The first smartphone that the new BlackBerry-Foxconn partnership is due to deliver will come with a price tag of under $200, BlackBerry community website, BlackBerry Empire, revealed yesterday. In India the handset is expected to be on offer at around Rs10,000 to Rs12,000.
The hardware will be designed by Foxconn design and inventory while BlackBerry would provide software and overall supervision.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen had hinted in a media interview that the device, nicknamed Jakarta, was first scheduled for launch in Indonesia and would be an all-touch smartphone, saying that while he would not confirm or deny anything, he knew leaks had let the cat out of the bag.
According to BlackBerry Empire, the price tag would be a significant plus for BlackBerry, that had been struggling to gain marketshare at prices that considered extremely high in developing markets like India, where BlackBerry still was a significant player.
Further in recent months, even that market share had been lost due to pricey BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
Till a few days ago, the cheapest BlackBerry 10 smartphone in India sold for around Rs24,000 and was hardly any match in the specs department against Android smartphones at the same price point.
Meanwhile, the company would likely have at least two smartphones hitting the market this year, according to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, who interacted with media in a roundtable at the Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday.
The devices point to BlackBerry's unwillingness to give up on selling smartphones to consumers.
The company would, however, not repeat the flashy, yet ultimately doomed attempt to take on leading smartphones such as the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4.
"We're not retreating from the consumer business," Chen said.
Chen said the focus of the company for the next 18 months would be on the enterprise sector, which was likely where the more traditional keyboard smartphone approach would come into play.
Apart from devices Chen wants shoring up the enterprise service and mobile device management business, build upon the momentum of the BlackBerry Messenger service, and better utilisation of its QNX platform.
Although Chen had initially been appointed as interim CEO and chairman of BlackBerry, yesterday he said he would stay with the company until it was financially and strategically sound, a milestone that he projected would be achieved in the next 18 months.
He confirmed further that BlackBerry had halted its search for a new CEO.