BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) has highlighted entry-level devices as a key area for the UK market in 2012, with a new low-end device set to launch in the fourth quarter.
RIM UK & Ireland MD Stephen Bates (pictured) described low-end devices as ‘really important’, hailing the success of the BlackBerry Curve 8520. He told Mobile: ‘It provided a fundamentally strong value proposition that I will always be driving.’
RIM will also bring two high-end devices to market in the fourth quarter, which Bates compared to its Torch 9810 and Curve 9360 devices and said would be targeted at consumer and corporate customers. He said: ‘Later this year will be an exciting time for BlackBerry as we will be concentrating on really attractive, compelling devices at each price point.’ Bates revealed that the forthcoming devices would not be offered as exclusives to operators or retailers but said RIM would produce coloured devices for different customers.
However, he refused to be drawn on the UK launch of its forthcoming OS, BlackBerry 10: ‘I am keen that the UK is one of the early markets to see the launch of high-end devices. It will be available later this year but I cannot be more specific than that.’
Bates said the recent update to the BlackBerry PlayBook OS gives consumers an early glimpse of the functionality of BlackBerry 10. He added: ‘The tablet has become very slick and we now have a really good functionality. We are working with top-end games companies to build a catalogue of games. The PlayBook has become the on-ramp that will morph into BlackBerry 10.’
Bates said its Mobile Fusion device management system (pictured) would launch in the UK during the next few months and was a key plank of its corporate business this year. It enables business users to manage their devices remotely and will offer access to the rival Android and iOS operating systems.
Meanwhile, Bates shrugged off claims that RIM had lost its way after a difficult year for the company which saw its co-founders relinquish their leadership posts in January. He said: ‘We are still very relevant. We have the single biggest user group in the UK with more than eight million BlackBerry customers. My focus is to launch new BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry is for people who value communication and value social networks.’