BlackBerry's sub-Rs 12,000 'Z3' to hit Indian shores next week

PTI Posted online: Tuesday, Jun 17, 2014 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : As part of its efforts to regain lost ground, Canadian handset maker BlackBerry is set to launch its latest 'Z3' smartphone in India next week that is likely to be priced below Rs 12,000 to take head on the likes of Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Microsoft Devices and Micromax.

Launched in Indonesia earlier this year, the full touch screen device was priced at IDR 2,199,000 (USD 190 or Rs 11,500) and is the most affordable device powered by the latest BlackBerry 10 operating system.

According to the invite sent by the firm, BlackBerry will unveil the "next generation BlackBerry 10 devices" on June 25.

Over the last few weeks, handset makers have launched a slew of devices, priced below Rs 12,000 (sub-USD 200) to tap the booming smartphone market in India.

According to International Data Corporation, smartphone sales in India grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms like Micromax and Karbonn.

In the first quarter of 2014, 17.59 million smartphones were shipped in India compared with 6.14 million in the same period of 2013. Samsung was the market leader (35 per cent share) in Q1, followed by Micromax (15 per cent), Karbonn (10 per cent), LAVA (6 per cent) and Nokia (4 per cent).

This would be an important launch for the ailing smartphone maker that has been facing stiff competition globally from Apple and Samsung. It was has undertaken a series of measurements including sale of real estate and outsourcing its manufacturing contract to Foxconn.

The Z3 is the first phone manufactured by Foxconn.

During its Indonesia Z3 launch, BlackBerry had said it would gradually introduce the Z3 in six other countries including the Philippines, India, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Popular especially among the youth for its Curve range of devices and messaging app BBM, India was a strong market for the Waterloo-based firm. It had a 12.1 per cent share of the smartphone market during January-June 2012 period.

However, the firm saw its share fall as devices powered by Google's Android OS and Apple iPhones gained strong traction in the market and despite launching its BlackBerry 10 OS, it has so far failed to re-gain foothold in the market.

While analysts suggest that pricing could be a major issue, the Z3 ,with its features and affordable pricing, could play a crucial role in reviving the fortune of the firm, they added.

The Z3 features 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor, 1.5 GB RAM, 8 GB internal memory (expandable upto 32 GB) and 5MP rear camera.