BlackBerry: no budget BB10 phones in 2013
8th Feb 2013 | 21:59
Sucks to be you if you want a next-gen Curve
BlackBerry won't be killing BB7 anytime soon - which means those looking for advanced cheaper phones are out of luck.
Given a core segment of the BlackBerry user base are those on the pre-pay market, traditionally spending very little money on a handset, many were expecting to see a phone to service them running BB10 in the same manner as Windows Phone 8, with the likes of the Nokia 620.
However, speaking to TechRadar, BlackBerry European MD Stephen Bates told us the company was focused on making sure people saw it as a high-end company first and foremost:
"We've brought out these high-end devices as a as a statement of intent - to demonstrate vividly the new BlackBerry," said Bates. "Our intention is to evolve that portfolio to enter the mid-tier."
"But we don't see us getting to the entry level tier for some time; certainly not this year. Based on the great sales we've had over Christmas in the UK there is a demand for the entry level BlackBerry and we don't want to give that up so we're going to continue with Curve and the entry level as we bring BlackBerry 10 down through the mid-tier and eventually into the entry level."
One OS for you, and another for you…
It seems that BlackBerry is going to continue with a two-tier approach for the mobile OS for the time being: UK and Ireland MD Rob Orr told TechRadar that BlackBerry is seeing acceptable sales for BB7 devices, and the company isn't looking to force them onto BB10 just yet:
"In enterprise the BB7 portfolio is the workhorse device; government, financial institutions… these guys are continuing to purchase BB7," revealed Orr. "And in the prepaid space we had a very successful run for Christmas."
"It was important for us to show that we're not giving up on BB7," added Bates. "We launched BBM voice and it connects into the BB10 world where we've added video and screen sharing."
It seems odd that BlackBerry doesn't want to bring a cheaper phone running its 'phoenix' OS to the market as soon as possible, instead choosing to stagger it over time as it phases out, rather than kills, its older platform.
Whether we'll see new Curve devices remains to be seen – but if so, it will send out a statement of intent to those that have recently bought BB7 devices that it isn't giving up on existing customers, which can only be a positive thing.
These quotes form part of our in-depth interview with key members of the BlackBerry board – stay tuned to see the full piece coming soon.