BlackBerry Buzz — Market Share Grows Even With Browser Woes

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It’s Tuesday and that can only mean it’s time for our weekly feature, the BlackBerry Buzz. Numbers are out on the top handsets in use for the U.S. market and Research In Motion (RIM) ought to be pleased. Out of the 10 handsets most used in 2009 through October, BlackBerry (s rimm) devices grabbed three spots, including the second place overall according to Nielson’s data. CNet notes that Apple’s iPhone 3G took the top spot at 4.0% of all U.S. subscribers. However, due to multiple product lines, Research In Motion continues to have a greater market share overall. Bear in mind that this list is comprised of popular mobile phones, not just smartphones. In fact, other than the iPhone and the BlackBerry devices all other phones are what I’d consider to be feature phones. That’s telling — it says to me that RIM continues to transition well into the consumer space as the smartphone market continues to rise in popularity.

But one of the least popular functions of a BlackBerry might be using it to surf the web. While waiting for a WebKit browser out of the RIM acquisition of Torch Mobile, it’s clear that many BlackBerry owners use Opera for their browsing needs. Opera shared their 2009 state of the web report and in the U.S., six of the top 10 handsets that most use the Opera browser were BlackBerry devices. I doubt RIM needed affirmation of their weak browser, but it’s there in black and white. I also wonder what the impact to Opera will be when BlackBerry handsets do gain a WebKit browser — it won’t likely be good for Opera.

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The latest Opera Mini 5 Beta is in my judgment the best mobile browser on any platform, and I’ve used them all. The issue of browsing on a BlackBerry can be put to rest.

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