BlackBerry Ltd Releases Low-cost Touchscreen Smartphone, Racing against Apple Inc in the Emerging Market

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By Athena Yenko | May 14, 2014 3:43 PM EST

In its effort to reclaim dominance and race against Apple Inc in the emrging market, BlackBerry Ltd launched its low-cost touchscreen smartphone, the Z3, in Indonesia.

The low-cost  Z3 is the very first offering of devices manufactured by FIH Mobile Ltd that belonged to Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group. Foxconn is one of Apple Inc's chief supplier for its iPhone and iPads.

The Z3 is being sold at $200 and will begin roll out on May 15. The price is an answer to consumers' reaction to the expensive BlackBerry 10.

In an interview with Reuters, Ryan Lai, market analyst at consultancy IDC, said that the device is the deciding factor whether BlackBerry should continue with its smartphone production in the future.

"If this device allows them to grow again, even if it's just small, steady growth, that's a success in itself. That says there is still room for BlackBerry in Indonesia ," he said.

The device will also be introduced in the Philippines, India, Vietnam and Malaysia. The company expects for Z3 to revive its market share dwindled by Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy phones.

New BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen put up with all the challenge as the device was the very first phone launched under his leadership.

"If the market doesn't receive this product well, then we definitely have some negative issues to deal with," Chen said during the launch in Indonesia.

"From conception to delivery, the BlackBerry Z3 Jakarta Edition was designed specifically with our Indonesian customers in mind. The device will allow users to type in Bahasa and come with a special set of BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM Stickers featuring local characters," said Chen.

Meanwhile, Upstream and researcher Ovum said that Apple is the most desirable phone among emerging markets even if consumers could not afford it.

Unfortunately, Apple had not come up with more affordable units to meet these demands. The iPhone 5c is still too expensive for consumers in the emerging market.

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