Is It Just Me, Or, Shouldn’t More Than 10% Of BlackBerry Users Be Using BlackBerry 6?

Yesterday morning Research in Motion, via the official @BlackBerryDev Twitter account Tweeted out a link to the “Choosing a Target Device OS” page which is set up to help developer figure out what OS they should code their BlackBerry applications for.  One the more interesting graphs listed on the page was the BlackBerry Subscribers by OS pie chart.

According to the chart, 40% of BlackBerry users are at least 2 major OS releases back. 90% of BlackBerry users are at least one major OS build back.  Is it just me, or, shouldn’t more than 10% of BlackBerry users be using BlackBerry 6?

Although it seems like it may have been out longer, BlackBerry 6, debuted on the BlackBerry Torch 9800 back when it was released last August.  RIM, however, had been officially and unofficially touting BlackBerry 6 as the OS that would change everything for a year prior to it’s release.  BlackBerry 6 was supposed bring in the new BlackBerry Browser that would be on par with mobile Safari.  BlackBerry 6 was supposed to make people who defected to Android and the iPhone regret that they ever left.  Clearly, all the things that were supposed to happen with BlackBerry 6 didn’t…

According to the “Choosing a Target Device OS” page, only three devices; the Torch 9800, the Style 9670, and the Bold 9780 even support BlackBerry 6.  We know, however, that the Bold 9650, Bold 9700, Curve 3G, and Pearl 3G support, or, can support BlackBerry 6.  Maybe these devices were left off the list because RIM left it up to the carriers to deploy BlackBerry 6 to these devices.  An awful lot of carriers, after seeing what BlackBerry 6 offered over previous versions of the BlackBerry OS, simply didn’t bother…

To make matters even worse, many carriers have decided not to carry some of the devices that run, or, in the case of Verizon and the BlackBerry Storm 9570, could have run, BlackBerry 6 out of the box.   Instead, they’ve opted to wait for the next generation of BlackBerry devices that will run BlackBerry 6.1, which, from what we’ve heard, is supposed to be a major upgrade of the BlackBerry Operating System…

I know… that sounds like something we’ve heard before…




  • Jeff

    It’s a great point, but it just speaks to the fractured nature of RIM’s smartphone archive and their disconnect with consumers. When Apple rolled out iOS4, even the most casual of 3GS users knew about it and ran to iTunes for the upgrade. There’s no way easily upgrade your OS on BlackBerry unless you’re a quasi-hacker. People don’t use BB Desktop. They don’t know when their carrier makes new upgrades, and your average user is not going to a device wipe and install it manually.

    Of course, the biggest problem is that OS6 itself just isn’t that good (some, including me, prefer the smoother OS5), and the devices that run it (primarily the Torch) aren’t all that impressive. RIM’s in trouble.

  • DavidB

    Not at all surprised. The BlackBerry product line has been stagnant for 7+ months. And not a single 6.1 device announced yet. And even the devices coming are going to be “new” sure, but still a full hardware generation behind Android and Apple.

    I’m looking forward to the Monaco and Montana, but even when Verizon finally gets around to launching them they are gonna be way behind in specs to the other platforms they offer. I don’t get a choice due to BES. Verizon better offer the Bold Touch with no camera or I’m screwed with 9650NC my only option.

  • Chris

    Robb, your last paragraph nails it for me. I had to replace my Storm 1 due to hardware failure. I had been out of my contract for 9 months (Verizon), so I could have gotten a new BB with 6.0. Instead of locking myself into a contract, I bought a Storm2 off eBay. I would love to have OS6 (not to mention faster hardware)… but I don’t want to give up my touchscreen. I refuse to lock into another contract unless RIM gives me an upgrade worth getting.
    Soon, I will have my Playbook and will stop complaining about the web exerience on my Storm anyhow.

  • Jono

    While I agree, the update process for BlackBerry devices is poor, I think it’s much better than what the Windows Mobile devices were like.

    If you want to compare to iOS, then the tradeoff would be that in order to use your BlackBerry at all, you would have to install BlackBerry Desktop Manager. If RIM were to do this then the numbers would look much better. Not perfect…but Blackberry isn’t designing a single OS for a single hardware configuration ether.

  • Updawazoo

    I “upgraded” my bold 9700 to OS 6 and lost att/yahoo mail. Guess Yahoo does not support pop3 – guess they want everyone to go to the cloud.  Major loss of functionality – yahoo mail seems a step down for AT&T.