BlackBerry eyes comeback in India mobile mkt, launches KEYone at Rs 39,990

Published Aug 1, 2017, 3:55 pm IST
Updated Aug 1, 2017, 3:57 pm IST
As per data from telecom operators, there are still one million active BlackBerry service users in India.
BlackBerry KeyOne
 BlackBerry KeyOne

After Nokia, it's now Canadian firm BlackBerry which is attempting a comeback in the Indian smartphone market and plans to launch a slew of devices across price points.

It still has around a million Blackberry service users in the country and the company plans to leverage that.


"India is a very important market for us. The brand still has a strong connect. With the lineup that is planned, I hope to see India among our top 5 markets," BlackBerry Senior Vice President, General Manager, Mobility Solutions, Alex Thurber told PTI.

The company, which had tied up with Optiemus Infracom earlier this year for manufacturing and distributing its devices in India and neighbouring countries, today launched its new handset 'KEYone' priced at Rs 39,990.

"We have a strong pipeline (of devices) for the next 6-12 months. These will be across price points," Optiemus Infracom Executive Director Hardip Singh said.

Optiemus is working closely with BlackBerry to add features that are relevant to the Indian market, he said.

"The KEYone, for example, is the first dual SIM BlackBerry phone in the Indian market. Also, the pricing is almost at par with the international model, even though the India version has higher specifications," Singh said.

Compared to the international model that has 3GB RAM and 32GB onboard memory, the Indian version manufactured by Optiemus has 4GB RAM and 64GB internal memory, he said. The device will be available on from August 8.

Once a dominant player in the smartphone category, BlackBerry has been struggling in recent years against global competitors like Samsung and Apple.

Earlier this year Finnish firm Nokia, once a market leader, also re-entered India with a range of feature and smartphones.

The company has taken a number of steps, including adopting the Android platform for powering its phones in attempts to re-capture its position.

India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets globally. While Samsung continues to dominate the market, Chinese players like Lenovo, Xiaomi and vivo have aggressively eaten into the market share of domestic players like Micromax and Lava.

Asked how the company plans to regain market share in India, Singh said smartphones are more than just phone call making devices now.

"People are now transacting over their phones. So security is a critical element, which BlackBerry has been known for. Also, now there is the convenience of Android OS on BlackBerry, so we are very optimistic about the devices," he said.

As per data from telecom operators, there are still one million active BlackBerry service users in India, he said.

The company hope to garner "double-digit market share of the premium market (phones priced over Rs 20,000) in the next 12 months, he said.