Android smartphones may be king in 2015AD, but RIM Blackberry quality shines

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:

  1. Android – 14%
  2. Windows Phone 7 – 9%
  3. Apple iPhone – 8%
  4. 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!”.

Maybe so.

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.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.


  • Hi Lindsworth,

    Great article, well thought out but I have to raise a few concerns.

    You started off by saying “Despite arguments of not having an apps store, touch interface and being overpriced” then how do you explain App World, BB OS 6, and on the matter of being overpriced; they are overpriced.

    I did say it cost little to nothing to have one replaced here in Jamaica but what I didnt go on to say was that it was relating to the Black Market. If you are to go the route of official means (and for what ever reason Jamaicans seem to dislike official means) it would cost an arm and a leg just as any other smart phone on the market.

    The reason why I say its overpriced, is because all these years that the Blackberry has been in production, it ALWAYS feels like incomplete hardware. Newer models of pre-existing Blackberries are always a slight bump in performance or memory but the phone still goes back to shit after using it a few months.

    Take for instance the 8520 (Gemini): no flash, shitty camera, horrible memory. Out comes the 9300: Same shitty camera, a slight memory bump, still no flash and zOMG now with 3G :O but the phone is still rubbish.

    Yes they do have durable hardware but what good is durable hardware is the software is consistently frowned upon?

    Just my 2 dollars 🙂

  • Ryan, I agree with your expressed sentiments with regards to hardware vis-à-vis software, but that was not the focus of my article. I was trying to figure out another reason to Horace’s question posed in his article. Hence my reference to it!

    Keep in mind, however, the article is in reference to stats from the UK by WDC.

    A similar study would have to be done here in Jamaica to establish if the same is true here, as we are not a developed world country, and thus have slightly different buying habit. Unlikely, as Telecom Providers don’t like spending any money on market research; Google is their thing!!!

    Also it is early days yet to do any kind of statistical review on hardware, being as the Apple iPhone is yet to achieve significant penetration to be even statistically significant.

    Note: the typical Jamaican is not First World in their thinking i.e. wanting the best at ANY price. They are most likely to go to technicians to have their smartphone “fixed” or “pulled”, that the got “from farein’” if so be the case. So they [Jamaicans] have a penchant to like flashy phones as opposed to the technical vagaries of Operating Systems or even the hardware!!

    Good to remember too, that it is popularity [marketing, advertising] that Telecom Providers use to sell smartphones in Jamaica, not specs. The average jasmaica has an IDC (I don’t care) attitude to specs. He just want to knowwho to complain to when he has a problem.

    Ditto too the availability of parts, as the typical Jamaica, unlike our Developed World cousins (this bears repeating) are more accepting of low quality products, as we are, sadly a country used to very low expectations.

    I know that these arguments about smartphones can inflame the passions and bring out the worst vices in many a techie or technology writer. Hence the quoting of stats and my analysis, trying to deftly avoid slandering any particular brand, OS or for that matter hardware.

    I just stuck to the fact and used writer’s articles to build my argument!

    DISCLOSURE: I am pro-Apple, CEO Steve Jobs, Tablets and Apple. Also, heavily Statistics analysis-minded.

  • Though the BlackBerry devices may be more durable, most cell phone service plans do allow renewal within 24 months. Not to mention, there are a plethora of warranty options that make the said lack of reliability in iPhones and Androids an afterthought.

    The greater part of the Corporate and Enterprise is embracing the app-enabled smartphone revolution, which will impact the Blackberry workflows enterprise IT has grown accustomed to. If you are interested in hearing more on this topic, Fiberlink will be hosting a Webinar on July 7th that covers it in full.

    You can register here:

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