The best BlackBerry phone released this year was actually an Android phone. That about sums up the current state of BlackBerry 10, the mobile operating system that was unveiled with great fanfare in 2013 but has since spiraled steadily downward into the same black hole of irrelevance that consumed webOS and Firefox OS. In fact, BlackBerry 10 has really become the mobile platform equivalent of AOL’s dial-up Internet service in the sense that people still use it even though you’re always surprised to find out when they do.
I was reminded of this today when looking at Nielsen’s big survey on the state of the American smartphone industry in 2015. In a survey of more than 30,000 mobile subscribers in the United States, a mere 0.7% of them used a phone based on BlackBerry’s operating system:
Let the record show that Microsoft’s own Windows Phone, which is hardly a dynamo in the modern smartphone market, has a market share that’s four times the size of BlackBerry’s right now. In fact, BlackBerry’s OS is being badly outgunned by the dreaded “other” category that has a market share more than 71% larger than BlackBerry’s right now.
And here’s the most damning thing: It’s a good bet that a significant chunk of the BlackBerry devices still in use are running on legacy BlackBerry platforms. That means BlackBerry 10’s actual share of the American smartphone market right now is probably a good deal lower than 0.7%.
At any rate, people who still love BlackBerry’s hardware had better hope the Android-based Priv sells well enough to make BlackBerry some good money, because it’s impossible to see its hardware business surviving based on BlackBerry 10 sales alone.