India is all set to make calls in the much awaited blackberry Q10 with the mobile hitting the Indian markets today at a steep price of Rs. 44, 990.
Q10 is the company’s costliest mobile after P9981 (Rs. 139,000). In fact for quite a while Blackberry has been in the practice of releasing costly mobiles. Early in the year, Blackberry also launched Z10 - a touch phone, in India for Rs. 43,490.
Indians have already started speculating on social media platforms whether it is worth all that money. Even though Blackberry brags a physical QWERTY keyboard and a longer battery life, when it comes to 'Apps' section Blackberry is not even comparable to that of the Android and iPhone platforms. Blackberry's image as an office phone also may hit its sales as Indian youth are more into Android and iPhones.
However Q10 boasts a series of improvements over its earlier releases.
The mobile has Research In Motion Ltd.'s new BlackBerry 10 operating system, which addresses shortcomings that allowed the iPhone and Android devices to surpass the once-pioneering BlackBerry in sales and prestige.
RIM's chief operating officer, Kristian Tear, said that he doesn't regret RIM's decision to release a touch version first, even though it was new territory for the company. Many long-time BlackBerry users prefer a physical keyboard, which has been RIM's strength.
"It's obviously a larger market size, the full touch," he said in an interview. "I think it was right to do that No. 1. To get Q10 out now, not too long after, is a good second step."
RIM's touch-only devices in the past haven't been successful. Meanwhile, its rivals have largely abandoned efforts at making smartphones with physical keyboards. That's an area RIM long has been strong in.
Tear said loyal Blackberry users are eager to upgrade to the Q10, and he expects RIM to win back people who had left for rival devices.
Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners, said the keyboard version has a much greater chance at success than the touch version. He calls the Z10 just another slab of glass that doesn't differentiate much what rivals offer. He said RIM's base has always favored the keyboard.
"That's why I always found it kind of odd that they didn't lead with the strength," Gillis said.
Nonetheless, RIM surprised Wall Street in March by returning to profitability and shipping about 1 million touch-screen BlackBerry Z10 phones in the quarter that ended March 2. It will take several quarters, though, to know whether the Canadian company is on a path toward a successful turnaround.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said it was smart to start with touch to give the Z10 a chance. Otherwise, he said, people might not have tried it and just gone to the Q10 and its keyboard.
RIM's stock increased 9 cents, or less than 1 percent, to close Wednesday at $13.63.