Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.
At Mobile World Congress in February this year, beleaguered smartphone firm BlackBerry announced that it would be launching the Z3, codenamed ‘Jakarta,’ this year. Now it has revealed that the Z3 will go on sale on May 15, this Thursday, with a price tag of IDR 2,199,000 ($191).
The Z3 is built “exclusively” for Indonesia, with an emphasis on communication, in line with BlackBerry’s new focus on messaging especially with its standalone BlackBerry Messenger app on iOS and Android now too. With a five-inch display, BlackBerry claims that the Z3 offers the “best Bahasa typing experience on a touchscreen.”
BlackBerry is also touting exclusive content for Indonesian Z3 users, including a set of BBM stickers featuring local characters which will be free for them for a limited period of time. Z3 users will also get to join local BBM channels to receive updates from various brands and opinion leaders.
BlackBerry had always been a well-used smartphone brand in Indonesia, to the point that Android — which has been growing fast across Asia over the past several years — only overtook it as the most used platform in the country in September 2012.
However, BlackBerry has steadily declined in Indonesia, with signs of its dominance coming to a close evident since 2012. Reuters recently looked at BlackBerry’s decline in Indonesia, and concluded that among other factors, the company failed to price its devices at a cost that made them widely accessible to fans of the company in the country.
As a result, cheaper Android devices, coupled with cross-platform messaging apps like WhatsApp and Line, are filling the space that BlackBerry smartphones and its BBM messenger once occupied — which explains the impetus for BlackBerry to roll out a messaging-focused smartphone targeted at Indonesian users.
Headline image via Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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