New iPhone 4S has impacted on BlackBerry sales

iPhone 4S sales hit BlackBerry

When Apple first launched the iPhone 4S back in October, there were suggestions that many of its new features would directly hit BlackBerry. A new iMessage service making it easier to send group messages seemed designed to compete with Research in Motion’s highly popular feature BlackBerry Messenger. Apple, in its marketing, also seemed to target the business and corporate market, traditionally the preserve of BlackBerry. Now those suggestions that the new iPhone would take a chunk of BlackBerry’s consumers seems to have come true as RIM announce a reduction in sales.

This autumn, RIM announced a new range of BlackBerry OS7 devices with a new refresh of its smartphones in 2012. In the past year, smartphones have become faster, bigger and have interwoven work and play with some feeling BlackBerry has been left behind. Analysts now believe that the launch of the iPhone 4S, Android devices becoming more price competitive, a new range of Windows Phones wowing the mobile market and new tablets like the Kindle Fire, RIM has more competition from all corners.

In September and October the BlackBerry OS 7 devices sold well. Yet the figures show that as the iPhone 4S launched, and its price reduced, sales of the BlackBerry dramatically reduce.

This will leave Rim concerned ahead of its new line of “superphones” due to launch in 2012. They will run the BBX operating system. It is expected at least one will feature a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 8 megapixel camera, slight frame and a touch screen without the BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. Leaked pictures show a device around the same size as Samsung’s Galaxy SII. It is expected to hit shelves in June.

Such a device would make it much easier for BlackBerry to tackle its competition in the smartphone market. The improved and upgraded iPhone 4S comes with 800 MHz dual core Apple A5 chip, 512 MB, an 8 megapixel camera and 3.5 inch display with 640 x 960 resolution. In the same way that Apple sales fell behind those of Android devices like the SII in the first three quarters of 2011 as the Android smartphones rapid development seemed to leave the iPhone wanting, a new upgrade means Apple is finishing the year in a dominant position. Similarly, upgrading to meet the same spec as the competition could do the same for BlackBerry.

At the moment, RIM’s share of the smartphone market in the US is at 18% in August, behind Google’s Android which stands at 43% and Apple’s iOS at 28%. It is, however, ahead of Microsoft with just an 8% share of the smartphone market. Those figures are based on research by Nielsen.

The iPhone 4S’ place in the record books is already assured as the device became the fastest selling smartphone of all time, shifting four million units in its first three days on the shelves. Apple resurgence in the smartphone market after a dull 2011 which had seen it edged into second place in the US behind Android had left some wondering whether it could regain ground again. The iPhone 4S has changed that, paving the way for the launch of an iPhone 5 which is expected at some point in 2012. Yet success in one quarter inevitably leads to a hit in another and this time it seems that BlackBerry is the one that has suffered as a result. However, much like Apple, if RIM can innovate and upgrade they could see a similar rise in sales next year.