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Priced at Rs 10,990, Blackberry Curve 9220 to begin a new era

Blackberry’s new Blackberry Curve 9220, priced at just Rs 10,990, will help the Canadian smartphone maker RIM to further increase its presence in India, Cyber Media Research said.

Earlier in the day, Research in Motion announced that it was launching the Blackberry Curve 9220, targeted at the ‘mass’ market.

Unlike the usual Blackberry, the Curve 9220 is both low-priced as well as comes with features that make it attractive to the youth or mid-tier segment. Blackberry has traditionally focused on the enterprise or office-goer segment.

For example, a review of the Blackberry Curve 9220 shows that it has a a 2 MP camera and FM radio. While there are other Blackberries in the Rs 10,000-15,000 range, the Curve 9220 is the first one to come with the latest BlackBerry 7.1 operating system.

One big miss on this phone is the absence of 3G. A similar model, the Blackberry Curve 9320, however will come with 3G, but the pricing is not known.

The Blackberry 7 operating system is very different from the earlier operating system — found on nearly all the models in India — as it has been made more ‘funky’ and graphically rich.

RIM India also have a tie up in place with operators like Vodafone to offer its unique Blackberry Messenger service for as little as Rs 5 per day.

CyberMedia Research pointed out that the average selling price of Blackberry phones in India has sharply declined from about $565 (Rs 28,000) in 2008 to about $394 (Rs 19,500) last year. During the same period, the average sales price of a smartphone in India fell from $335 to $290.

“As a result of this consistent effort to launch new devices at attractive price points, the share of BlackBerry in the India smartphones market has grown from 3% in 2008 to 15% in 2011,” pointed out the research firm.

The new phone, priced at just Rs 10,990, will further depress average prices, but will increase Blackberry’s market share in India.

“For many field force personnel (frontline executives), BB devices were largely out of reach due to lack of affordability or corporate policy, or both. The new price point will allow adoption of BB devices by many first time individual users, thus extending the concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device); it will also allow businesses to extend availability of such devices to a larger base of employees,” said the agency.

While aggressive competitors like Samsung, which make smartphones based on multiple OS platforms such as Android and Windows Mobile, have recorded even higher year-on-year growth rates, BlackBerry devices have found a large, new customer base in the India youth segment.

Acccording to Cyber Media Research, Nokia continued to lead the smartphone market in India as of 2011, with a 38% market share. Samsung was second with 28% and RIM was third with 15%. However, in November, Samsung had surged to a 34.1% share in the Indian smartphone market, followed by Nokia with 22.4% and RIM (Blackberry) with 18.6%.

Other specifications of Blackberry Curve 9220:

RAM : 512 MB
Talktime : 28 hours (28 hours of music playback)
3G : NO
Processor speed : 800 MHz
Display size : 2.44 inch
Display resolution: 320×240 pixels

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