RIM's stronghold in Indonesia weakened by Android gains

The BlackBerry maker's hold of the lucrative Indonesian market shows signs of weakening as Google's Android gains in the emerging market, according to market figures.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Android has overtaken the BlackBerry as the most popular mobile operating system in Indonesia, a key battleground for smartphone makers and platform builders, with a market share of 52 percent, according to IDC figures.


BlackBerry maker Research in Motion was the number one smartphone brand in the country for the second-quarter, but was replaced by other dominant market players -- such as Samsung, HTC, and Sony -- which have all made inroads into the country's growing smartphone market. 

According to Jakarta-based IDC market analyst Darwin Lie:

The increase in shipments of Android-based phones in Indonesia is driven not just by its affordability but also the broad range of applications and growing popularity of touchscreens. The delay in the launch of BlackBerry 10, which is causing buyers to wait until 2013 for new models, has also contributed an impact to the change in OS preference.

RIM has seen Indonesia as a 'safe haven' in recent years as the firm expands to countries of burgeoning populations with a emerging base of smartphone users.

But Indonesia's smartphone market continues to grow and out-grow the former dominant players: by 10 percent quarter-on-quarter and 25 percent year-on-year.  

The reason? Touch-screen phones. While Android is all-but entirely exclusively on touch-screen phones, RIM still falls behind in the trends. IDC said it was "not surprising since there are more than 10 vendors currently offering Android smartphone models in Indonesia."

IDC expects smartphone shipments in Indonesia to exceed 7 million units in 2012, the research firm said. 

Earlier this year, RIM expanded its sights to the lucrative Indonesian market. With one of the largest populations in the world, the smartphone maker launched a new 'emerging market' BlackBerry Curve 9220 in the region. For RIM, expanding to the region -- including India, which RIM has a 15 percent and rising market share -- it was a short-term revenue hit to offset its dwindling Western market share.

Out of a population of more than 240 million people, RIM has lost 6 percent of its once-held 7 million subscribers -- compared to the U.K.'s more than 8 million subscribers -- it remains a key market for the ailing company. 

The fact is that while Indonesia still has a fraction of its population hooked on smartphones, it's no longer strictly speaking an "emerging market." It's far from a mature market, and it's still developing, but it's on its feet and learning to walk, rather than crawling around and grabbing whatever it can get.

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