BlackBerry, the struggling smartphone maker, is looking to make some waves by releasing a very low cost touchscreen device, first in Jakarta. It is called the Z3, and it is a new budget handset that the company will be offering in Indonesia first. This makes sense, because Indonesia was a country in which BlackBerry used to do very well before its fall from grace.
This budget handset that costs less than $200 could mean a lot for the future of the company, not only for its tie ups with manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group, but also for the future of its smartphones in general.
Officials from the company announced already that they have a lot riding on the Z3, adding that even if there is a small and steady growth seen in Indonesia with the Z3, it will give the company hope that there is still room in the local market for them.
This is the first phone that Blackberry has launched under new Chief Executive John Chen, who took over late last year. It will be gradually introduced to markets outside of Indonesia, according to the company.
Only two years ago, Blackberry had 40 percent of the Indonesian smartphone market, and now it is down to four percent. They launched a premium phone last year, the BlackBerry 10, but it did not go over well. It seems hard to sell a premium phone in a country in which the monthly wages are so meager.
The dominant company in Indonesia today is Samsung, which sells one of every three smart phones in the country. BlackBerry is expected to launch another device later this year called the BlackBerry Classic, which will look more like old versions of BlackBerry smartphones, since many people complained that the BlackBerry 10 and other newer devices were much harder to use and confusing for navigation.
FoxConn is also hoping that the Z3 does well, since the manufacturing giant is looking to set up plants in Indonesia. The company has been in talks for years, but problems regarding taxes, property and import restrictions have stalled the talks and plans.