Research in Motion (RIM), makers of the BlackBerry, have had a rough go as of late in the consumer market, facing plummeting market share and profitability issues. And it’s clear now that trend extends to the field service market as well. With this year’s BlackBerry World recently concluded, RIM did its best to drum up enthusiasm for its upcoming operating system release, but, as Aberdeen Group’s Sumair Dutta writes, “There seems to be very little by way of these announcements to indicate that RIM will be able reverse the downward slide in market share, particularly in field service.”
Dutta cites a 2011 Aberdeen report on mobility in field service, which found that only 15 percent of service organizations polled used BlackBerry devices, down from 26 percent in 2010 and 36 percent in 2008. That’s a 21 percent decline in just four years. Not too long ago BlackBerry was the device of choice for most service organizations looking for a non-rugged option, but the sexy iPhone/iPad and slew of more affordable Android devices has quickly eroded BlackBerry’s stature in field service.
A recent report from OnForce, a field service outsourcing firm, found similar trends in mobile device usage among field service folks. Per the study:
“The survey indicated Blackberry device usage has moved to a complete free-fall, while Android has continued steady growth, and for the first time accounts for more than half of all smart phone users…
- Blackberry device usage dropped to seven percent among all field techs; down from 11 percent last quarter – a 36 percent drop in use among Blackberry users in just three months.
- Meanwhile, Android smart phone users jumped to 52 percent, up from 46 percent last quarter – a 15 percent increase among those users in three months. More than half of all field technicians now use Android phones.
- iPhone use saw a modest increase, from 24 percent to 25 percent.”
RIM isn’t likely to just roll over and die — it’ll continue to push out new products, intent on reclaiming some of that lost market share. But nearly everyone agrees it’s only a matter of time until BlackBerrys are considered sooo 2000.
More: How the iPad Has Revolutionized the Job for One Field Service Veteran.
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