BlackBerry OS Stats: More Than 50 Percent of Users Still on Last Generation OS
RIM wants BlackBerry developers to update their applications for the BlackBerry 6 OS...but with more than half of all BlackBerry subscribers still running older versions of the BlackBerry OS and a newer version just around the corner, developers may want to hold off for now.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) yesterday released some interesting new statistics on BlackBerry smartphone OS usage, along with BlackBerry App World download numbers by OS, for both paid and free apps.
One stat that jumped out at me: 50 percent of all BlackBerry smartphones users are still running BlackBerry OS 5.0, the last version of RIM’s BlackBerry OS behind “BlackBerry 6.” Currently, only 18 percent of worldwide BlackBerry users are on some version of BlackBerry 6. And the remaining 32 percent of BlackBerry subscribers are using BlackBerry OS 4.7.1 or lower.
With 50 percent of BlackBerry users still running BlackBerry OS 5.0, it’s safe to say that more than half of all BlackBerry subscribers are using last generation RIM devices, which could help to explain why so many BlackBerry users are jumping ship for other platforms; many BlackBerry users can’t even run the best, and most modern, BlackBerry OS on their smartphones.
This is largely due to the fact that many of RIM’s “older devices”—devices released more than a year ago—do not support BlackBerry 6, and are therefore stuck running BlackBerry 5.0 or lower. Also, a good portion or RIM’s subscribers are corporate users with no control over when, or if, their IT departments decide to upgrade handheld software. And corporate IT departments aren’t always “speedy” when it comes to upgrading BlackBerry software.
BlackBerry 6 was released last August along with RIM’s BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone, and it’s now available for most of RIM’s “new” devices, including the Bold 9780, Bold 9650, and Curve 93xx devices, and a few older devices, like the Bold 9700.
The next version of the BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 7, is expected to be released along with RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9900 device, which should hit U.S. stores shelves in late summer or early fall 2011.
The recent Developer Blog post is meant to motivate BlackBerry devs to update their applications for the “new” BlackBerry 6 OS, and it offers links to a number of resources and tools to help them do so. But if I were a BlackBerry developer, these numbers wouldn’t exactly make me want to rush out and update my app, especially since 82 percent of all BlackBerry users are running a OS version other than BlackBerry 6. And BlackBerry 7 is right around the corner.
However, a few additional stats could certainly serve as extra motivation. Roughly 54 percent of all app purchases on RIM’s BlackBerry App World software shop are made on BlackBerry 6 devices, according to RIM—94 percent of paid apps were downloaded to BlackBerry OS 5 and BlackBerry 6 devices. In other words, users with BlackBerry 6 devices are more likely to buy apps than users running any other BlackBerry OS version.
The majority of free app downloads also come from OS 5.0 and BlackBerry 6 devices, RIM says, making up 88 percent of all downloads. More specifically, 31 percent of free App World downloads came from BlackBerry 6 devices and 57 percent came from BlackBerry 5.0 handhelds.
I’ve included charts below that detail RIM’s past two BlackBerry OS usage updates, as well, for comparison. And you can check out my recent BlackBerry by the Numbers post from RIM’s BlackBerry World conference for some related stats on total BlackBerry subscribers, total app downloads, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) deployments and more.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.