BlackBerry slashes Q5 price to Rs 19,990 as part of New Year offer

Following price drops for the BlackBerry Z10 and the Q10, the Canadian smartphone pioneer has slashed the price of its most affordable BlackBerry 10 device. The BlackBerry Q5 will now be priced at Rs 19,990 as part of a limited time New Year offer.

Launched in July 2013 for Rs 24,990, the Q5 was BlackBerry’s attempt to bring BB10 to the budget segment, even though it wasn’t really competing with low-cost Androids at that price range. As we found in our review, the performance of the phone was under par and it didn’t have much going for it in terms of user experience either. The touch and QWERTY combination is not exactly the right showcase for the OS, which already faced severe criticism for the lack of native apps.

BlackBerry says the offer is "in line with BlackBerry's commitment towards the Indian market and will help the brand to reach out to more potential customers", though there's a feeling, the company is preparing to launch newer models, which will replace the BB10 handsets released last year. A price cut to reduce inventory makes sense at this point, since it's nearly a year since the Z10 and Q10 were announced.

According to numbers released by international shipment tracker IDC for Q3 2013, BlackBerry sold a little over 68,000 units in the July-September quarter, a huge 55 percent decline over the preceding quarter and the same quarter in 2012. BlackBerry said IDC’s numbers are not a true reflection of the market state and that the company only had two smartphones that sold through the quarter – the Z10 and the Q10, the very phones that received a price cut earlier. So despite the price drop, not many people warmed up to BlackBerry’s offerings.

This makes it all the more unlikely that a similar strategy would work for the under-powered Q5, which has no major 'attractions' for someone looking for a new smartphone. Other similarly-priced smartphones run some version of Android, which dominates the market with a share of over 80 percent, and here there's a lot of choice for consumers.

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