BlackBerry has slashed the price of its Z10 smartphone in India to Rs. 17,990 as the company “celebrates the 10th anniversary of its foray into the Indian market.”
The Canadian handset maker has announced that the BlackBerry Z10 will be available at the new price for a period of 60 days. The new pricing makes the Z10 a very attractive option, as one can buy a device with flagship-level performance and experience at a sub-Rs. 20,000 price.
The first BB10 smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, was launched in India February last year carrying a price tag of Rs. 43,490. Later, the price was slashed to Rs. 29,990 under a limited period festival offer.
Notably, BlackBerry in January slashed the price of Q5 smartphone by 20 percent in a limited period ‘New Year Bonanza’ offer, to Rs 19,990. The ‘affordable’ BB10 smartphone with a QWERTY keypad was priced at Rs. 24,990 at launch.
BlackBerry also announced a price cut of its Q10 handset by over 13 percent to Rs. 38,990, under aspecial offer in December last year.
It’s worth pointing out that, when BlackBerry announced the pricing for its flagship, the Z10 in India back in February last year, the pricing received a lot of criticism. However, the company seems to have finally sweetened the deal, by bringing the Z10’s price tag down to Rs. 17,990.
As mentioned earlier, the BlackBerry Z10 is the first phone-based on the BlackBerry 10 platform. The device is powered by a dual-core processor that is clocked at 1.5GHz along with 2GB of RAM. The inbuilt storage available on the smartphone is 16GB. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera that can capture 1080p videos and 2-megapixel camera in the front. The Z10 comes with a 1,850mAh battery, which as per the company claims gives 10 hours of talk time and 312 hours of standby time.
BlackBerry will release a low-cost phone in Indonesia in April and plans a broader release of a phone that restores a beloved row of control keys with a track pad.
The Indonesia phone, the Z3, will sell for less than $200 without subsidies, the company said Tuesday. It will later expand to other markets in southeast Asia. BlackBerry Ltd. CEO John Chen said a version with faster, 4G connectivity is planned for the rest of the world “sometime in the future before I die.”
It’s the first phone made under a new five-year partnership with Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles products in vast factories in China.
Meanwhile, Chen said it will restore the keys in a new phone he termed “Classic.” He said the new Q20 is a response to lackluster sales of last year’s Q10, which has a physical keyboard but lacks the track pad or keys for functions such as going back. He said the company got many complaints about that.
BlackBerry also announced plans to expand its services for businesses needing secure communications, particularly in regulated industries such as health care and financial services. There are plans, for instance, to go beyond securing just email and messaging.
It’s part of the company’s plan to focus on its strengths in business services. BlackBerry Ltd. strayed from that as it tried to lure consumers with new devices.
The BlackBerry was the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, showing that phones could handle much more than email and calls. BlackBerry was slow in modernizing its operating system, and once it did, the much-hyped system flopped.
Chen was brought in as CEO late last year after talks to sell the company collapsed. Although he has been credited with turning around Sybase, a data company that was sold to SAP in 2010, Chen has acknowledged that reviving BlackBerry will be his most “complicated” challenge.
In the latest quarter, ending Nov. 30, BlackBerry Ltd. reported a $4.4 billion loss and a 56 percent drop in revenue. But the company said it had plenty of cash to engineer a turnaround.
The new partnership with Foxconn will help reduce much of BlackBerry’s manufacturing costs. Foxconn, known for its manufacturing contract work on Apple’s iPhones and iPads, will jointly design and manufacture most BlackBerry devices and manage inventory of the devices.
Chen said BlackBerry will now target the heavily regulated industries that require greater security. It will simplify its pricing and let people upgrade to the latest systems for free this year. It will also offer free services this year for companies that had left BlackBerry for rivals.
BlackBerry Ltd said it will make its messaging service BBM available to Microsoft’s Windows Phone and the upcoming Nokia X platforms in the coming months.
BlackBerry Messaging, or BBM, is a messaging platform that offers collaboration tools such as BBM Groups, BBM Voice and BBM Channels and competes with services such as WhatsApp, whichFacebook bought last week for $19 billion.
BBM will be available as a free download from the Windows Phone Store this summer, while BBM forNokia X will be available from the Nokia Store when the Nokia X platform launches, BlackBerry said in a statement on Monday.
BBM was a pioneering mobile-messaging service, but its user base has failed to keep pace with that of WhatsApp and other upstarts, in part because BlackBerry had long refused to open the service to users on other platforms.
WhatsApp, with a user base of about 450 million, on the other hand has grown rapidly. Its service works on Apple Inc’s iOS platform, Google Inc’s market-dominating Android operating system and with devices powered by both the Windows and BlackBerry operating systems.
BBM remains popular, even though BlackBerry devices have waned in popularity. Late last year, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company finally opened the messaging platform to users of iPhones and Android devices, and the number of the service’s active users has grown to more than 80 million.
BlackBerry had promised in January that it would release the BBM or Blackberry Messenger service to Android-powered handsets running the OS version 2.3 Gingerbread soon. The company has kept its promise, and has now rolled out the cross-platform messaging app for Android 2.3 Gingerbread running smartphones.
Notably, the popular BBM app was earlier only available for devices running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. Jeff Gadway, the head of product and brand marketing for BBM, notes on officialblog post, “With 21 percent of the global Android user base running on Gingerbread, we’re excited to welcome lots of new users in to the BBM community.”
For those unaware, the BBM app allows users to exchange texts, voice notes and pictures with friends and others. It also offers group chat. Users need to sign-in with a BlackBerry ID following which a PIN is allocated to them, in a manner similar to BlackBerry Messenger on BlackBerry. Users can then add friends by sharing their PIN with friends via SMS, email and social networks in addition to QR codes.
Earlier this month, Blackberry Messenger’s chief Andrew Bocking left the company, leaving the internet rife with speculation about the reasons for his departure.
Recently, BlackBerry rolled out the latest update for its BlackBerry Messenger for its Android, BlackBerry 10 and iPhone users. Specifically, Android and iPhone users would be getting version 2.0 of the BBM app with the update, while BlackBerry 10 users would get the BBM v10.3 update. The biggest additions were the BBM Channels and BBM Voice features.
Prior to this, BlackBerry also released an update for BlackBerry Messenger or BBM for Android and iOS that brought the Find Friends feature.
The Google Android system extended its gains over Apple’s iPhone globally in the last quarter of 2013, and Windows Phone grabbed the number three market position, a survey showed Wednesday.
The IDC survey found Android had a 78.1 percent share of global smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter, bolstered by a 40 percent jump in the number of handsets delivered.
Apple got only a modest boost in the fourth quarter from the release of its new iPhones, with sales up 6.7 percent compared with a year earlier. That means its market share slipped to 17.6 percent from 20.9 percent, according to IDC.
The Microsoft Windows Phone platform saw a 46.7 percent year-over-year rise in sales, which pushed its market share to three percent.
BlackBerry saw its woes intensify with sales falling 77 percent from a year earlier and the market share sliding to just 0.6 percent. Moreover, IDC said most of the sales were older devices using the BlackBerry 7 operating system instead of the newer BB10.
IDC said that with many markets becoming saturated, the landscape will be tougher and more competitive, with vendors looking to cut prices.
“In 2013 we saw the sub-$200 smartphone market grow to 42.6 percent of global volume, or 430 million units,” said IDC’s Ryan Reith.
“While the market moves downstream to cheaper products it makes sense for Samsung and others to continue their marketing investments geared toward high-end products. These efforts build crucial brand perception while having less expensive alternatives that closely relate to these top products helps to close the deal.”
For the full year, Android’s market share was 78.6 percent to 15.2 percent for Apple’s iOS, 3.3 percent for Windows Phone and 1.9 percent for BlackBerry, IDC said.
ABI Research, in its latest published report, states that Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system saw a steady growth of 19 percent from the third to the fourth quarter in 2013 in terms of the handsets shipped, and a 104 percent growth year on year from Q4 2012.
The report shows Windows Phone market share remaining the same however, at 4 percent, from Q3 2013 to Q4 2013. The data also details that 10.9 million Windows Phones were shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter which is a huge rise from 5.3 million in Q4, 2012.
As compared to the competition, Android models, including the forked Android or AOSP saw a complete domination with 77 percent of the market share and over 280 million smartphones shipped in Q4 of 2013. A total of nearly a billion smartphones were shipped in 2013 of which Android accounted for 78 percent of the share across the year.
It is interesting to note that the research back’s up claims from Microsoft that it has sold almost twicethe number of handsets as compared to the previous holiday period. Also the Nokia Lumia devices amounted to almost 90 percent of all the Windows Phones sales in Q4.
For the complete Android devices shipped almost most of the growth has come from forked Android systems. Forked Android systems are those, which are tweaked by manufacturers to suit their own purposes. AOSP accounted for 25 percent of the Android share, with Google’s Android making up the other 52 per cent.
As far as the iOS platform is concerned, it recaptured some market share with the iPhone 5s launch, increasing from 15 percent in Q3 2013 to 18 percent in Q4 2013. Year-on-year market share dropped however, from 23 percent in Q4 2012. Emerging markets were the strongest growth sector. Nick Spencer, senior practice director, mobile devices, ABI Research, said, “Apple continues to avoid a low cost smartphone product to target these markets, focusing instead on its traditional premium segment, where growth is harder to achieve due to fast approaching market saturation.”
Blackberry 10 shipped only 1.1 million units in Q4, 2013. The Canadian mobile maker however saw a surge in sales of the Blackberry OS 7 devices. A total of 4.2 million phones were shipped in the three month period giving it a 42 percent quarter-on-quarter growth.