BlackBerry, formerly RIM, will be trying to keep its BlackBerry 10 at the premium price point this year. The company’s European Managing Director Stephen Bates said that there will be no entry-level BlackBerry 10 smartphone this year.
BlackBerry had introduced two premium BlackBerry smartphones at the end of January in the form of the BlackBerry Z10, a touchscreen-style smartphone, along with a touchscreen and keyboarded model in the form of the BlackBerry Q10, a device that evolves the BlackBerry Bold form factor with the BlackBerry 10 operating system. Both devices have gone on sale through various international carriers and are expected to arrive on AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless sometime soon.
The reasoning that BlackBerry 10 won’t be making it to the entry-level market is that the company intends on continuing with the success of the BlackBerry 7 OS at the lower price points. Essentially, if you want an inexpensive BlackBerry smartphone, BlackBerry is telling you to go with the BlackBerry Curve at the low end or the BlackBerry Bold, which will fill the mid-tier market segment.
We’ve brought out these high-end devices as a as a statement of intent – to demonstrate vividly the new BlackBerry. Our intention is to evolve that portfolio to enter the mid-tier. But we don’t see us getting to the entry level tier for some time; certainly not this year. Based on the great sales we’ve had over Christmas in the UK there is a demand for the entry level BlackBerry and we don’t want to give that up so we’re going to continue with Curve and the entry level as we bring BlackBerry 10 down through the mid-tier and eventually into the entry level.
Tech Radar initially reported about BlackBerry’s intentions to stay premium in 2013.
News of restricting BlackBerry 10 to high-end models until at least 2014 will be disappointing for those who’d like to see an inexpensive BlackBerry 10 model come to the market, especially for those in emerging markets. In emerging markets, Android and Windows Phone have been doing strong with competitive price points.
Prior to the launch of the BlackBerry 10 OS and the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, it had been announced that BlackBerry would launch up to six models this year based on the new platform. If that holds true, all six models will be premium models.