Canadians have fallen for the iPhone over their home-grown Blackberry devices for the first time since iPhone's introduction in 2007, PC World reported.
Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM), based in Waterloo, Ontario, shipped 2.08 million BlackBerries in Canada last year, compared with 2.85 million iPhones shipped by Apple, according to data compiled by IDC and Bloomberg. In 2010, BlackBerry beat out the iPhone by half a million sales.
“The trend shows that iPhone popularity has overtaken RIM in Canada,” said Mike Abramsky, an analyst with RBC Dominion Securities told the Globe and Mail. “While there are a large number of BlackBerry fans in Canada, RIM has not been able to tap into the new wave of smartphone buyers looking for apps, browsing, and a slick touch screen.”
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Critics have pointed RIM's setback as yet another sign that the BlackBerry has lost its appeal when compared to smartphones from Apple and Google, CNET reported.
“For RIM, in its home market, to lose that No. 1 position to iPhone is strategically important,” Paul Taylor, a fund manager at BMO Harris Private Banking in Toronto, told Bloomberg. “It does identify, even with a home-country bias, how consumers are responding to the greater functionality of the iPhone.”
Taylor manages about $15 billion in assets, including RIM and Apple shares.
Analysts predicted sales of Blackberries dropped by 18 percent to $4.53 billion in the fourth quarter, according to Bloomberg. BlackBerry fell two spots to 54th in Interbrand’s October 2011 ranking of the world’s top 100 brands, as Apple climbed nine spots to eighth, Bloomberg reported.
RIM is attempting to regain its footing with new products, unveiling a keyboard accessory for its PlayBook tablet last month. The PlayBook's sales have largely been driven by heavy discounting that has it priced around $200, similar to the Kindle Fire, according to CNET.
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The Blackberry manufacturer is also working on HTML 5 apps, in the hopes of attracting developers to the company, CNET reported. It is also preparing to launch its new BlackBerry 10 platform next quarter, which will run across all of its smartphones and tablets, the Globe and Mail reported.
Despite losing out on the North American market, RIM is still growing in popularity and profits in other parts of the world such as the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, PC World reported.