Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) – er, BlackBerry Ltd. – has been trying to ride a comeback with its new BB10 operating system and its Z10 handset, and the impact of the new phone in U.K. and Canada has been, well, mixed – it depends on your definition of “successful,” let’s just say. And with the phone not scheduled to hit U.S. store shelves until the ides of March a the earliest, the BlackBerry recovery is generally in the background in the tech headlines.
But BlackBerry has had a decent following in an emerging market like India in the past, and now the company is looking to test out that market again, as Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) – which is a holding in 31 of the equity hedge funds we track – is launching its Z10 handset into the India market as a premium-priced phone that would directly compete with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and its iPhone 5.
Monday was the first day of sales for the Z10 in India, and Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) is selling the phone for about $800, which compares favorably with the iPhone price of about $840. This seems to be a bit counterintuitive for BlackBerry, which at one point was a dominant force in the India market primarily because of its affordable handsets, that were much cheaper than anything Apple or Samsung had in the market, and its very popular messenger service. Especially since the company’s market share has dwindled to 5 percent in India. So why try to get in on the high end?
According to a research analyst at IDC, it’s because the high-end smartphone market is there, as noted by IDC which claimed “overwhelming demand” for the iPhone 5 in India. The firm noted that iPhone shipments to India in the fourth quarter of 2012 were four times what they were in the third quarter, and the prediction is that the year-over-year increase in 2013 would be about 150 percent. It could be that Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) sees those numbers as an opportunity to get into the market and perhaps stunt Apple’s growth in that market to get its own piece of that pie.
What do you think about this strategy for Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) in India? Can this be a catalyst to get BlackBerry to rebound in the mobile market? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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