In what has to be one of the coolest uses of the Twitter firehose (the open pipeline of data that developers can apply to Twitter to gain access to) more than 280 million Tweets posted from mobile phones with discoverable location information were mapped by Gnip, MapBox and data visualisation specialist Eric Fischer into a map illustrating worldwide patterns of smartphone usage. The maps show where Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and ‘Other’ devices have posted from and give a fantastic insight into the domination of each mobile platform in different regions.
From a cursory glance iPhones and Android devices dominate Twitter usage in the US and Europe and as statistics would suggest South Africa’s smartphone landscape is dominated by BlackBerry handsets. Just by looking at a any of the major urban centers you can see the purple of BlackBerry dominating the landscape. In Johannesburg especially the concentration of iPhones is noticeable around the more affluent northern suburbs and Sandton. Which would follow with what we know about the wealthier areas of the country. BlackBerry usage in areas like Alexandra and Soweto show just how effective BlackBerry’s value proposition with low flat rate data pricing and low barrier to entry on device cost have made it in the lower income areas of South Africa.