Can budget phones save BlackBerry?

18 February 2014

This week, among the din of Mobile World Congress rumours, a leaked press shot of an upcoming budget-priced BlackBerry hit the web. Is this just what the beleaguered Canadian company needs right now?

Going by the codename ‘Jakarta’, is reporting that this is the upcoming Z3 handset, and believes it will be priced at around US$150 outright — about a quarter of the cost of the top-tier phones from Apple and Samsung.

It codename is also probably a guide to where BlackBerry imagines it will have the most success with the Z3. Even during its darkest sales periods, BlackBerry phones remained popular in countries across South East Asia, namely Indonesia and Thailand. These countries don’t predominantly choose the most expensive BlackBerry models though, so a cheaper BlackBerry 10 device is a must.

It could also deliver the shot-in-the-arm that BlackBerry needs in other major markets, like the US and Europe. This strategy has worked well for LG, for example, where low-cost PrePaid phones are the company’s biggest sellers and have positioned LG for a comeback in top-tier models in the near future.

BlackBerry has always been perceived as a premium-quality brand though, targeting the business elite. It will be a change of pace, but it could be enough to spread the word about the just how good its BlackBerry 10 OS is for users.



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