> BlackBerry Passport Metrics and Success
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BlackBerry Passport Metrics and Success

By January 13, 2015BlackBerry

Now that the Passport has been out for a few months I wanted to take a look at some of the background developer metrics of how I’ve been seeing the Passport user-base grow from my own perspective.  As a BlackBerry 10 user and aficionado it’s never a surprise when INSERT DEVELOPER NAME says that they don’t have plans to support BlackBerry 10 because “not enough people use them”.  And while I OBVIOUSLY send them a reply saying that they should start using them :P, it’s important to acknowledge that these are businesses and as such it’s metrics like these and others that determine how well a device is supported.  This is even more important for the Passport as it does bring a significant departure from you’re conventional screen sizes, and does require developers to put a little more effort into their apps to support it.  So let’s take a look at some of the numbers from my end!

My methods are obviously only a small indication of what I’ve been seeing and the data was only pulled from my main app PinGuin, which isn’t necessarily a widely popular app, nor would I say it’s out of the realm of niche.  Having said that though, it does support Google Maps and the Native BlackBerry Maps and is able to work in any country around the world.  In terms of some of the inherent difficulties in getting a true representative number I used the entire set of downloads as opposed to a sample.  The data was cleaned to account for app updates which would increase downloads, and the data was scrubbed as much as possible to avoid double counting users downloading the app twice within the same period (i.e. downloading one version, then downloading an app update to another version).  As such, it was assumed that the latest release within that period would be the most accurate as users who would have downloaded an older version would likely update the app to the newest version.  My analytics don’t take device pins so it’s not the most sophisticated, but it should serve as a decent look at the overall trend I’ve experienced through these two releases cycles.  Take it with a grain of salt, and realize that this is by no means a concrete indication of what Passport sales and uptake are like.  So without further ado look below for the results.

I was most interested in two things; the total download share of Passport app downloads and the country share in which those downloads occurred.  It was no surprise that previous BlackBerry 10 devices suffered from weak availability and marketing in many countries, especially in the United States, which led to an weak overall performance in the months following the release for the Q10 and Z30.  For my analysis I took data from launch dates of the Z30 and Passport until three months afterwards to compare releases.  It’s important to note that both devices were sold in the fall period prior to Christmas.

First thing that became apparent with the data I pulled from both release cycles was that the overall numbers were slightly higher for the Passport, but what was even more interesting was where those numbers were coming from.  In contrast to the Z30’s strong support in Canada, Italy and the UK, the Passport’s numbers heavily reflected the strong emphasis that BlackBerry placed on the United States and Canada as well as a stronger presence in the other countries list that is a medley of smaller markets around the globe.  In terms of which country had the single-most downloads for the Passport it was the United States at approximately 18% of  downloads, whereas the Z30’s lead market for downloads was hands-down Canada at 17%.

Canada was still a strong market for the Passport, but I think the real highlight here is the fact that we saw a huge increase in the United States from 7% during the months following the Z30 to 18% during the months following the Passport.  That right there is an increase of approximately 140%!  Let’s just put that into perspective for a minute.  That’s 140% WITHOUT any carrier actually carrying the device, that’s all just shopblackberry.com or purchasing through other means like Amazon.  That’s a huge token of confidence for the Passport, and even more importantly is that it means people are going out of their way to pay for the device full-price off contract.  It is also a great indication of what most of us already knew; selling the phone quickly after release and combining it with strong marketing and sales will increase demand for a device.  Aggressive Black Friday sales and opening up sale channels with great support from the Amazon store likely had a large hand in this.

It gets more interesting when we break down the figures by splitting the downloads by device.  The Z30 saw a 4% split in overall downloads, but the Passport saw a 5% split.  One must look at these numbers in a slightly different light.  The Z30 was really only competing with the Z10, Q10 and Q5 while the overall number of devices out there was relatively low (still within the first year of OS release).  The Passport, in contrast, is competing with a much more diverse and robust offering of BlackBerry 10 devices: Z10, Q10, Q5, Porsche**, Z3, and Z30.  Not to mention that this is within the second year of those Z10 and Q10 devices being in the wild, which means the overall number of those devices in the market was much greater and statistically means that even though the overall device split of the Passport wasn’t much greater than the Z30, the overall number of Passports out in the market is much larger than the number of Z30s during the same time frame post-release.

So what does this data really mean?  Well, it really comes down to highlighting that there are positive things we can take from what BlackBerry has learned from past mistakes.  In contrast to the Z30s release, the Passport really hit the nail in terms of what they were aiming to achieve, and that was a strong release in the United States in coordination with some stellar marketing (work wide anyone?) and awesome device colours (limited edition red Passport??).  The data clearly shows that in terms of how the numbers break down on BlackBerry 10 the Passport is thriving in the states.  Whether that equates into a better broader marketshare for BlackBerry 10 has yet to be seen.  My own personal thoughts are that BlackBerry still has a huge mountain to climb, but I do like many of the changes that the company has been doing with relation to the synergies and cooperation between partners to push devices out.  I’m interested to see if this coordination can be extended to carriers with OS releases.  Rumours are that the upcoming 10.3.1 OS will be a global release which, if it does happen, would be another solid change that can only stand to benefit device sales.  During the OS 10.2 days of of BlackBerry 10 it was really confusing to keep track of which carriers had what OS and what the differences were.  A global OS release would simplify support for the OS and improve the appearance of the OS to prospective buyers as they would know that they’d be getting the latest and greatest features on their BlackBerry 10 devices.

It’s just the beginning of 2015 and I’m extremely excited for what’s in store for us this year.  While these results are impressive BlackBerry is also a much more diverse company that isn’t just devices.  And although it’s important for device sales to pick-up, the company will ultimately be relying on all their offerings, including QNX and BES, to work in harmony with one another and provide that value add over the competition.

For my entire data-set you can access it here: Passport Metrics

What do you think of the results?  What have you been seeing through on-the-ground observations in your area?

Tweet me at @ElBranduco to share your thoughts with me

Brandon Orr

Author Brandon Orr

Professional Transportation Planner & Blackberry 10 Developer part of the open source BB team.

More posts by Brandon Orr
  • Big Chief

    A T and T cannot be typed on this app. Can you fix this problem?

  • J.D.L

    I’m a passport owner and a Classic owner. I’m currently using my classic. The consumers who know nothing about BlackBerry will come on board once they see the push from the carrier. Unfortunately society wants what’s new and popular as a status symbol. BlackBerry used to be the standard. BlackBerry will be the standard again once AT

  • Julio Cesar

    Cuando llegará al Perú…?

  • Merritt Cluff

    This is a nice piece and very useful. It would be nice to see more analysis like it. I am a proud z30 owner in Italy. It’s a good solid device and it works well for me. But there is no marketing here. If 10.3.1 is a global release, with access to amazon etc., BlackBerry should do a real push on marketing. That said “workwide” is a real niche that must be exploited. So all said, the software is now markwtabke. BlackBerry has a solid fleet of phones. It’s time to tell people.

  • Kevin Baboudjian

    In respects to the Canadian numbers when the Z30 was released in Canada the carriers here where still doing 3 year contracts shortly after the release that carriers did change to a 2 year contract much like the USA and most of the contracts are still on going on or are soon to expire. I think in say 6 months from now if you where to do another data analysis you will see much different numbers as most of the 3 year contracts will now have expired and make a lot of Z30 users eligble for a upgrade.

    • Brandon Orr

      Fair enough, me being one of those people I agree, but that’s just the nature of this type of data I suppose. You’re always going to have these factors like carrier contracts, sales promos, etc affecting the results. We may see a huge uptake of new BlackBerry devices next year once three year contracts from z10s and q10s come up.

  • Nick Coper

    A positive analysis. As said by Chen after Q3 results, the figures for Passport were wrong due to delay in shipment.

  • Chris

    Thanks to Bla1ze being on the podcast, I have now downloaded berryflow….nice site.

  • Rob Luck

    Interesting analytics and surprising Passport numbers.

    This has me thinking – what can further differentiate an upcoming Passport 2 for a more aggressive US launch? BlackBerry needs the US and businesses are now getting a taste of what the Passport can do for them.

    What’s next? I’m with you – excited as ever!