Category: Tech / Sci / February 25, 2013 3:52 PM EST
BlackBerry launched the first smartphone from its make-or-break BB10 line in India on Monday (February 25), as the company tackles stiff competition from rival company Apple.
More than four years after it started selling iPhones in India, Apple is now aggressively pushing the iconic device, the iPhone 5, through instalment payment plans that make it more affordable, a new distribution model and heavy marketing blitz.
The new-found interest in India suggests a subtle strategy shift for Apple, which has moved tentatively in emerging markets and has allowed rivals such as Samsung and Blackberry to dominate with more affordable smartphones.
"Without a doubt Blackberry 10 is amongst the most important launches in the industry. It has also been the most challenging, exhilarated, satisfying journeys in the history of Blackberry. Today, also gives us the opportunity to bring to you a very revolutionary user experience, one that you have never seen before," said the Managing Director of Blackberry India, Sunil Dutt, speaking at the launch in Mumbai.
India is the world's No. 2 cellphone market by users, but most Indians can't afford fancy handsets. Smartphones account for just a tenth of total phone sales.
In India, 95 percent of cellphone users have prepaid accounts without a fixed contract.
Unlike in the United States, carriers do not subsidise handsets.
"One, all carriers are supporting Blackberry 10 and all the date plans that are going to be there in the market, these are going to be completely in line with any data plan that you have in the market for any competitive product and it's going to be a level playing field with everyone. So, it's the same for everyone now," Dutt added.
BlackBerry, which has seen its global market share shrivel to 3.4 percent from 20 percent over the past three years, is making what is seen as a last-ditch effort to save itself with the BB10 series.
Video Source: Reuters