Can BlackBerry’s Z3 Jakarta Edition Save the Company?
BlackBerry’s (NASDAQ:BBRY) newest smartphone has an international premiere ahead. Instead of debuting first in Canada or the United States, its newest device will first be introduced in Indonesia.
BlackBerry will launch a new smartphone, the Z3 Jakarta Edition, in the near future. The Canadian mobile company’s new device is the result of collaboration with Chinese manufacturing company Foxconn. BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that the Z3 would eventually be shipped out internationally, meaning that it will arrive in North America sometime after its May 15 Indonesian debut.
The Z3 has 5-inch touchscreen, BlackBerry’s latest operating system, a non-removable battery, and cameras on the front and back of the phone. While it lacks BlackBerry’s signature keyboard, a step necessary to join the era of touchscreens, the phone retains the black style elements and distinctive logo that brand it a BlackBerry smartphone. The release of this smartphone marks BlackBerry’s first time working with Foxconn on a product. The manufacturing firm also produces devices for other major smartphone manufacturers, including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
The new phone may be part of the road to redemption for BlackBerry. The company once dominated the smartphone market, but the entry of other competitors, such as Apple and Samsung (SSNLF.PK), into the space drew customers away from the trademark black devices.
BlackBerry is no longer the smartphone the cool kids use. That crown has been passed on to Samsung and Apple, which are in a fierce rivalry for the top spot. BlackBerry still retains a devoted following among a core group, but it has become a niche audience. This audience includes President Barack Obama, who uses a modified version of a previous BlackBerry model. Its popularity is a shadow of what it once was, and the platform is currently a distant competitor in the smartphone market. Its current position is behind Android (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL), iOS, and Windows (NASDAQ:MSFT) phones. This new phone is an attempt to bolster sales by launching first in an international market.
BlackBerry’s website promoting the phone features a sales pitch that includes the BBM messaging platform, the ease of switching between the Bahasa Indonesian language and English, and the BlackBerry Hub feature. Some launch edition phones will have the word “Jakarta,” after the Indonesian city, inscribed on the back of the device. The Z3 will sell for about $200 at both BlackBerry stores and the stores of wireless carriers.
Other BlackBerry phones on the world market include the BlackBerry Bold, a popular seller on global markets, although it faces stiff competition from other smartphone companies such as Samsung, Apple, and HTC. BlackBerry’s newest phone is an attempt to win audiences with a new phone and an international debut. What happens next is up to consumers.