Will Android-powered handset ring in BlackBerry comeback in India?
BlackBerry is trying to make a comeback in the booming Indian smartphone market with Monday’s launch of two new Android-powered smartphones priced Rs 21,990 onwards.
The company, which had unveiled Android-based Priv earlier this year, did not see much uptake of the handset, given its steep pricing of Rs 62,990.
Admitting that the pricing of Priv was a “problem”, BlackBerry Senior Vice-President, Global Device Sales, Alex Thurber hoped that the two new devices will help the Canadian firm expand presence across both enterprise and consumer segments.
“The DTEK50 has a very strong price for large-scale adoption by companies, business and the government and we have seen lots of uptake all over (the world).
The DTEK60 is a high specification phone, we are right there and cheaper on price,” he told.
The DTEK50 is priced at Rs 21,990 and will be available by the end of the week. It features a 5.2-inch display, 3GB RAM, expandable memory up to 2 TB, 13 MP rear and 8 MP front cameras and 2610 mAh battery.
The DTEK60, which will be available in December for Rs 46,990, features 5.5-inch display, 21 MP rear and 8 MP front cameras, 4GB RAM and 3000 mAh battery.
“We have shifted our focus on software and we have begun to see success there... I think the brand still has very positive recall in the market and it’s just that we didn’t have what the consumer wanted. So, today when we are back and we have what they want, the immediate willingness to adopt the brand again is very high,” BlackBerry India Managing Director Narendra Nayak said.
BlackBerry Limited, formerly known as Research In Motion Limited (RIM), is a Canadian-based multinational wireless telecommunications software mobile hardware company best known to the general public as the developer of the BlackBerry brand of smartphones and tablets.
Nayak added that the company has taken into consideration the pricing of Priv into account and that with the launch of these new phones, BlackBerry “will see the brand coming back very strongly”.
Asked if the pricing of DTEK60 is still on the higher side, Thurber said the Indian market is huge and there is room for a number of different cellphone manufacturers.
“ we now have phones that people want to buy with strong cameras, great display, good memory and fast processor and most importantly, running Android... I think people will remember the brand with fondness and look at it. We are always looking at price, so there is a need in future, we will always continue to adjust that,” he added.
Once an iconic business phone, BlackBerry lost out to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS-based smartphones.
The company has been gradually expanding focus on its software business while launching a fewer devices to control costs. In September, BlackBerry had announced it would stop designing its smartphones in-house and instead focus on software and security products.
BlackBerry also announced its partnership with Optiemus to distribute and promote its handsets in the Indian market.
Optiemus will also provide the Priv for Rs 34,990, and the BB10 OS-powered BlackBerry Leap device to enterprise customers as well.