Blackberry's tablet 'Passport' hits Indian markets

  • M.Rajendran, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 29, 2014 15:51 IST

Black Berry launched its latest phone ‘Passport’ in India on Monday. As the name suggests, it has been designed to match the size of a passport and is priced at Rs 49,990.

But will Passport give business of BlackBerry in India the passport to top? The challenge is enormous. The iPhone6 from Apple, Samsung's Galaxy series and its latest model Alpha launched on Saturday, the Micromax, XOLO and Lava, all have phones for in the same target customers.

The price certainly plays an important role, but there is a growing aspiration amongst the urban Indian middle class—to own a phone that is aesthetically designed, functionally similar and pinches the pocket less. There will be customers, who will pay for the brand. But there is a choice, now, for those who wish to be with the upmarket, but at a lower price.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha is a smart phone priced at R39,990, with a new design. Black Berry Passport too has a new design, so do many others. “The Galaxy Alpha was built and designed based on the specific desires of customers, including those in India—the design centres of Samsung invest a lot in understanding the customers and their preference,” Asim Warsi Vice President Mobile and IT, Samsung India told HT.

For Black Berry, the challenge is not just to get the right design, the right utility amidst the internal challenges of restructuring its workforce, but the positioning of its product. Can the ‘Passport’, become the passport for it to be amongst the top, globally and in India? “Give it four to five quarter period...a lot of youth have adopted Black Berry,” says N.K Goyal, Presidentof CMIE and a Telecom Analyst.

Last week announcing the quarterly result, John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry said, “Our workforce restructuring is now complete, and we are focusing on revenue growth with judicious investments to further our leadership position in enterprise mobility and security, driving us towards non-GAAP profitability during FY16.”

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