Many smartphone users would consider almost any other platform over BlackBerry, suggesting that the Canadian firm has a long way to go before it can regain some of the ground it has lost to the likes of iOS and Android.
Nearly half of those who responded to a Dialaphone survey that asked if there is a platform that they would never consider using gave BlackBerry as their answer. The firm’s OS, recently revamped with the BlackBerry 10 iteration, won considerably more votes than its main competitors in the smartphone market; iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
This result does not bode well for BlackBerry, especially considering the firm appears to have pinned its hopes almost entirely on its re-launched OS, which emerged in January. First announced at BlackBerry World 2012 in May last year, its impact was reduced by delays in its introduction and the leaking of information about many of its major features.
Further to our own survey, financial research firm MKM Partners last week published figures which suggest that 83% of US consumers do not know about the recent re-launch of BlackBerry’s mobile platform. For a firm which, in January 2010, could boast 42.6% of the US smartphone market this news must be devastating and it puts a major spotlight on the rapid decline that the Canadian manufacturer has experienced.
So why is BlackBerry now held in so little esteem amongst smartphone users? Well, the brand seems to have lost a great deal of the lustre it once had, meaning that a BlackBerry device now lacks the glitz and glamour that is widely associated with new Apple or Samsung handsets. BlackBerry has long since been overtaken in terms of market share by those two manufacturers’ platforms of choice, iOS and Android respectively.
The complete redevelopment of the Canadian firm’s software that has been seen with BlackBerry 10 is a move to create a platform that can compete with the biggest names in mobile right now. BlackBerry has revamped the way in which its software works so that it could be seen as a real challenge to the dominance of iPhones and Galaxy handsets.
However, there hasn’t been a great deal to draw people to the new platform, least of all the lack of apps available for it. While the number of apps available for BlackBerry 10 has now passed the 100,000 mark, this figure still pales in comparison to the 800,000 available from Google Play.
Several big names are also missing from this list, including Instagram, although BlackBerry did make a coup recently by bringing free messaging service WhatsApp over to BlackBerry 10. This could well prove to be a pyrrhic victory though, as the app stands as a direct competitor to BlackBerry Messenger and the free nature of messages sent through BlackBerry’s proprietary service has long been a big selling point of its devices.
That other struggling upstart in the smartphone world, Windows Phone, also proved unpopular in our survey. However, we found it surprising that iOS, the second biggest player in the world when it comes to smartphone platforms, scored equally with Microsoft’s offering and it looks like there are a significant number of users who do not feel that Apple’s platform is for them.
Overall, it is Android that polled the smallest number of votes, making it the winner as such. This wasn’t reflected when we asked the same question on the Dialaphone Facebook page however, with a greater number of people indicating that they are not fans of Google’s mobile OS. One Facebook user, David Finden, even went so far as to leave the comment “Android, absolutely hate it”.
BlackBerry has a long way to go before it can win back the loyal customers that it has lost over recent years, customers that have been picked up by the likes of Apple and Samsung. That many do not even know that the firm has re-launched its mobile platform must be a massive concern to the manufacturer and a huge obstacle that needs to be overcome.
Even with this in mind, we are surprised that there seems to be so much animosity towards a company that was once at the very top of the smartphone game and which can still boast millions of users around the world. Trying to win people over to a whole new platform with this kind of bad feeling in place will not be an easy task at all and we can only watch with interest as to how it all pans out over the coming months.