BlackBerry aims to target two segments with a single offering

Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry devices, today announced the launch of the Blackberry Curve 9220 smartphone based on the BlackBerry 7.1 OS. The new device is attractively priced at Rs. 10,990 or approx. US$ 220, and comes with free apps worth Rs. 2,500, which can be downloaded from the BlackBerry App World till June 30. The phone also comes with a dedicated BBM button for instant access to BlackBerry Messenger, a 2 MP camera with 5X digital zoom, FM radio, WiFi connectivity and expandable memory up to 32 GB.

If these features were not enough to attract the student / youth segment, RIM India also have a tie up in place with operators like Vodafone to offer attractive pre-paid BBM plans starting as low as Rs. 5 per day.

As shown in the above chart, the ASVs of BB devices have been following a declining trend in the last four years, 2008 to 2011, which is in line with overall smartphone price trends.

As a result of this consistent effort to launch new devices at attractive price points, the share of BlackBerry in the India smartphones market has grown from 3% in 2008 to 15% in 2011. While aggressive competitors like Samsung, which make smartphones based on multiple OS platforms such as Android and Windows Mobile, have recorded even higher year-on-year growth rates, BlackBerry devices have found a large, new customer base in the India youth segment.

Winning back corporate customers through widening customer base

Today’s attractively priced BlackBerry Curve 9220 device, powered by the new BlackBerry 7.1 OS opens up a further set of opportunities – adoption and deployment by a larger number of individuals and corporates. Many applications important for the enterprise sector can be better enabled and managed securely with the new OS. These include corporate email via the BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server), field-force automation tools and collaborative enterprise applications. For many field force personnel (frontline executives), BB devices were largely out of reach due to lack of affordability or corporate policy, or both. The new price point will allow adoption of BB devices by many first time individual users; it will also allow businesses to make available such devices to a larger base of employees.

With a portfolio of a new generation of BB devices such as the Curve 9220, RIM could do well for itself by riding the growing consumer-driven trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and expanding its user base in its traditional stronghold of business enterprise customers.