Sailing or Flailing: The Mystery of BlackBerry's Momentum

The health of RIM and its BlackBerry devices is a bit of a mystery with a bunch of contradictory data and forecasts in the market. Sales figures show RIM in decline around the globe vs. Android and the iPhone. Its new flagship Torch doesn't appear to be a hit.

According to Nielsen data RIM devices are "most desired" by a minority 12.5% of future smartphone buyers. Longer term forecasts discount RIM and argue its grip on the enterprise is slipping.

Nielsen argued this morning with newly released survey data that the iPhone had now pulled even with RIM in US market share. There are many indications that RIM sales volume has been propped up in the recent past by aggressive pricing. Its new hope, the PlayBook tablet, was apparently snubbed by Chase in favor of the iPad. 

So it looks pretty grim at RIM. Yet . . . today StatCounter reports that RIM devices have overtaken the iPhone in mobile Web traffic:

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However, yesterday Royal Pingdom (using StatCounter data) appeared to show that RIM was a bit player in terms of mobile Web access in North America and around the globe: 

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This new StatCounter data showing RIM overtaking iOS (not just the iPhone) is really strange and somewhat unbelievable frankly. However Millennial Media has also reported growth in mobile Web traffic from BlackBerry devices in the recent past. The ad network said this week, "Since January, RIM has grown 243%" on its network. 

We'll have to see if this holds over the next couple of months and then, in Q1 2011, whether RIM is holding and growing -- or in decline.