BlackBerry still lives

29 Oct 2012

When people talk about smartphones, more often than not, they don’t talk about BlackBerry. And when they do, more often than not they talk about how Research In Motion is sliding into irrelevance in an iPhone/Android world (with a little Windows Phone mixed in).

Or so you’d assume from reading much of the gadget press. But both RIM and BlackBerry are far from dead.

For now.

For a start, BlackBerry ranks third in IDC’s latest smartphone survey. Granted, at 4.3% market share, it’s a distant third compared to Samsung (31.3% smartphone market share in Q3) and Apple (15%).

But it still outsells ZTE (4.2%) and HTC (4%), and that No. 3 slot comes at the expense of Nokia, which dropped out of the top 5 for the first time since IDC started the smartphone survey in 2004.

IDC notes that while RIM’s shipment volumes appear to have flattened, and relied on its older product portfolio and models to make the list, RIM’s installed base topped 80 million active users in Q3, which “provides further evidence of the company's widespread presence globally.”

That said, IDC cautions, RIM will be hard pressed to stay in the Top 5 in Q4 with no flagship model for the holidays and the first BB10 models not expected to arrive until the first quarter of next year.

Fair call. On the other hand, BB10 does have the potential to make BlackBerry sexy again, provided it can live up to the hype of its demos to date.

Engadget makes a good case for BB10 here.

Meanwhile, if you’d like a more detailed argument in favor of a RIM comeback, Tim Collins of ComputerWorld Canada has ten jolly convincing reasons.

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