John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Don’t Expect a Dirt-Cheap Smartphone From BlackBerry

Thorsten_BB10

RIM

BlackBerry’s smartphone pipeline will someday include devices less expensive than those with which it debuted its new make-or-break operating system, BlackBerry 10 — the Z10 and Q10. But the company has no plans to manufacture a rock-bottom price handset for the smartphone market’s lower end.

Not yet, anyway.

“You will not see us getting into the $50 or $60 phone segment,” BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said at the Communitech Tech Leadership Conference in Waterloo, Ontario, Thursday. “This is not BlackBerry. That segment will not serve our purpose.”

Which is not to say that BlackBerry doesn’t plan to build a BB10 device for more price-sensitive consumers — just that the Z10 is doing well enough in emerging markets, like India, that the company doesn’t yet feel compelled to roll out a cheaper, entry-level device. Better to sell the marquee device first, foremost and in volume than to spread yourself thin fleshing out the lower end of your portfolio too early.

Remember, BlackBerry 10 isn’t yet a well-established platform. It’s not the culmination of the company’s turnaround strategy, it’s the first move. And it’s perhaps the most important one of all: If successful, it will recast BlackBerry as a true rival to Apple and Google, not the also-ran that it’s in danger of becoming.

So, everything in its right time. BlackBerry’s road map includes less-expensive handsets, and the company will release them when it’s good and ready. Said Heins, “You will see new products being launched this year based on BlackBerry 10 that are more geared towards those lower price bands.”


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