BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has some serious challenges ahead of him. But when it comes to the prospect of selling ultra-low-cost smartphones in emerging markets such as India and Indonesia, he says BlackBerry isn’t going to even try to compete in that segment.
One of BlackBerry’s best bets in making a comeback is to leverage its strength in international and emerging markets. But it wants to own the high-end purchases in these markets rather than the low end.
“[It's important to] 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,” Heins said during a question-and-answer session yesterday in Waterloo, Ontario. “You will not see us getting into the 50-, 60-buck phone segment. This is not BlackBerry.”
BlackBerry now sells its new flagship Z10 smartphone in India for the unsubsidized price of 43,490 rupees ($800), and ideally it will attract the interests of wealthy Indian consumers. Cheaper BlackBerry 10 models will arrive, but those will not be in the $50 range if Heins holds steady.
“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.
Thorsten Heins screenshot via Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat