BlackBerry has a better chance at succeeding in India than Windows Phone

BlackBerry, formerly RIM, is set to launch its first BlackBerry 10 (BB10) smartphone in India later this month. India is one of the few countries where the BlackBerry Z10 is being launched in the first wave, even before the US where it is expected to be launched sometime in March. This is the first major product launch by BlackBerry in almost two years and in a way the company’s betting its future on it. I believe that BlackBerry 10 has a better chance of succeeding in India than Windows Phone, purely in terms of sales volumes. Read on to find out why.

The biggest advantage in BlackBerry’s favor right now is its existing subscriber base. Microsoft did not really have any significant user base that would “upgrade” from an older platform to a new one. BlackBerry, on the other hand, as a relatively massive installed base in India, who have been eagerly waiting for an upgrade. In fact, the Z10 fits in perfectly in BlackBerry’s scheme of things as the smartphone vendor did not launch any high-end smartphone in 2012 and most users who are still using their Bold 9900 and its variants will be the first to line up for the Z10. These are loyal users, who have preferred to stay with an ageing platform even when there are tempting alternatives from Apple and Samsung, among others.

For Microsoft, it will always be a hard-sell to make users shift from other platforms to Windows Phone – their best bets being feature phone and Symbian users. Microsoft did not do a great job by alienating its early adopters by keeping them in the dark that their recently bought smartphones won’t get updated to the latest version of the operating system. The way Nokia had to cut prices of its Lumia series of smartphones didn’t help build consumer confidence either.

Many BlackBerry users who have moved to other platforms also continue to use their BlackBerry, if for nothing else then BBM and email. Many of these users might also give BB10 a chance and pick up the Z10. Windows Phone lacks any such sticky feature. Even if BB10 does not really have the same push email experience as the older platform, it offers many features that its users have been asking for – especially a touchscreen, a better browser and a new user interface. By doing away with Blackberry-specific data and BBM plans, the company has taken away yet another hassle for many users, who will now be able to use a regular data plan for complete Internet, email and BBM access.

This is not to say that BlackBerry is out of the rough patch it found itself in two years ago. This is just the beginning and the Z10 will buy the company just about enough time to tweak the platform a bit more and improve it on an ongoing basis rather than waiting for an annual update.

I believe it will keep launching a new product every couple of months that would provide a different/better experience based on the learnings from the Z10 and later the Q10. The important thing here is to ensure that BlackBerry provides timely updates to its early adopters as it improves the whole BB10 experience. Hopefully, by the end of the year we will also see BB10 smartphones in the mid-range segment, which could further drive adoption.

However, the success of BlackBerry would eventually depend on the quality of hardware it offers as well as improvements in the platform itself. Initial reviews have shown that BB10 offers a unique user interface but might not be the most intuitive one at the moment. BlackBerry needs to fix it and do it fast. It is all a matter of taking calculated yet swift steps and putting the consumer first.

  • sri_tech

    Advantages of windows phone:

    => Windows phone has more apps than blackberry 10. Quality wise also blackberry is no where near windows phone apps. Porting app from windows 8 to windows phone is very easy, so you can expect many apps to be made for windows phone in the future.
    More than half of the 70000 apps that BB is claiming are run time apps ported from android. Each and every reviewer has said that those apps suck.

    => Windows phone has the best hardware right now. Lumia 920 is the most beautiful and durable phone. It has one of the best camera available on smartphones with OIS and low light pictures etc. It also has wireless charging built in. Its screen works with gloves on.
    Hardware wise Z10 is no match to 920 and even 8x has better design than Z10. According to reviews camera on Z10 sucks. Battery life is also bad.

    => There are 4 companies making windows phones currently. Prices of those starts from 10K and goes all the way to 36K.
    Right now there are 8 WP8 phones released already in the market from Nokia(920, 820, 620), HTC (8x, 8s) and Samsung (ativ s, odyssey). BB has only Z10 and Q10.

    => Windows phone has the momentum compared to BB10.
    In the Q4 2012 in europe windows phone outsold BB. BB has 4% down from 10.4% in 2011.
    Windows phone 5.4% up from 2.4% in 2011.
    In US and australia also windows phone outsold BB in Q4 2012.

    You are saying “Nokia had to cut prices of its Lumia series of smartphones”

    Who is not cutting the prices of old phones. According to bgr.in samsung recently cut the prices of its smartphones. Does that mean samsung failed?

    Every manufacturer will cut the prices of their smartphones over the time. If BB prices the Z10 more than 30K then I dont see why anyone would buy it than S3 or 920.

  • imran

    Z10 is an atom bomb to start with to begin the war with samsung and WP8. Let BB aristo comes in May. That will be a nuclear. The biggest hindrance in a touch screen phone is keyboard. And BB has rightly targetted the nerve of the remaining three Operating system by introducing a mond blowing touch screen keyboard that eases the typing

  • arun

    This article is a complete joke. How can two expensive phones from same manufacturer beat dozens of devices that are already doing well? Blackberry does not have a great installed subscriber base in India as they claim. The real installed base is with Nokia. Lumia 510 is selling like hotcakes in India. The only reason blackberries sold was their price. Now with the one advantage gone, bb hardly chance in India.