Tech

RIM keeps a hold on the market…at least in Europe

When asked about smartphones, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Often it’ll be the iPhone, or one of Samsung’s devices, maybe even the new Google Nexus 4. Most likely, it’ll be something that runs on either iOS or Android. But what people these days are forgetting is that not so very long ago Blackberrys were the smartphones to have, being quite the preference for business phone and the phone of choice among the “chic” set.

But as the iPhone and other Android phones continued to garner more prestige and as demand for them increased, it seemed like Blackberry manufacturer RIM couldn’t keep up. Nevertheless, the almost-forgotten Blackberry still clings to a slice of the market pie; and it’s most evident in Europe, where the Blackberry smartphone is still in demand.

RIM’s market track

The global market share for smartphones can be split into three major chunks—iOS, the even larger Android, and then everyone else. Sadly for a phone that was in so much demand before, the Blackberry is now found in the “everyone else” slice of that pie. The RIM global market share plunged to an abysmal 4.3%, which, compared to the major market shareholders, is a mere pittance. Indeed, a lot of analysts figure that this might be the death knell for the once-famous phone brand.

The Cavalry from Europe

However, all isn’t completely lost for RIM. It appears that, for a great number of teens in Europe that doesn’t have enough money for an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy, the Blackberry is a saving grace. As European teenagers become more and more immersed in conversing via mobile phones, it appears that they turn to Blackberrys as the reliable, less expensive, but still fashionable alternative to Apple or Android products.

According to reports, there are a great deal of teenage Blackberry users in France, Spain, and the United Kingdom, which provides evidence that RIM is far from dying, even though its markets back in the US and other global areas are dwindling.

Why Blackberry for Europe?

Young people prefer to use the Blackberry for mobile media —social networking, IM, email, browsing the Internet—because the Blackberry can satisfactorily comply with these needs. This is more than simply texting; they are relying on the smartphone for their social interactions. A good 64% of student-age demographic and teens possess a Blackberry in Spain, while the United Kingdom’s teen demographic present a whopping 46% of Blackberry users.

The Blackberry is popular among teens (mainly in mid-to-late teens), because mainly of its price and performance. Teens and students do not have much disposable income. This is mainly why Nokia phones are still in demand (they are far cheaper still, and own a larger demographic than the Blackberry). Yet the Blackberry is still associated with a kind of prestige that makes it desirable over a Nokia, without having to shell out for quite as much.

RIM still has a market and a bit of a hold. This may just give the company enough time to regroup with its new Blackberry plans, and maybe it still has a fighting chance in the world market.