BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has confirmed that the company has no intention of selling cut-price BlackBerry handsets for the budget market. At a trade conference in the company’s home country of Canada, the executive made it very clear that its’ not their intention to join in a race-to-the-bottom.
The company was formerly known as Research In Motion but recently officially renamed itself BlackBerry after its popular line of handsets. It was only recently that they attempted to turn their poor fortunes around after a disappointing few years by releasing new phone models. These include the BlackBerry Z10 which was one of the first handsets to run the new operating system called BlackBerry 10.
Thorsten Heins’s comments come soon after speculation that BlackBerry would try to elbow its way into the low-end of the market which has seen competitors such as HTC and Samsung have a lot of success.
In fact, the latest sales figures are showing that some of the most profitable handsets are those aimed at customers with a lower budget for a mobile phone. Especially with the emerging markets in Asia such as China and India, it’s thought that cheap mobile phones might be the way forward for manufacturers. Now that smartphones are available for significantly less than £100, more and more people are able to afford the cheaper models. The results are so promising that many have even predicted that even Apple, a company renowned for charging over the odds for its products, has been rumoured to be considering the release of a cheaper smartphone in an attempt to dominate every pricing niche in the market.
These latest claims do make perfect sense in light of the initial array of BlackBerry 10 phones available. Both the Z10 and the Q10 are certainly at the upper end of most people’s price range. And, furthermore, BlackBerry’s MD for Europe has claimed that producing expensive, high-end devices is a deliberate “statement of intent” on their behalf. The new devices running on the latest version of their OS are not likely to be coming down in price any time soon.
BlackBerry’s traditional forte has been in the business market where handset prices are rarely much of an issue. However, arguably, it has been teenagers keeping them afloat recently. Time will tell whether the youth market can afford the latest and greatest BlackBerry smartphones. This is especially true with Google’s Android going from strength to strength and having a wide variety of cheaper options available. Many analysts are already painting this as a mistake for BlackBerry as their main hope of survival is through smart diversification. Indeed, so far only Apple has managed to remain competitive whilst marketing itself as a manufacturer of only upper-end devices.
What’s your take? Do you think the new BlackBerry handsets are any good? And is this a big mistake? Would you prefer to be able to buy cheaper Blackberry 10 devices?