May 13 - BlackBerry introduces first low-end handset, the Z3, in Indonesia, a device aimed at users from the emerging markets. Sonia Legg reports it's also a way to compete with major smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung.
Jakarta may not seem the obvious place for a smartphone maker to launch a new mobile - but for BlackBerry it is. Two years ago the Canadian firm had a 40% share of the Indonesian market. It used to ship 600,000 handsets every quarter to what was known as the BlackBerry Nation. Nowadays market share is just 4% but CEO John Chen - who took the helm at BlackBerry late last year - hopes the new Z3 is the start of the fightback. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BLACKBERRY CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER JOHN CHEN SAYING: "The more important statement is that, we are definitely in a handset business, we want to be very competitive in the handset business. And with our relationship with the Foxconn, we are not only able to offer this, but offer in a very timely manner." The Z3 is the first to be made with FIH Mobile - a unit of the gaint Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group. It's also the first budget blackberry - retailing for less than $200. Chen hopes that will make it more attractive than previous models. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BLACKBERRY CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER JOHN CHEN SAYING: "The consumer based is very important, and we think we have the ability to participate and compete. So this has nothing to do with our enterprise focus, that is definitely our focus in regardless but we are also interested in penetrating the consumer markets around the world, especially the developing countries." One in every three mobiles sold in South East Asia's largest economy is now an Android-based Samsung. But mobile retailers and some users say there is still an appetite for BlackBerry, particularly as it offers text in the local language and even different dialects. (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) 25-YEAR-OLD MOBILE PHONE SELLER DYTTO SAYING: "This is a central business district so although there is demand for Android and iPhone, people are still enthusiastic about Blackberry." (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) 35-YEAR-OLD BLACKBERRY USER, WAWAN SAYING: "BlackBerry can keep all my private data safe, I don't feel the Android system can ensure that." Another key model - the BlackBerry Classic - will be launched later this year. It will have new command keys designed to address concerns the device is hard to navigate. But in Asia it's the budget model BlackBerry has high hopes for - 40% of the population in Indonesia lives on $2 a day.