While the fate of RIM across Western markets remains unknown ahead of next year’s BlackBerry 10 release date, the tale is a rather different one in three of the biggest economies in Africa. Across Egypt, Nigeria and Africa, BlackBerry Smartphones have once again outsold their main Android and iOS rivals during the current quarter.
While perhaps not the primary markets RIM has its sights set on, this is exactly the kind of positive news needed to nudge BlackBerry back into the public eye.
Given the way in which BlackBerry Smartphones cost between $200 and $2,000 in countries where the majority earn no more than $2 per day, owning a BlackBerry carries an enormous level of prestige in its own right. They have become some of the most recognized status symbols across the continent, with many buying them simply to show off their disposable income.
Approximately half of the 4 million known Smartphone users in Nigeria now carry BlackBerrys, with the brands presence among their wealthier end of the market expected to increase up to six-times over the next four years. This contrasts rather starkly with RIM’s fortunes in North American and European markets, where losses totaling $235 million were posted for the last quarter alone.
RIM’s future in the West hangs in the balance with everything riding on BlackBerry 10 release date efforts – over in Africa it appears their future is already a guaranteed one.
BlackBerry’s popularity in Africa is known to have exploded over recent years as much due to necessity as desire, given the way in which internet services are generally unreliable and landline telephone services in many areas remain nonexistent. The unreliability of cellular networks is also increasingly forcing users in some areas to carry at least two handsets.