Info-tech

BlackBerry launches Android smartphone for ₹63,000

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 28, 2016

Aims to up India market share; more models in the pipeline



BlackBerry on Thursday launched its first Android phone ‘PRIV’ in India, priced at ₹62,990, in an attempt to revitalise its smartphone business, which has been on a constant decline.

The company currently holds less than 1 per cent market share in India. High prices of its devices, lack of apps on BB10 platform, and limited capabilities of the models have restricted the company’s sales in India.

Android dominates

Android-based phones hold more than 90 per cent market share in India, and BlackBerry is hoping to capitalise on this. However, the device, even in mature markets like the US, has been termed highly expensive by experts. Nevertheless, the newly appointed country head believes the high price will not limit the adoption here.

“When we did a market study, we found an underserved need for consumers, who were looking for security, privacy and productivity and yet wanted the versatility and openness that an Android platform provides. Our strategy is to serve this segment of the users. This is our first Android phone. We’ll have follow-up launches with lower price points,” BlackBerry India Managing Director Narendra Nayak told BusinessLine.

Price bracket

Nayak pointed out that the company does not plan to launch more than a couple of devices in a year to compete with the likes of Samsung and Micromax, who often launch 8-10 devices a year, nor look at devices at the ₹8,000-10,000 price bracket, where the mass sale happens in India.

“This is our first Android device and I think this will bring us back into the growth area for the device business. The year 2016 is where you’ll see us growing back into the device business,” Nayak said.

Nayak acknowledged that BlackBerry’s messaging platform is seeing huge competition from WhatsApp and Hike in India, and therefore not really picking up.

“BBM has not done very well in India. There are markets where BBM has done extremely well but in India we have not seen traction,” he said, adding that the company does not have any special plans to push BBM adoption in India.



Published on January 28, 2016
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