BlackBerry Targets India With Launch of Mid-Range Q5
This week, BlackBerry’s keyboard-equipped Q5 debuted in India, the world’s third-largest smartphone market, and the company has big expectations for it. BlackBerry has seen a precipitous decline in market share in India, a key international market. Indeed, the company’s share of smartphone shipments in India fell to 5.9 percent in 2012 from 12.8 percent in 2010, according to IDC. The Q5, which was created to flesh out the lower end of BlackBerry’s new handset portfolio, is intended to reverse that decline.
Whether it can actually manage to do that is an open question. BlackBerry has priced the Q5 at 24,990 rupees, about $421.44. And that might be viewed as too expensive for a price-sensitive market like India where similarly equipped devices like the LG Optimus L5 II cost about half as much. Perhaps the Q5 will play as more of an aspirational device, one that even consumers looking for a budget device are willing to pay more for.
But if it doesn’t, BlackBerry may end up making a costly stumble in a market where it can ill afford such missteps. The company’s turnaround to a great extent hinges on future success in emerging markets like India.