Mumbai: BlackBerry on Monday launched its much-awaited smartphone Z10, powered by its latest operating system 'BlackBerry 10', in India at a price of Rs 43,490, taking rivals Apple and Samsung head on in the world's second largest telecom market.
The Canadian smartphone maker has launched its latest model in India nearly a month after the global launch of new operating system 'BlackBerry 10' and two devices Z10 and Q10 on this platform on January 30.
"Without a doubt the BlackBerry Z10 is among the most important and much-awaited BlackBerry launches in the history of the Indian smartphone industry," BlackBerry Managing Director (India) Sunil Dutt said in a statement.
With BlackBerry 10, the company has "re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented" BlackBerry to create a new and unique mobile computing experience, he added.
"Although, the device is priced high, this positioning by BlackBerry was on expected lines. The operating systems looks good and has some excellent features," Gartner Principal Research Analyst Anshul Gupta said.
The new device is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and has 2GB RAM. It comes with 16GB onboard memory, which can be expanded up to 64GB using a microSD card.
It has 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, a 2MP HD camera in front and its connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and NFC.
The device supports content in eight Indian languages — Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Devanagiri (Hindi), Gurmukhi (Punjabi), Gujarati, and Bengali — as well as support for third-party solutions for Indian language input.
The BlackBerry 10-powered phones also boast of faster browser, larger app library and new features like BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Flow, BlackBerry Balance and Time Shift.
The struggling smartphone maker, which re-christened itself as 'BlackBerry' from Research in Motion in January, is betting on the new platform to turn around its fortunes.
The Z10 competes with Apple's iPhone and those based on Google's Android operating system, which have gained popularity across the world.
BlackBerry has a strong customer base in India, especially among youth. As per CyberMedia Research, the company's market share in Indian smartphone market stood at 12.1 percent during January-June 2012 period.
BlackBerry, which faced strong criticism for lack of content on its application store, has also revamped it to take on Android's Play Store and Apple's App Store. The BlackBerry World storefront now includes over 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps.
For long been touted as an enterprise device, BlackBerry has now introduced 'BlackBerry Balance' that will allow users separate professional data and applications from music, photographs and other personal items. The new devices also feature enhanced camera features.
BlackBerry Z10 was first unveiled in the UK, last month, followed by Canada, the UAE and the US earlier this month.
The Z10 will compete with the Apple iPhones and the Galaxy series of Samsung in the domestic market, where BlackBerry is said to control only about 15 percent of the volume share.
But this still is much higher than the global share of BlackBerry which considers India to be "a key market in the Asia Pacific region."
Analysts have described the Z10 launch as a "make or break" for the company that has been struggling to remain afloat for years now and is the most ambitious effort to date to regain its lost glory in the smartphone segment, which it had revolutionised but soon lost to Samsung and Apple.
Recently it was reported that Apple became the second largest smartphone player in the domestic market in value terms after Samsung which controls nearly half the market, while the share of BlackBerry is below top six brands, trailing even Mircomax. However, the domestic market is huge as smartphone penetration is only about 4 percent.
On the features of the new Z10, out of the over 70,000 applications it sports, ranging from Facebook to Twitter to What'sUp to PVR Cinemas (PVR Wallet) to HDFC Mobile Banking, 8,000 have been developed in the country, BlackBerry's software portfolio head Vivek Bharadwaj said.
He also said the BB10 supports content in eight domestic languages--Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.
BlackBerry recently set up development centre at the Smart City campus in Kochi.
The Z10 is the first smartphone powered by the re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry10 platform, giving a powerful and unique new mobile computing experience and is the fastest, most advanced BB offering yet.
The new device is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and has 2GB RAM. It comes with 16GB onboard memory, which can be expanded up to 64GB using a microSD card. It has 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, a 2MP HD camera in front and its connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and NFC.
The Z10 will be available in over 2,000 retail outlets across 50 cities in India and has partnered telecom operators like Aircel, Idea Cellular and BSNL for various offers.
The BlackBerry 10-powered phones also boast of faster browser, larger App library and new features like BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Flow, BlackBerry Balance and Time Shift.
The struggling smartphone maker re-christened itself as BlackBerry from Research-in-Motion on January 30 when it unveiled Z10 and Q10 in New York.
First Published: Monday, February 25, 2013, 17:10