After successfully launching its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones Z10 in Canada, Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is now saying it will not introduce any entry-level smartphones this year.
According to TechRadar.com, Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) now BlackBerry European MD Stephen Bates said his company will first focus on having people see them as a high-end company. He commented on its Z-10 offering and said, “We’ve brought out these high-end devices as a as a statement of intent – to demonstrate vividly the new BlackBerry. Our intention is to evolve that portfolio to enter the mid-tier.”
“But we don’t see us getting to the entry level tier for some time; certainly not this year. Based on the great sales we’ve had over Christmas in the U.K. there is a demand for the entry level BlackBerry and we don’t want to give that up so we’re going to continue with Curve and the entry level as we bring BlackBerry 10 down through the mid-tier and eventually into the entry level.”
So what does this mean? It appears the company won’t be getting rid of it current smartphone offerings that run on its BlackBerry OS 7 and will keep its two-tier approach. Don’t look for an inexpensive BB10 any time soon.
TechRadar also spoke to Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) now Blackberry’s U.K. and Ireland MD Rob Orr who said there has been “acceptable” sales for the BB7 phones and the company doesn’t plan to move customers to the BB10 at this time. Many of these phone users are prepay and enterprise users.
Orr said, “In enterprise the BB7 portfolio is the workhorse device; government, financial institutions… these guys are continuing to purchase BB7. And in the prepaid space we had a very successful run for Christmas.”
Bates also added, “It was important for us to show that we’re not giving up on BB7. We launched BBM voice and it connects into the BB10 world where we’ve added video and screen sharing.”
To keep consumers interested in them, the company may slash its prices but a large part of the BlackBerry market will not be addressed.
The company is however reaching out to consumers in emerging markets such as India and Indonesia. The new Z10 is expected in these markets soon with India having a Feb. 24 launch date with a Rs 39,000 price tag.
This price points falls in line with its competitors as Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s Lumia 920 smartphone launched in India at Rs. 38,199; Samsung’s Galaxy S III had been introduced last May at Rs. 43,180 while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 5 16GB version came in higher at Rs. 45,500 and HTC’s full-HD Butterfly smartphone brings a Rs. 45,990 price tag.
An India Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) now BlackBerry spokesman wouldn’t directly comment on the upcoming introduction but did say, “We would wish to get the product in India and any other key market as soon as possible but there are a certain timelines that have to followed to get any new product in the market.”