Rating: The smartphone’s keyboard isn’t key any more
Speculation is rife following the announcement that BlackBerry’s owner – RIM, has called in bankers to conduct a strategic review. This is what RIM’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, actually said … “After the release of our year-end financial results, we engaged JP Morgan Securities and RBC Capital Markets to assist the company and our board of directors in reviewing RIM’s business and financial performance.” He also stressed that, “We will continue to spend and hire in key areas such as those associated with the launch of BlackBerry 10, and those tied to the growth of our application developer community.” However, according to Analysys Mason, the problem lies with the fact that smartphone users now care less about having a keyboard and more about being able to play back media content.Ronan de Renesse, a principal analyst with Analysys Mason, “The rich media playback experience has taken over physical keyboards in smartphone users’ mindshare.
The demise of the BlackBerry is partly due to the device’s inability to address media-hungry customers.
According to our research, only 9 per cent of BlackBerry users use the media player versus 98 per cent for Apple and 56 per cent for Android and Symbian.”
There’s more bad news from de Renesse for RIM. He says, “Apple and Google have gained substantial market share in the business device and services market, where they were almost absent less than five years ago.
For example, from the same piece of research, we found that 98 per cent of smartphone users used an email application, regardless of what type of device they own.
Email, which once was a core differentiator for BlackBerry devices has now become a commodity.” Oh, dear.
Significantly, RIM’s own stats make very interesting reading. BlackBerry World now features more than 80,000 apps, which represents a 220 per cent increase from one year ago, and there are over 15,000 apps for PlayBook compared to less than 2,000 last year .
The company’s global customerbase grew to 78 million, driven primarily by growth in international markets and its BBM userbase has grown to around 56 million users globally.
These figures partially offset by the high churn in the USA. GoMobile News has always warned that RIM’s woes are actually exaggerated by its decline in its home market – North America rather than on a global basis.
You’ll find more useful data from Analysys Mason in its latest report enttiled, ‘Consumer smartphone usage: key findings from an on-device tracker ‘ here.