Talking tech since 2003

While there’s no doubt that Apple’s iPhone has been an amazingly successful product – both at the initial launch and through each subsequent update of the device.  While I previously criticized Research In Motion, the manufacturer of the BlackBerry, for not staying current with mobile trends, it appears that RIM is still very successful in the mobile industry.  You see, this fall RIM sold 14.2 million BlackBerry units; just barely outselling Apple’s iPhone, which only sold 14.1 million units.

While it’s easy to understand why someone would be flabbergasted over this fact – especially seeing as how the Apple iPhone seems to be significantly more “popular” than BlackBerry units – there are a number of logical reasons why the sales numbers are what they are.

First off, one has to consider that the fall/autumn season in which these sales figures analyze is not the prime selling season for the Apple iPhone.  This is because the iPhone has historically been announced in the spring or early summer, and many of the “loyal” iPhone users purchase their upgrades as soon as possible.  Thus, a great deal of iPhone sales occur closer towards the announce dates, meaning that when you average out the sales throughout the rest of the year, the iPhone is still a more successful device.

In addition to this, Apple entered the fall season with a less than desirable image in the public eye.  Between the “hacked” iTunes store, the “antennagate” issue with the iPhone 4, the constant delays with the white iPhone, and Verizon’s flaming media campaigns against AT&T’s network, it’s easy to see why some people were turned away from the iPhone.

However, even without the factors on Apple’s side, RIM has made a number of wise moves in order to make themselves more appealing to the public.  Even though I spoke negatively in regards to the BlackBerry Torch, the fact of the matter is that the phone was still a significant improvement for RIM.  In addition to the new line of higher-end phones that RIM produced, RIM also renewed their interest in low-end mobile devices.  This is an important factor, because by making their products available for people with different budgets, RIM was able to make their devices appealing and available to a greater number of users; users who obviously opted to purchase said devices.

Likewise, while RIM makes certain BlackBerry models exclusive to certain carriers, they still have phones available with just about every carrier.  Because of this, users who are unwilling or unmotivated to transfer mobile networks are able to upgrade to new BlackBerry models with ease.

In this same breath, an influx of mobile networks allows a greater competition in terms of contracts available.  Asides from the competition that is created from this aspect, it also creates the option for pre-paid devices; something that appears to only be available as a “hack” with the iPhone.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to see why the BlackBerry has had a tremendous level of luck in the last few months.  Will their success continue, or will the iPhone prevail in the long run?  Only the future will tell, but we’re anxious to hear your opinions on the matter.  Leave a comment!

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