News Column

Blackberry Eyes N245b Nigeria's Smartphone Market

July 18, 2014

Adeyemi Adepetun and Bankole Orimisan

THE robustness of the Nigerian smartphone market came to the fore Thursday, with the declaration by the Canadian phone maker, Blackberry that it was targeting it for a rebound and profitability by 2016.

Already, the Nigerian smartphone market is estimated to worth N245 billion, with a declaration that over 10 million smart devices worth $1 billion (N167 billion) were sold in the country in 2013.

According to Global Research Market, TNS, in 2013, 25 per cent of the about 116 million mobile subscribers then used smartphones.

Indeed, Territory Director, East, West, Central and Southern Africa, Blackberry, Charles Asinugo, disclosed the firm's focus, while unveiling the company's latest smartphone, Blackberry Z3.

He said: "We're putting lot of strategies in place to bounce back to growth and profitability by 2016. For now, we are focusing more on Nigeria because the market is critical to our rebound. We are also focusing on our core competence of security and enterprise solutions and applications.

"Nigerian market is one of the strategic markets for Blackberry and hopefully, we look onto Nigeria to contribute to returning us to profitability and we also have greater potential for app development on our BB in Nigeria."

According to him, part of the strategies, also include that the Canadian company is targeting the lower segment of the market, saying the plan has informed the introduction of Z3, which, he said, is meant to replace the very high-end Z10.

"Z10 is at its end of life. In the next few months, you may not actually get to see Z10 in the market again because it is reaching its end of life. We thought that that by introducing Z3, it will create potential danger to Z10 market and that is why decided that Z3, which offers almost same experience with Z10 be introduce to replace Z10 in the market. It is also part of our strategy to focus more on the lower segment of the market in terms of pricing, yet with the same great experience."

In addition, Asinugo stated that Blackberry was re-strategising and restructuring, as well as streamlining its resources where necessary. "We are going into enterprise and security solutions also and this one are where we have core competence in terms of secure communications," he said.

Recalled that, the Canadian phone maker had been faced with several challenges, which resulted in continuous revenue losses for the past two years. The downturn also led to the release of its unique messing apps, the BBM to Androids and iPhone users.

Due to the crisis, in September 2013, the firm was reported to have axed about 4500 jobs, after reporting about $955 million losses.

Meanwhile, the new BlackBerry Z3 smartphone introduced into the Nigerian market is expected to retail through authorized partners at the recommended price of N39, 000.

"Consumers who purchase a BlackBerry Z3 smartphone in July can also benefit from an exclusive app offer. They simply have to login into the BlackBerry World storefront from their BlackBerry Z3 smartphone and download a selection of paid apps - worth is N8, 000 - for free," Asinugo said.

The BlackBerry Z3 extends the BlackBerry 10 platform to a new generation of customers in Nigeria at an attractive price point and offers them more ways to securely communicate, collaborate and be productive with an experience built on reliable, secure communications.

The BlackBerry Z3 features a stylish design with a 5" touch display, an unrivalled messaging and typing experience, exceptional battery life, is equipped with BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2.1 and is Android app compatible.

Other key features of the device are BlackBerry Hub, the ever-present BlackBerry Hub lets you access all your work and personal email, BBM, text messages, social media updates and notifications in one place, with the ability to "peek" into the BlackBerry Hub from anywhere, so user is always only one swipe away from what matters to him or her.

The Hub can be customized to identify priority messages and to filter the message list by various criteria that you can then activate with a simple pinch gesture.

BBM on the BlackBerry Z3 includes all the latest features of the popular mobile social network. User also get BBM voice and video chatting with Screen Share and support for BlackBerry Natural Sound, letting them hear nuances and variations in tone in a BBM Voice chat, and making the conversation sound like they are in the same room.

Other features include the BlackBerry keyboard, which learns what words user uses and how he or she uses them; Time Shift & Story Maker, which lets user capture a group shot where everyone is smiling with their eyes wide open; BlackBerry 10 Browser; Instant Previews & Reply Now; FM Radio; App World and Fast, Easy Sharing capability, among others.

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: AllAfrica

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