microsoft and RIM it’s still a market in the millions of units. But it is also a market that is going to continue to shrink. At least for a while. (Or maybe forever. Remember how the PC market has ebbed and flowed from many platforms to what is basically three today?)
At Next Century we consider ourselves developers and we can answer as well as anyone. We don’t plan to develop a version of our apps for a market that is fragmented and small. (And shrinking. It was 15 percent as recently as the 2nd quarter 2012.)
Folks who insist on using a Windows mobile device, or a Blackberry, can access our apps through a ‘smart page.’ We’ve already developed that.
No apps for a platform? No broad consumer interest either. Without apps these are just expensive phones.
For fun, here is a list of the current (4thQ) estimated market share of smartphone platforms. Smartphones now account for 45.5 percent of all mobile phone shipments. Remember, phones only, not tablets and ‘phablets.’
Apple- 51.2% US/ 21.8% World
Droid- 44.2% US/ 70.1% World
Windows- 2.6% US/ Not Listed for World
Other noted mobile platforms: Linux, WebOS, Symbion, Blackberry and Bada share 2% of US market and, with Windows, 8.1% of world market share.