Facing competition from smartphone-makers like Samsung and Nokia, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) has chalked out an aggressive plan for India where it will be increasing its footprint to 160 cities, besides launching new devices and the latest Operation System 10 soon.
The BlackBerry maker has a presence in 80 cities in the country now and is keen to tap the burgeoning demand for smartphones here. "In terms of expansion, we would like to strengthen our existing presence. As far as new cities are concerned we would like to double our presence this year and go to every city which has a demand for smartphones," RIM India Head Sunil Dutt said.
He, however, declined to comment on investment details. RIM started its operations in India in 2004 and has a presence in over 80 cities across more than 4,000 retail points of presence. It has three national distributors - Redington India, Brightpoint India and Ingram Inc.
Its portfolio in India includes the Curve, Bold and Torch series. The company also sells CDMA smartphones like BlackBerry Tour 9630, BlackBerry Curve 8530, BlackBerry Style 9670 and BlackBerry Curve 9350.
RIM shipped about 14.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and approximately 150,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in Q3 FY12.
During the same period, its subscriber base grew to nearly 75 million, up 35% year-over-year. RIM does not provide country-specific details.
Talking about its latest operating system, Dutt said, "The OS 10 would be available from the second half of 2012." The new operating system could be RIM's answer to other OS software like Windows Phone, Android, iOS and Samsung's Bada.
Asked if the company would look at setting up a manufacturing base in India, he said the company is open to the idea but "it would depend on the demand".
The former Samsung India leader, who joined RIM from HP India, is also excited about the BlackBerry brand.
"BlackBerry devices continue to be popular, especially the BlackBerry Messenger service. We would continue to bring out newer devices. The broad areas of focus are innovation, building brand association, effective go-to market channels and customer satisfaction," Dutt said. He said the company is also upbeat on its applications store.