BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins recently said that his company does not have any interest in selling devices in the $50 range. We’re a bit shocked, mainly because the company already does sell handsets priced well below that mark. They are, admittedly, the company’s older BlackBerry 7 devices. Still — Heins has reiterated his intentions to compete aggressively in emerging markets, such as China, where competing handsets are often sold well below that price point.
“Understand where you are playing and resist being talked into segments that you know will not serve your purpose and will not result in shareholder value,” Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins explained to Bloomberg. “You will not see us getting into the 50-, 60-buck phone segment. This is not BlackBerry.”
Au contraire. Sprint has two BlackBerry devices selling at $19.99 and $0 with a contract, AT&T is selling three devices under $30, Verizon has one priced at $49.99 and T-Mobile is selling one under $50, too. I understand that those are with a contract, so perhaps Heins specifically means that he won’t be selling unlocked, contract-free devices at that price point.
I think, perhaps, Heins’ statements are a bit misleading. BlackBerry may not sell unsubsidized phones at the $50 price point. In fact, the company’s Z10 costs about $800 in India unlocked. But we’re wondering how BlackBerry plans to make its big emerging market push without selling low-cost devices.