About 3 years ago, I predicted that Blackberry would eat Nokia’s lunch. It wasn’t a prediction that required too much clairvoyance, it was apparent that Nokia was running down a slippery slope. Too bad, Blackberry ate not only the lunch but also the dinner. As far as Nigeria is concerned, Nokia is going through a time of famine. Nigeria is not the aberration; Nokia is actually next to dead; a permanent lodger at the business ICU for the past few years.
But then the story is going around full circle for Blackberry. You would wonder if this is not stale news considering that Blackberry is now getting unearthed in archeological digs in the US and other places. Well, in Nigeria the story is different.
Blackberry has been on the decline year after year for quite a while but the performance in Nigeria has been different. Because the Blackberry was the easiest and cheapest means of going online for the average folks, the sales was huge. Despite that RIM (before becoming Blackberry) treated Nigeria with contempt. No regional office, no full warranty for devices sold here.
BBM was a nice feature – you could chat all day long without additional cost of SMS. Mobile web, when available, was also nice. Most people access their emails and other things via the BBM only. Some even got a workaround on BB service on Airtel where the BB device becomes a mobile hotspot. MTN’s too mean; they never allowed that.
While I don’t know any Nigerian without a phone, it got to a level where I didn’t know any middle class folk without a Blackberry. There is even a movie about the darn thing; the movie was as crappy as every single Blackberry service.
Then Samsung and others discovered the Nigerian’s love for everything shining. For the last few months, S3 and S4 have been flying off the shelves as quickly as they could be stocked. The telcos also wised up; now there is plethora of data plans every Johnny can sign up for. Unlike the BB service where the data limit is uncapped, the mobile plans have Fedoras on them, you browse hard it finishes fast.
Why are guys dumping Blackberry? Because it is the crappiest phone you could have. It is slow; buggy; dies on you without a care; no local warranty. So you are practically on your own. Try to reboot a BB device and you would see a child grow up into an adult before it comes by. Everyone thought the Z10 would provide redemption, but alas, it didn’t.
So once again, it is swan song for another device. Blackberry would be way of the Dodo by December this year. Mark my word.
Do I feel bad for them? Not at all! I hardly feel bad about anything.