By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 25, 2013 12:42 PM EST
BlackBerry is starting to sell its Z10 handset in India on Tuesday, Feb. 26, before the phone becomes available in the U.S.
The company formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM) announced on Monday, Feb. 25, that the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone will launch in India with a 43,490 rupees price tag, or roughly $800.
The BlackBerry Z10 handset is paramount for the company's efforts to revive sluggish sales after posting three losses in four quarters. Once at the top, BlackBerry faced stiff competition from rivals such as Samsung and Apple, and fell far behind.
On the other hand, while the U.S. is BlackBerry's biggest source of revenue, the new Z10 handset will not reach the States until March. The delay faces serious criticism, as the handset already launched in other parts of the world, including the UK, Canada and now India.
BlackBerry has managed to keep a higher market share in India than in other countries due to the popularity of its messenger services and lower prices compared to Apple and Samsung products, explains Singapore-based IDC analyst Kiranjeet Kaur, as noted by Bloomberg. In fact, according to IDC, India accounts for as much as 20 percent of BlackBerry's Asia-Pacific sales.
BlackBerry's most popular handsets in the South Asian nation are part of the Curve series, and cost as little as 9,990 rupees. The BlackBerry Z10 costs considerably more than those budget-friendly devices, but smartphone sales in India could increase nearly 50 percent this year to $4 billion. By 2016, the figure could exceed $7 billion, forecasts IDC.
Rising smartphone sales stem from improved wireless networks and economic growth, and BlackBerry is not the only one who wants to take advantage. Samsung and Apple have boosted their presence in India as well, as competition seems to be heating up globally.
The BlackBerry Z10 launch in India will take place in Mumbai, and comes less than a month after the handset's global unveiling in New York on Jan. 30. The company's Q10 QWERTY model, meanwhile, will reach India in April.
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