BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) might be losing its market share in almost all major markets, but in one region, it is still the most preferred brand. The Canadian firm is the clear winner in South Africa, even beating out Samsung, which is dominating the smartphone market in most of the parts of the world because it offers a large variety of handsets and the fact that they are affordable. However, these factors have not been of much help to the Korean company in trying to break into the South African smartphone market.
Top three slots held by BlackBerry devices
The 8520 Curve model released by BlackBerry in 2009 has been the most popular device in South Africa for the last four years. Vodacom (Vodafone’s name in parts of Africa) compiled a list of the most-used smartphones in South Africa, which was published by Mybroadband.co.za. According to this list, the next two most preferred devices are also manufactured by BlackBerry. The fourth position is held by a Samsung device.
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The South African smartphone market is accurately represented by Vodacom’s numbers. The Interactive Advertising Bureau has released information that states Vodacom’s network is most preferred in South Africa by smartphone users.
What makes BlackBerry devices popular?
BlackBerry phones have become popular in South Africa for a number of reasons. Before the smartphone revolution, BlackBerry devices were seen as a status symbol by many in the developing world. BlackBerry devices were also the first choice of the people working in desirable corporate jobs, and the phone became a symbol of white-collar success. Of course, the device also offered users with the ability to check emails, and it came with a convenient keyboard.
The popularity of the brand increased by leaps and bounds with the launch of the messaging service BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). It was among the few messaging apps available when released, and other messaging apps such as WhatsApp and others were not even heard of. The fact that messages between two BlackBerry devices could be sent for free acted as an added incentive. The strong network effects Blackberry created with BBM are still paying the company dividends today.