On his first trip to India, BlackBerry CEO John Chen has said that the companyÃ‚Â will launch a phone between Rs 20,000-Rs 26,000 ($300 to $400).
In an interview with theÃ‚Â Economic Times Chen said,
“You would probably see more on the mid-price range, which is usually around $300-400. I doubt that BlackBerry can compete on the low end in this market,”
Chen insistedÃ‚Â that the Priv didn’t do well because it was a standalone high-end smartphone without a family of devices backing it up.
“Currently, we just talk about Priv. It’s expensive, because it has no family. Normally, companies release more than one device. But we need to ensure that we don’t build too many phones, while extending our distribution channel,”
The Blackberry CEO also said that the timing of launching the Priv wasn’t ideal. He believed that the high-end market for Android smartphones has gone soft, though he believed that the execution could have been better on his company’s part.
“We released our Android device just about when the high-end phone market went soft, so that was principally the reason behind lukewarm response. However, execution could have been better because I tried to sell these phones through carriers as retail shops. Carriers are important but I need to be more directly available to customers by myself or through the partners.”
“I am not too concerned. I truly believe we can make money in handsets.”
Chen remained adamant that BlackBerry 10 isn’t dead as a platform. He admitted that it wasn’t a successful because it didn’t have app support but it remained the most secure platform and governments still used it.
“BB10 OS is definitely not dead. The reason is even if I want to make it dead, I can’t because we have a lot of key government customers around the world that rely on it and will continue to buy it,”
“The most important thing to me is to be able to make money because that business has very marquee names with various presidents and prime ministers using BlackBerry devices.”
Chen says because BlackBerry 10 lacked application support BlackBerry decided to go with Android to create a product to tap into the secure Android market.
“BB10 OS lacked application support, but it is the most secure device. But if you just do that, you would never make money. In order to address the bigger market, we came with the Android-based smartphone. We decided to address the secured Android market, which is largely untapped.”
Chen believes that BlackBerry can serve the market better than Apple.
“We reckon that we could serve the market much better than Apple. Apple can serve only on the device side. But we provide devices along with software and services.”
Chen also said that BlackBerry would be scaling up its investments in India after wildly scaling them back. He believes India is a going to be big market for the SME model.
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