The BlackBerry Reign in the Smartphone Revolution

Guest Post by: Asifa Hamid

Ever since the first smart phone was introduced by IBM in 1992, the saga of the smart phone revolution began initially at a gradual developmental pace but then it took an aggressive turn and all over the world, owning a smart phone became a must-have for any and every technology savvy individual. May it be a corporate professional, a freelancer, an entrepreneur or a socialite, utility of carrying a smart phone is invariable regardless of what profession or nature of work one may have.

The global smart phone revolution saw the development of operating systems for smart phones and stepping in of smart phone vendor companies. However, the most notable and popular smart phone companies among users remained only a few namely BlackBerry, Apple, Nokia and Motorola handheld devices. According to the last Gartner press release, “In 2009, smart phone sales reached 172.4 million units, a 23.8 per cent increase from 2008. In 2009, smart phone-focused vendors like Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) successfully captured market share from other larger device producers, controlling 14.4 and 19.9 per cent of the worldwide smart phone market, respectively.”

BlackBerry was officially introduced for the first time in Pakistan by the largest telecom service provider in Pakistan, Mobilink in the year 2005. Since then a large number of corporate as well as individual customers have started purchasing smart phones and to date the popular smart phones among Pakistani consumer market are BlackBerry from RIM and Apple iPhone. The reason why most people prefer the former over the latter is the ease of use and greater variety in the handheld devices.

Responding to the overwhelming customers’ response to introduction of BlackBerry handsets in the Pakistani smart phone market by Mobilink, other telecom service providers stirred to introduce BlackBerry handsets too. With Telenor, Ufone, Zong and Warid also jumping onto the bandwagon, BlackBerry’s share in the smart phone market is steadily increasing. Interestingly, roughly 80% of the BlackBerry market-share is held by Mobilink.  Besides having the first mover advantage, two additional factors work to Mobilink’s edge – a specialized after-sales support team to facilitate BlackBerry users and more importantly, being the only operator in Pakistan who is directly connected to RIM’s data center. These are of course on top of the network advantages of being part of the largest cellular family in the country.

It is exciting to see the smart phone revolution is as vibrant in Pakistan as it is the world over. The primary reason for this boom in the mobile phone technology is the fast growing telecom industry in our country. As the market shows potential, more players are entering into the smart phone arena from the operator and the handset manufacturing side. The BlackBerry undoubtedly continues to rule the local smart phone market. Competition is resulting in reduction of prices, enhancement of features and improvement in after sales support. With all these perks at one’s disposal, who would not want to own a BlackBerry?

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