BlackBerry's smartphone market share has now waned to 0 percent globally, signaling a true closing of an era for a lineup of smartphones that once cornered a sizable chunk of the market.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, over 432 million smartphones were sold globally, as per a report published by research firm Gartner on Wednesday. Only 207,900 of those were BlackBerry handsets running their own operating system.
The End Of BlackBerry
The measly figure essentially lends Blackberry a share of less than a single percentage of the overall smartphone market — 0.0481 percent, to be exact. By contrast, there were 352.7 million smartphones running Google's Android operating system sold in Q4 2016, which makes up 81.7 percent of the global market, according to the report. Meanwhile, Apple successfully cornered 17.9 percent, with 77 million iPhones sold in the same window.
BlackBerry Plus Android
BlackBerry also sells devices which run Android, such as the DTEK50, DTEK60, the Priv, and the forthcoming Mercury, which was shown off at CES back in January. These devices weren't included in BlackBerry's 0 percent figure, although it's basically safe to say that BlackBerry phones running a proprietary OS has officially been punted into the sunset.
Of course, Google perches atop the list, most likely thanks to the fact that it provides Android to phone manufacturers gratis, which makes the software a top choice for low-cost or entry-level smartphone manufacturers in certain markets which to gravitate toward cheaper handsets.
Apple, meanwhile, keeps its OS exclusive to its handsets, and steeps the price, a maneuver which limits its reach, but balloons its profits.
How Did This Happen?
Back in an era where smartphone competition was just beginning to gestate, BlackBerry phones were the choice tech companions for a lot of people, especially business-minded ones, and even the president.
According to a report by Business Insider, it had even earned the moniker "Crackberry" thanks to its addictive nature. BlackBerry phones offered a full, physical QWERTY keyboard with email and messaging features, besting other phones that had been out at the time.
But along came the iPhone, then Android, which led the smartphone market to basically explode, and at the moment BlackBerry's notion of a successful future thinned, given how fiercely competitive the smartphone market had become. The brand lost its appeal, and sales for its once popular phones dipped increasingly as the smartphone industry blossomed.
BlackBerry officially announced last September that it would retire from manufacturing its own smartphones, and would instead approach third-party manufacturers for future devices that'll hold the brand. Its first Android device was released in 2015.
Not to be missed are Microsoft's Windows phones, whose figures were similarly none-too-impressive. Its share of the mobile space fell from 1.1 percent near the end of 2015 to 0.3 percent in Q4 2016, with a little over 1 million devices shipped. Both BlackBerry and Windows's measly figures virtually paint the smartphone market as a binary playing field, with Android and iOS jostling for space, although it might take a while before Apple can eventually climb to Google's alpine numbers.