* Jakarta launch for Z3 touchscreen device for under $200
* Indonesia market share shrank to 4 pct from 40 pct -IDC
* Price-conscious buyers shunned last premium smartphone
(Adds rollout in other nations, CEO's hopes for device)
By Randy Fabi and Euan Rocha
JAKARTA/TORONTO, May 13 BlackBerry Ltd
launched a low-cost touchscreen device in Jakarta, the Z3, as
the embattled smartphone maker looks to revive sales in emerging
markets like Indonesia where its once-fervent following has
The handset, unveiled at a glitzy launch event in the
Indonesian capital on Tuesday, is the first in a line of devices
being made with FIH Mobile Ltd, a unit of the giant
Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group best known for assembling
gadgets like iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc.
The success of the handset retailing for less than $200
could well decide the outcome of both BlackBerry's tie-up with
the contract manufacturing giant and its own future in
smartphones. The Z3 Jakarta Edition will hit store shelves on
"If this device allows them to grow again, even
if it's just small, steady growth, that's a success in itself.
That says there is still room for BlackBerry in Indonesia," said
Ryan Lai, market analyst at consultancy IDC.
The Z3 is the first phone to be launched by BlackBerry since
new Chief Executive John Chen took the helm late last year.
After Indonesia it will be gradually introduced in six other
countries including the Philippines, India, Vietnam and
Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry hopes that the device and
others to follow will help it claw back some of the collapse in
its market share, ceded to Apple's iPhone and Samsung
Electronics Co's line of Galaxy devices powered by
Google Inc's Android operating system.
"If the market doesn't receive this product well, then we
definitely have some negative issues to deal with," Chen said at
the launch at Jakarta's Ritz-Carlton hotel. BlackBerry said it
doesn't have an official sales target for the device, but Chen
said he expects to sell millions of Z3 handsets around the
world, without disclosing further details.
FROM 40 PCT TO 4 PCT
Just two years ago, the Canadian firm had a 40 percent share
of the Indonesian market, shipping more than 600,000 handsets
per quarter in a country once known as "BlackBerry Nation".
But the launch of the premium, high-priced BlackBerry 10
last year failed to attract buyers in a country where nearly 40
percent of the population live on about $2 a day. The company's
market share has slumped to just 4 percent, with shipments of
around 100,000 devices in the first quarter this year, according
Indonesia is now dominated by Samsung, which sells about one
of every three smartphones in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Chen hopes that the Z3 and other devices to follow spark a
change in the company's fortunes. The Z3 is being launched at a
price point below $200 to address one of the big turnoffs for
consumers in emerging markets - BlackBerry 10 devices being too
"From conception to delivery, the BlackBerry Z3 Jakarta
Edition was designed specifically with our Indonesian customers
in mind," Chen said in a statement. The device will allow users
to type in Bahasa and come with a special set of BlackBerry
Messenger, or BBM Stickers featuring local characters.
Later this year, BlackBerry will launch a new,
non-touchscreen device dubbed the BlackBerry Classic in
partnership with Foxconn. The handset will see a return of the
command keys that include 'Menu,' 'Back,' 'Send' and 'End'
buttons, along with a trackpad. BlackBerry hopes the move will
address the concerns of those users who found their new devices
hard to navigate.
For Foxconn, the tie-up fits with plans to set up a
manufacturing plant in Indonesia to build smartphones and other
electronic devices. The Taiwanese company's ambitions have been
on hold since 2012 due to drawn-out talks over tax breaks,
property and import restrictions.
(Reporting by Randy Fabi in JAKARTA and Euan Rocha in TORONTO;
Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)