Media reception to BlackBerry's new Z10 and Q10 smartphones has been mixed, to say the least. Some have voiced cautious optimism while others declared that BlackBerry simply announced its own funeral.
BlackBerry surely faces an uphill battle against behemoths like Apple and Samsung, but the company isn't dead yet. In fact, some are wondering if the company will push into more budget-friendly devices so that it can expand its reach and make a play for customers who wouldn't normally be considered BlackBerry targets. Nokia is making waves with its Lumia series by releasing phones for virtually every price range.
The Canadian company is already preparing cheaper smartphones for emerging global markets like India (and China?), but if you think BlackBerry is going the Nokia route, think again.
"Understand where you are playing and resist being talked into segments that you know will not serve your purpose and will not result in shareholder value," Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said at a BlackBerry conference in Waterloo, Ontario, according to Bloomberg. "You will not see us getting into the 50-, 60-buck phone segment. This is not BlackBerry."
Last month, the BlackBerry Z10 went on sale in India for about $800 unsubsidized. That is a particularly high price for a developing nation, which sparked speculation that BlackBerry would be releasing something cheaper. Heins confirmed that would be the case, but insists they will still be top- notch devices and not anything less.
"You will see new products being launched this year based on BlackBerry 10, all fully LTE-capable, the whole 10 yards, that are more geared towards those price bands where people need to be," Heins said.
Despite the BlackBerry Z10's high price tag, the device has sold unexpectedly well in India. A five-day supply was sold out completely in only two, a pace that surprised even Heins.
"I got an emergency call from my manager from India saying, 'I'm sold out after two days,' " he said. "So now we're scrambling to reload those channels."