Thanks to some new research it would seem that RIM's market presence for the UK business sector is not quite as bad as it is perceived. Many people are under the impression that it's just youngsters and teenagers in Great Britain using BlackBerry and these latest findings certainly go to disprove that theory. The research, which involved 600 businesses, was to establish what percentage of companies were supplying smartphones to staff. As expected, findings were pretty high with 71% of businesses saying that they did make them available to some staff members. Where things get interesting though is when businesses were asked about the smartphones that were on offer to employees. BlackBerry is holding the number one spot with 61% of respondents saying that they offer them to staff. These figures are considerably higher than the competition. 38% of businesses offer the Apple iPhone and Android is only 30%. Windows Phone comes trailing in at the rear with just 15%.
Although the above figures are great it isn't quite as simple as that because the employees were also asked about their primary device and this is where Android takes the pole position grabbing 51% of replies. The iPhone came in second with 23% and BlackBerry only managing 14%. So if business owners are preferring to supply a BlackBerry to staff why the U-Turn in the figures? The evidence points to the fact that many users are carrying two smartphones - a BlackBerry for business and another OS for taking care of other requirements which is probably gaming and browsing the web as well as apps.
If the theory is correct I'm not really surpised. I have said it before and I will say it again - that I strongly believe that the BlackBerry is by far the best way of managing email. Its simplicity, combined with the hardware keyboard is what makes us 'people who do'. Business owners are clearly still loving the idea of RIM's security and BlackBerry Enterprise Server and from a management perspective you can't really blame them. But currently the other operating systems offer many apps BlackBerry does not and consumers like that choice.
Purchasing smartphones is very different here in the UK compared to many places, including the USA. We have the choice of 12, 18 and 24 month contracts as well as pay-as-you-go options. If a business supplies a BlackBerry as a work tool it does not have to be expensive for a consumer to get another smartphone. It is now common for the UK networks to sell a range of Android devices that retail for under £150 on pay-as-you-go. And with the likes of some networks offering unlimited data for as little as £12.90 a month carrying two phones can be quite common. However, could we see a change in the future?
There are certain things that keep up us BlackBerry addicts using our beloved phones. BBM, the unified inbox, great social media integration and the famous flashing LED just to name a few. BlackBerry 10 will retain all these great features but also bring us so much more. For the smartphone users that want a big touch screen device for gaming and watching movies there will be a BB10 solution. And for the hardware QWERTY keyboard lovers there will also be a BB10 handset for you too shortly after. So everyone's a winner. In the long term could we see a new trend of people not needing (or wanting) a second smartphone? If RIM get things right with BlackBerry 10 I think that could well be the case. Who's with me?