Blackberry Aims Mobile Efforts at Indonesia

by Jeff Wiener on May 13, 2014

Blackberry may be against the ropes but the fading smartphone giant isn’t ready to go down without a fight. To that end the once great Canadian mobile success story has announced that is will launching a new budget handset in Indonesia, part of the company’s renewed focus on emerging markets.

The Z3, a phone designed specifically for Indonesia but a focused concept that will likely be introduced in other burgeoning markets, is unique for two reasons: First, it serves as the first new Blackberry phone since CEO John Chen took the reigns of the beleaguered company back in November, and second, it is the first device produced by the partnership between Blackberry and tech manufacturing behemoth Foxconn.

Blackberry firmly believes this new device will find a home in Indonesia, a market where many have remained loyal to the Blackberry brand, with a company spokesperson saying that “this product will deliver something that should resonate with consumers”. But you’ll have to excuse me for being skeptical,  as company missteps regarding market trends and consumer interest mean I have little faith in what Blackberry thinks should happen and an almost certainty about what will happen.

I’ll admit that I want to give Blackberry the benefit of the doubt, hoping against all prevailing wisdom that this stalwart pioneer of the modern smartphone will be able to recapture a least a piece of its former glory. But lets be realistic here, despite its best efforts to bring the hype it created here a decade ago to burgeoning (perhaps even naïve) markets its likely far too late for a Blackberry comeback, the company’s fate having been sealed some time ago now.

But before I’ll willing to fully participate in Blackberry’s extended funeral dirge I need to see what’s going to happen in Indonesia, as it stands as Chen’s first real attempt at reversing his company’s fortunes in the mobile market and serves as the first handset produced by the company’s landmark partnership with Foxconn.

Simply put, if Blackberry is able to maintain a strong market share in Indonesia it won’t be long before we see the company redouble its efforts in other bastions of respectable Blackberry popularity, markets like India and Southeast Asia. While it’s a far cry from the dominance the company enjoyed a short decade ago, there’s nothing to say a mobile player needs to have a presence in North America to be a dominant global competitor, case and point Huawei and several other Chinese mobile players.

In fact, Blackberry is hoping a phone and features specifically geared towards an Indonesiacustomer base coupled with an attractive price point will the biggest selling points for this phone. But again, if Blackberry is hoping that the Z3 will be its saviour in Indonesia, the company will likely be disappointed yet again, as this new handset will more likely end up as another disappointing offering from the Canadian company, a device that should have done better, but one that ultimately didn’t.

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