BlackBerry will focus on mid and upper-tier BB10 devices through 2013, with no entry level prepay models coming to market until next year.
The manufacturer, who unveiled its BB10 phones last week, has had success with the low-cost prepay market, particularly among young people, and the move could disappoint retailers. Its 9320 handset was the bestselling Christmas handset, so the lack of a BB10 pre-pay device would leave retailers without a guaranteed hit. Europe MD Stephen Bates told Mobile the manufacturer would focus pre-pay sales on its existing BlackBerry 7 and 7.1 handsets. He said: ‘With BB10 we are trying to establish a new platform. We are intending to expand the portfolio towards the mid-tier in 2013 and entry-level phones will come next year.’
The manufacturer had been seen as taking a risk in releasing its Z10 touch-screen handset first, with retailers and operators more keen on the Qwerty Q10. While initial orders were cautious, Jefferies analyst Peter Jefferies said following launch: ‘We believe Carphone Warehouse is seeing widespread sell-outs, while O2, Vodafone, Orange and EE are seeing robust demand.’
Bates said the touch-screen device came first in a bid to highlight innovation in the new OS. He said: ‘With the touch-screen handset, it was a case that that device was the best way to articulate the cinematic experience across the screen, the power of the applications, the power of browsing and showing off the innovation.’
Author: Graeme Neill