The South African mobile market is an interesting one. The trends shown in our corner of the world are often quite different to those seen across the Atlantic – the BlackBerry retention habit is one of them. For several years after BlackBerry – or Research in Motion as it was then known – spiralled into obscurity and general lacklustreness in most of the world, it strongly held onto life in South Africa (mainly with teens and students) before being overtaken by the giants of a greener sort.
It seems that BlackBerry failed to innovate in the key areas that Android OEMs were pioneering – the Canadian company assumed that because people loved BlackBerry OS and physical keyboards back in 2007, that they’d only hold onto that even today. That’s where they were sorely mistaken, something proven after a series of failed product launches and a rapidly dropping market share in recent years.
BlackBerry’s latest attempt at relevance came at the end of last year with their absurdly-named “Priv”. It signaled that even the once-veteran phone maker had given up on its own platform, because it ran a flavour of the green robot: Android Lollipop. While it was fairly well received, the general consensus around BlackBerry’s homebrew operating system BB10 was “too little, too late”. It had some unique features but both the software and the hardware was several years late to the market, and the market share statistic reflects that.
Finally, Vodacom recently revealed the extent of the Android domination over the South African marketplace. Of their 13.4mil active users connecting to the network, 61.4% of them identified as Android devices, with BlackBerry still clinging to life at 17.7%. Bringing up the rear are iOS (7.9%) and Symbian and Windows (Phone) Mobile with 5% apiece.
As a software developer, this spread of operating systems should tell you something important: if you are interested in mobile development – Java is the right language to focus on. Since it is used in developing Android applications, it’s a great start to building your own Android apps and can be used for application programming just as well.
Click here if you’re interested in taking one of Hyperion’s Java courses: we offer bootcamps and a wide variety of short courses. Comment with your views on this article in the comments section below, and follow Hyperion Hub developments in the future if you’d like to see more articles like these for the South African market.
Author: Matthew de Need
Date originally published: 17/02/16