BlackBerry finds safe haven in UK, despite a fall in sales

Summary:While BlackBerry sales continues to suffer across the U.S and Canada, the smartphone has found safe haven in the UK, of all places.

BlackBerrys, despite their once popular status across the U.S., Canada and Europe, have found a safe haven in exile in the United Kingdom, of all places.

It has been only a month since the BlackBerry global outage, which spread across four days and affected over half its worldwide user base, an estimated 50 million users. The press alone ripped a hole in Research in Motion's communications strategy, which left BlackBerry users in some cases more frustrated than the outage itself.

But despite the odds, BlackBerrys retained high status and stormed ahead of both Nokia and Apple in the UK market, despite shipments declining 2 percent, as Apple's iPhone fell by just over a quarter.

(Source: Flickr, CC)

On a bright side, Samsung jumped 178 percent to 1.1 million shipments, and HTC grew by nearly half to 800,000 shipments.

While Nokia's sales slumped the most by 87 percent to a meagre 130,000 shipments, Sony Ericsson fell 32 percent to just 300,000 shipments, after it was announced last month that Sony would buy out Ericsson's share to take the venture into its wholly-owned arms.

Nokia hopes that, as many consider the company's Symbian mobile operating system of choice is outdated or "perceived as dead", Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd said, the Finnish phone giant is hoping to regroup with its Microsoft partnership as it rolls out Windows powered phones.

One of the reasons for Apple's loss could be the lacking availability of the new iPhone 4S smartphone, with mobile phone contract renewal or upgrade dates falling at an inconvenient time. It is thought however that the Christmas holiday period will boost smartphone sales.

Plus, as many had hoped that the next-generation iPhone 5 would be out in September, many are still holding out for the model next year, skipping the iPhone 4S altogether.

Statistics from analytics firm Canalys show smartphone shipments declined by 7 percent to 5.3 million, with a mediocre performance across the major manufacturers.

Research in Motions' marketshare has fallen below 10 percent, according to Shepherd, noting its 58 percent year-over-year drop in North America.

But in areas of high wealth, the United Arab Emirates for example showed a massive strong quarter of growth, up 181 percent to 1.4 million units shipped in the region.

But the outage alone did not deter loyal followers of the BlackBerry brand. The popular BlackBerry Messenger service was still a unique selling point for particularly the younger generation across Europe, though now rivalled by Apple's iMessage service, which offers vastly the same function amongst iPhone and iOS 5 users.

Related:

Topics: Mobility, Apple, BlackBerry, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Smartphones

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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