While Canada often struggles to avoid being shrouded by America’s shadow, we are decidedly different in a few ways. One of those ways is our persistent faith in Research In Motion, the Waterloo-based BlackBerry maker that has been innovating technology since 1984.
While the US has found it very easy to abandon RIM, we Canadians have been uncharaceristically patriotic about defending our homegrown brand. Sure, an array of customers and even Canadian media have thrown RIM around like a ragdoll during the past two years, but the proof is in the pudding: Canadians are not yet giving up on BlackBerry.
This may be difficult for some to believe, but it’s reinforced by a recent Forum Research poll performed on behalf of Canadian Business magazine in September. According to the research, 23% of smartphone owners currently use a BlackBerry, just behind Google’s Android at 27%. That’s much different than the US, where Android cracks 40% and BlackBerry hovers near single digits (it varies slightly by source of data, of course).
Apple still reigns king—35% of Canadian smartphone owners have an iPhone. So no, BlackBerry isn’t number one, or even number two in its own country right now. But what’s really interesting to note is what type of device people plan to buy next.
According to the data, 18% of mobile users in Canada plan to make their next smartphone a BlackBerry—let’s assume BB10, because it’s out relatively soon and no one is buying a non-upgradeable Bold 9900 this late in the game. Now, 18% isn’t a huge number; indeed, it’s lower than the current ownership of 23%. So how is this good news?
Well, only 17% of users plan to buy an Android. Yes, the operating system that’s taking over the US is actually poised to lose ground in Canada. Apple’s iPhone? Well, it’s captured the interest of more than half of Canada’s mobile users, so it’s not even a remotely close race. But still: RIM clearly has a shot at being number two, at least in Canada.
And let’s not forget that Canada is likely the only country in the world where the PlayBook has second-best tablet marketshare at 19%.
We’re not surprised. While we don’t have many good things to say about BlackBerry OS 7 and the current offering of devices, we’re pretty stoked for BB10. Early demonstrations point to an all-new mobile platform that is sleek, efficient, and—this is the key for RIM—innovative.
If RIM can lure enough developers—or successfully port Android apps—the company will be back in the game with an extremely competitive OS that rivals the best of iOS, Android, and Windows.
Whether anyone will care, however, is another question entirely.