Category Archives: Statistics

10 months of BlackBerry OS usage

Usage of OS 6.0 in February was only up slightly from the month before. The increase was only a little under 1.4% and the growth of OS 5.0+ was even smaller. RIM is continuing to not make these upgrades as much as a priority as they should, and it is looking doubtful that there will be any more significant growth until OS 6.1 is released this summer.

This data is taken from downloads of the popular BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data starts from the release of version 2.0 in April of 2010, and goes through the end of last month.

BlackBerry users still not upgrading to OS 6

Like the upgrade rates to OS 5, there is little change since last month in the rate of users who have upgraded to OS 6. This new operating system was first released for the BlackBerry Torch about half a year ago, but of those with devices that were promised the upgrade, well over 90% of users are still on OS 5.0 instead.

Device % at OS 6
91xx 1.1%
9300 1.3%
9330 7.8%
9650 5.1%
9700 3.3%


While these numbers have improved slightly, they are far lower then they should be. The leader is the 9330 which benefited from Verizon finally beginning to push OS 6 in the second half of January. However at the current rate it looks likely that OS 6.1 will be released before these rates hit 50%.

This data comes from January downloads of Pixelated, the second most popular game in BlackBerry AppWorld.

OS 5 adoption unchanged since November

For two straight months now the rate of upgrades to OS 5.0 has remained unchanged. January’s rates of OS 5 use on the devices that can be upgraded from OS 4.x are almost unchanged from November, and in a few cases even down. Given this stability it seems unlikely to expect any further change in these numbers in the future. (The overall use of OS 5 or higher has continued to increased as RIM is no longer selling devices with OS 4.6 or 4.7).

Device OS 4.X OS 5.0
8350i 89.3% 10.7%
8520 51.4% 48.6%
8900 55.7% 44.3%
9000 57.0% 43.0%
9500 46.6% 53.4%
9530 10.7% 89.3%
9630 11.5% 88.5%


This data comes from January downloads of Pixelated, the second most popular game in BlackBerry AppWorld.

BlackBerry OS usage over time

The above chart shows BlackBerry OS usage since April 2010. Note that usage of OS 5.0 or higher has increased from 59.6% to 77.7% in the past 8 months. Also both OS 4.6.0 and 4.7.x have both decreased from around 5% to almost nothing. Usage of OS 6 meanwhile remains relatively low, but has seen larger growth in the past month (partially due to the release of the 9780).

As usual this data is taken from the very popular BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data starts from the release of version 2.0 in April of 2010. See also Novemeber OS usage as seen by the Hockey Scores application.

Upgrades to OS6 have still not happened

Instead of looking at upgrade rates to OS 5, which are mostly unchanged from last month, here is a look at the percent of users who had upgraded to OS 6 by December.

Device % at OS 6
9300 1.0%
9330 1.0%
9650 2.0%
9700 2.1%

In short, almost nobody. What this is really telling us is the percentage of users making use of leaked operating systems (which is actually a bit higher then I would have guessed). RIM still needs to push OS 6 to these devices, and give these users the new features that they deserve. It has been five months since I first saw a Bold 9700 running OS 6, so the percent who have upgraded by now should be closer to 80% then 2%.

This data comes from December downloads of Pixelated, the second most popular game in BlackBerry AppWorld.

November OS usage as seen by Hockey Scores

The OS usage rates seen by the free Hockey Scores application is almost identical to the rates recently published by RIM.

The Hockey Scores application does not support OS 4.5 with most of this percentage being absorbed by OS 4.6.x instead. The other values of 1.7% for OS 4.7.X and 75.5% for OS 5.0 and higher are extremely close to the numbers the RIM published.

The additional statistic that can be seen here, that is not shown in RIM’s numbers is the breakdown of OS6 and OS5 devices. OS 6 is currently on about 1 in 3 devices running OS 5 or higher, and about a quarter of devices over all. Given that these numbers are already a bit dated, and RIM’s push of OS6 on in market devices has been slow, it is reasonable to believe that the OS 6 adoption numbers have the potential to be much better. It is reasonable to assume, that OS 6 will be on half the devices on the market within a month of it being pushed on current devices and the 93xx by all carriers.

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.

OS 5.0 upgrade rates continue to be mixed

Adoption of OS 5.0 has increased since last looked at in late summer, but still remains a bit mixed, with upgrades more common in some devices then others. Upgrades to OS 5.0 have been near universal on the Storm 9530, and Tour 9630, but still remain well under 50% for the 8520, 8900, and 9000 models. Given that OS 5.0 has been out for a full year for most devices, it seems unlikely that there will be much further movement with these numbers.

Device OS 4.X OS 5.0
8350i 89.5% 10.5%
8520 59.8% 40.2%
8900 57.4% 42.6%
9000 64.0% 36.0%
9500 40.7% 59.3%
9530 7.4% 92.6%
9630 11.0% 89.0%


This data comes from mid-November downloads of Pixelated, the second most popular game in BlackBerry AppWorld.

9105 still the more popular Pearl

Using the plethora of data that comes from the popular free game Pixelated, a look at the trends of BlackBerry Pearl users from late October showed the 9105 outselling the 9100 almost two to one. Additional data from November and the second half of October, shows no significant change in these numbers. The less keyed 9105 continues to hold onto around two-thirds of the BlackBerry Pearl market.

The release of the Pearl 3G on AT&T in the US appears to have had no significant impact on these numbers. Which is a result the appears to reflect more on the weakness of the Pearl form factor, more than anything else.

OS 5.0 adoption levels off just shy of 90%

Roughly a year since the release of OS 5.0 on the BlackBerry Storm 9530, the adoption rate appears to have leveled off. 89.8% of 9530 users have upgraded as of October, which is up only a tenth of a point from September, and remains almost completely unchanged from the upgrade rate from August.

For a look at adoption rates of OS 5.0 over the entire first year of its release on the BlackBerry Storm, check out my article over at BlackBerry Cool.

As it has before this data comes from downloads of the popular game Pixelated. This is currently the most popular strategy game in BlackBerry AppWorld giving us a large enough user base to make these observations.

9105 more popular than 9100

The BlackBerry Pearl 91xx series has had disappointing sales so far, with most BlackBerry buyers opting instead for a full qwerty experience. Still those who are buying the Pearl are actually opting for the even fewer keyed 9105 over the SureType 9100. The following chart shows the percent of Pearl 3G owners using each model over half month intervals, from the second half of August to the first half of October.

Surprisingly the 9105 has consistently held around two-thirds of the Pearl 3G market. There are a few things that this may imply. First that anyone looking for a more complicated keyboard is willing to take the step to a full qwerty device. Second of all it looks as if the target market is people who already are well accustomed to 9 key typing, and want to keep an experience that they already know from their non-smart phones when they upgrade to a BlackBerry. Another possible conclusion is that SureType is dead. BlackBerry has been the only model to offer something between 9key and full qwerty keyboards, and it isn’t selling it all that well. Of course all of this data is from before the recent launch of the Pearl 3G on AT&T in the United States, so next month it is possible that these statistics change completely.

As usual, all of these statistics come from downloads of the free game Pixelated, the most popular strategy game in BlackBerry AppWorld.

OS 5.0 adoption on the Storm 9530 nears 90%

The BlackBerry Storm was one of the earliest BlackBerry models to have an upgrade option to operating system 5.0 available for it. Tracking real world operating system use through downloads of Pixelated (the second most popular game in AppWorld) has shown the gradual decline of the older OS4.7 as the newer OS5.0 has become more popular.

Adoption of OS 5.0 on the BlackBerry Storm 9530 in August climbed up to 89.9% of all users. This is up 3% from July and is the largest month-to-month increase since May. At this point there is little reason for developers to worry about pre-OS5 touch screen devices, as there are hardly any left (although this is not yet true for non-touch screen devices such as the 8520 and 8900).