Will 2011 Be Good To BlackBerry?

I have been following Horace Didieu over at Asymco for some time. He has been consistently writing some of the highest quality analysis on the smartphone and mobile device industry for a while now.

One of his recent posts was on the growing smartphone market and a look ahead to 2011. In short, he predicts, half of all US cell phone customers will have smartphones by the end of 2011! That, in and of itself, is an amazing thing from where I sit. Seems like yesterday the whole industry was at 5 million units per year, US and international.

While I am usually dubious of such claims by analysts, Horace’s posts have been spot on and jive very well with my own perspective on the market. His belief: Android and iOS will be the leaders with Windows Phone 7 will gain market share ground. BlackBerry, still #3, will lose share. The rest of the gains will come from new adopters. Finally, Android will grow the fastest and be the largest by the end of the year.

I see the same thing in the US market. RIM, though, is my wildcard. I think this will be a make or break year for the BlackBerry. If the company can transition to a modern operating system in 2011 and keep developers in tow then the company will have a fighting chance. Otherwise, I believe the company will fade very fast in 2012.

If you are a BlackBerry fan, you better hope Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis’ incoherent, rambling interview at AllThingsD.com’s Dive Into Mobile conference isn’t a harbinger of things to come.