Android overtakes BlackBerry in USA – what about SA?

Posted on March 9, 2011 by

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Today more stats have been released to back up last week’s data. The fact is Android is out selling Blackberry and iPhone in the US and other markets. This is based on ComScore’s release showing that iPhone’s market share is stable, Windows and Blackberry is dropping while Android is growing.

Today at CJiX in South Africa I was asked why I thought this was the case? Here is SA the Blackberry has a very strong foothold, the audience were shocked to hear in the US Android is leading the way. So to answer the question…

iPhone is a single device (2 if you count 4 and 3GS), this means one price point. This will aways eliminate a percentage of the market. What if you subjectively dont like the phone? The answer is no choice! It reminds me of Ford leading the way with the motor car “Any colour sir as long as it is Black”. So iPhone cannot be king of the castle.

Android has many many handsets, it has different price points and provides consumer choice and personal identification. This opens up the market, instead of closing it. Now the Android ecosystem may offer less apps than iPhone but it is wide and growing rapidly. The ecosystem integrates seamlessly with Google Mail – more deeply than iPhone eg Contacts etc.  Furthermore Google is investing significantly in developing apps for Android which  already has Google Voice and Googles etc.

So why not BlackBerry? The ecosystem is not as good. OS and feature releases are slow compared to iPhone and Android. The app store is small without choice and depth. The BlackBerry USP of email integration is less powerful today than it was.

I fully believe that Android and iPhone will overtake BlackBerry in South Africa, but I do not see this change being soon. It will be a longer 3-5 year journey, which will depend on many market factors, not least how BlackBerry fight back.