BlackBerry Use On The Rise Within Universities

Smartphone use has erupted over the past few years, with Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry line leading the way. We've seen new entrants with Palm's webOS and Google's Android, and by the looks of it, the smartphone obsession isn't fading anytime soon. What's unique about this upward trend is the role of Research In Motion, which held hardly any smartphone share in the consumer market just a few years ago.

Today, BlackBerry devices are catering towards consumers just as much as business users. Newer handsets like the Storm and Bold 9700 show that RIM has a consumer-facing UI as well, and many of the text-happy generation have been quick to jump onboard in order to take advantage of RIM's own BlackBerry Messenger service.

A new report over at the Financial Times exclaims that a lot of RIM's sudden surge has to do with the perception of BlackBerry phones within the university and school setting; just a few years ago, you'd be hard pressed to find a student with a BlackBerry, and today you're seen as 'in the know' if you carry one. It's almost considered an essential part of student life, and somehow RIM has been able to tap into a market it never really began to target until just recently.

In a survey conducted in the UK last month of 1000 students, Nokia was found to be the most popular handset, with Sony Ericsson behind it and BlackBerry behind that. The research found that around 2% of university students now had a BlackBerry, compared to practically zero just a couple of years ago. There's no question that BlackBerry use is on the rise, and in new markets. But who would've thought it would be the book-worms boosting RIM's bottom line?