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BlackBerry sales have slumped in the U.S. but is still strong in emerging markets
New models launched should remember why they are popular in developing world
In places like Brazil and South Africa, the 10 is the update to their current phone
in Sub-Saharan Africa there is expected to be 175 million new customers in the next 3 years
BlackBerry’s loss of market share in the U.S. is the stuff of legends. Last fall, it was estimated only about 2% of American phone users were still carrying their BlackBerry mobile with its iconic keypad.
But consider this: sub-Saharan Africa is expected to add 175 million new mobile users in just the coming 3 years. That’s according to the GSMA, which represents the world’s mobile operators.
“Mobile has already revolutionized African society and yet demand still continues to grow by almost 50 percent a year,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, GSMA.
That could be good news indeed for BlackBerry. Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry, estimates it holds a 70% market share in countries like South Africa.
The company’s new phones, announced this week, are not the ones some of its best customers in emerging markets would like to buy. They’re too expensive. But Research in Motion – which also this week changed its company name to BlackBerry – is pledging some of its six new models will address that.
While millions in China, Europe and the U.S. have adopted Android or iOS smartphones with a vengeance, millions more users in emerging markets are enthused about what’s in store for the new BlackBerry 10. It’s the update for what many of them are already using.
They live in countries like Brazil, Malaysia, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. They have embraced the BlackBerry for a combination of factors that all point to the different way mobile devices are used.
Unlike their counterparts in Europe and America, the mobile in their pocket is more likely to be their primary link to the internet.
BlackBerry Messenger is the connection that allows these users unlimited conversations without paying charges for SMS data. While young, brand-conscious Chinese may be willing to part with severa