I have used the BlackBerry Browser on a regular basis and while it is not as functional as mobile Safari, or, functional at all depending on your point of view, it does allow you to accomplish specific tasks. I view the browser on the BlackBerry as utilitarian much like many other features on the device. RIM tends to build apps to solve problems, not necessarily in the most graceful way. I was reading an article on ARS Technica that made me think of how Robb describes the poor web browsing on a BlackBerry. Recent data from NetApplication shows mobile browser usage by operating system. This is the same standard data we usually see, but there was something here I have never noticed before. Windows Mobile beat out the BlackBerry in web usage over the month of March. Given both companies have almost no mobile web browsing traffic, Windows Mobile almost doubled web browsing of BlackBerry. Take a look at the market share numbers data.
First, lets look at the sales of smartphone for the last 3 months of 2009 in the United States only.
41.6% – Blackberry
25.3% – iPhone
18.0% – Windows Mobile
6.1% – Palm
5.2% – Google
Now take a look at smartphone sales worldwide for 2009.
47.0% – Symbian
21.0% – Blackberry
15.0% – iPhone
9.0% – Windows Mobile
5.0% – Android
Regardless of if you look at US only or worldwide numbers, BlackBerry market share is at least 2x the market share of Windows Mobile. Despite having twice the number of devices on the market, Windows Mobile users browse the web almost twice as much as Blackberry users. The new WebKit BlackBerry Browser cannot come fast enough. Here is an excerpt of the article from ARS, pay close attention to the last sentence.
The iPad’s Web share grew steadily from April 3 until the weekend following the launch, April 10 and 11. At that time, the number peaked at 0.04 percent both days, before settling back down as users went back to work. Comparatively, NetApplications recorded an average of 0.04 percent for BlackBerry devices over the month of March, while all versions of Android together came in at 0.07 percent, as did Windows Mobile.
Once RIM provides a solid web browser will their market dominance in the US impact the browser usage share in a meaningful way? Will we see an explosive growth in web usage by Blackberry users and apps that leverage the web browser window? Or are Blackberry users already use to finding alternate ways to get web content, thus growth will be gradual? Personally, I can see a huge uptick for Storm users but for the traditional Blackberry devices without a touch screen, is this a big deal? What is more important the web browsers or the apps that leverage the web browser? So many questions, just give us a solid browser already!