BlackBerry launches a new budget smartphone ‘Z3 aka Zakarta’ in Indonesia
The Z3, which is designed for Indonesia but will likely be introduced in other emerging markets later, is the first new BlackBerry phone since chief executive John Chen took the helm of the company in November. BlackBerry believes the device will be a hit in Indonesia, where it has many loyal customers. Recent years have been dismal for BlackBerry, and it has suffered heavy losses and slashed thousands of jobs.
The company even put itself up for sale last year but abandoned hopes of finding a buyer several months later, and ousted chief executive Thorsten Heins.
The Z3 has a five-inch touchscreen, like most of BlackBerry’s newest handsets which do not have the physical keyboards of the older devices. It is designed with Indonesian consumers in mind. The BBM messaging service, wildly popular in Indonesia, comes loaded with pictures of local cartoon characters for users to send to one another.
There is also a limited edition with “Jakarta” engraved on it.
BlackBerry believes the low price – it will retail for the equivalent of around US$200 – will be a particular selling point.
The telecoms consultancy says BlackBerry’s market share in Indonesia peaked in 2011 at about 43 per cent and remained healthy in 2012 only to suffer a collapse in 2013, when it fell to around 13 per cent.