RIM publishes rates of OS use

RIM has published some guidance on BlackBerry OS versions in use that show very similar results to what I have seen from our internal numbers for applications like Pixelated.

The charts show that downloads on devices running an OS pre-4.5 is non-existent, and explains why even RIM choose to stop supporting these with version 2.0 of AppWorld. Version 4.5 itself has little use, consisting of just 4% of free applications, and 3% of paid applications. Most of these users are running the once popular BlackBerry Curve 8330, which has finally fallen out of favor, and consists of too many people who still haven’t downloaded AppWorld. These low numbers help confirm the decision to not support OS 4.5 for any of our applications.

OS 4.6.x remains fairly popular mostly due to the Curve 8520 which continued to ship with a default OS of 4.6.1 even well after OS 5.0 was released. Now that the 8520 has been replaced by the 9300 this number will continue to fall. The use of OS 4.7.x is almost non-existent, which follows what we have seen with OS 5.0 upgrade rates with the Storm 1 and the Tour seeing the vast majority of users upgrade to OS 5.0, which as I pointed out in early November makes supporting a minimum OS of 5.0 very acceptable for touchscreen devices.

With 75% of users of free applications and 86% of users of paid applications on OS 5.0 or higher, this level of support is quickly becoming good enough. Our two applications requiring a minimum of OS 5.0 are Twinkle and Liar’s Dice, both which are doing well (even if OS 5.0 wasn’t as universal supported during the mid-summer when Twinkle was first launched).

The one thing that is not shown on these charts is the use of OS 6 (which is instead bundled with OS 5 as OS 5+). While it is still too early to be launching applications that require a minimum OS of 6.0 it feels too much like this is just RIM trying to cover up their embarrassingly slow rollout of the update to existing devices.