Optiemus Infracom, which makes BlackBerry phones for the Indian market, expects the brand to capture 10-12% market share of the Rs 25,000-45,000 smartphone segment by the end of this year. Optiemus is lining up new devices across various price points for Blackberry as the brand looks to regain lost ground against rivals like Samsung, Xiaomi and others. Currently, the market share of Blackberry is negligible. As part of the same, the company has today launched two new smartphones, dubbed as BlackBerry Evolve and Evolve X in India. “We have already introduced three devices in the last two months and the pipeline for new products is robust. We expect to capture 10-12% share of the Rs 25,000-45,000 segment,” Optiemus Infracom Executive Director Hardip Singh told PTI.
BSE-listed Optiemus Infracom has a manufacturing and distribution tie-up with BlackBerry for India and neighbouring markets. BlackBerry had a similar partnership with TCL for other markets.
“The relevance of a Blackberry is much, much more today than it was ten years back because today you are doing more than just communicating, especially the youngsters, they use phones for social networking, banking, personal data, photographs,” he explained. Singh emphasised that the need to keep all this data private and secure is much more now.
He said the company has conceptualised, designed and manufactured its latest Evolve and Evolve X devices in India, keeping in mind the young audiences and the features they seek.
“These devices have features of a flagship at an affordable price and come with the security features that is synonymous with BlackBerry,” he said.
Once a dominant player in the smartphone category, BlackBerry struggled to compete against global competitors like Samsung and Apple. It, then, agreed to license its brand to handset manufacturer, TCL and Optiemus, shifting its gaze to software, security and Internet of Things.
BlackBerry has taken a number of steps, including adopting the Android platform for powering its phones in attempts to recapture its position.
India is one of the largest smartphone markets globally. Samsung and Xiaomi dominate the Indian market, while players like Vivo and Oppo also have a strong market share.
BlackBerry Senior VP and General Manager Mobility Solutions Alex Thurber said the company is engaging with consumers across social media and other platforms to emphasise the need for privacy and security of data on mobile phones.
He added that the team engaged closely with Optiemus in designing the two handsets unveiled today.
BlackBerry Evolve and BlackBerry Evolve X, will be available for sale by August-end, and mid-September, respectively. Both the new Android devices have been designed and manufactured in Optiemus’ manufacturing facility in Noida. Evolve, priced at Rs 24,990, also has a face unlock feature. The BlackBerry Evolve X comes with a Rs 34,990 tag.
Smartphones priced Rs 30,000 and above are considered as the premium category, grew by 19% in the June quarter of 2018 compared to the year-ago period, according to Counterpoint Research. OnePlus, Samsung and Apple contributed to 88% of the premium handset market in the said quarter.
While the report did not disclose the number of devices shipped, market experts estimate that quarterly smartphone shipments range between 1-1.5 million units. BlackBerry also launched the KEY2 smartphone in India at Rs 42,990.