Blackberry seemed to have lived its days as a smartphone. With the recent bid by Fairfax of 4.7 billion dollars the smartphone maker is going private. There was a time when Blackberry phones was a rage among youth in India, with time this smartphone maker lost its sheen.
Let’s have a look at the rise and fall of Blackberry Phones in India-
1999– First device launched titled- Blackberry 850. Served as a two-way pager.
2003– The first Blackberry mobile was released. It was one of its kind convergent devices.
2004– Blackberry started operations in India by partnering with Airtel as its service provider. The devices that were launched initially were called- Blackberry 7730, Blackberry 7230 and Blackberry 6230. The price ranged from 17k-32k. The popular instant messaging service, namely the Blackberry Messenger also started functioning with these devices.
2009 – Post-paid plans for BlackBerry Internet Services average Rs 1,200 a month. BlackBerry launches Curve 8520 at Rs 14,990. The market then was mostly made up of business professionals, who constantly have to check mails.
2011– Facing competition from the new Android market, Blackberry slashes the rate of Blackberry Curve to Rs 9,990. Students buy smartphones to “BBM” friends.
2012– BlackBerry BBM plan available for Rs 129 a month. Pre-paid users can access the plan for just Rs 5 a day. A major shift of users occurs from corporate employees to youngsters.
Fact- As per statistics there were 40 million Blackberry users in the world, out of which 1.1 are Indians.
Blackberry was a master smartphone maker for two main reasons. One, it had pioneered the setup of email on your phone, which was a great tool for working professionals who found it extremely user friendly. Secondly, Blackberry was the first smartphone to introduce instant messaging in-built in your smartphone.
Popular Ad Campaigns-
– We’re the Blackberry Boys
Blackberry was initially hailed as a business phone, for it had features which were said to be useful for business who need a BBM and email to function. Some corporations started handing out Blackberry devices to their employees to work in the company.
This ad’s tone was on everybody’s mouth when it was launched in India- “We’re the Blackberry Boys oh yeah, we’re the Blackberry boys…We’re special, we’re clever we are very very clever”
– They’re the Blackberry Boys
With a re positioning of their target audience from working professionals to the younger lot of Indian consumer, Blackberry changed tactics and employed a great advertising strategy to include their new target audience. The ad shows the earlier corporate looking Blackberry boys changing to the younger generation and the former sadly singing on their lost exclusivity of being the ‘only’ Blackberry boys.
- With the coming of Apple iPhone and Android, Blackberry seemed to be losing its hold as its market share plummeted.
- Blackberry outage occurred in October 2011, which suspended messaging and browsing services for three days in Europe, India, Middle-East and other regions.
2013– Blackberry launched new devices like the Z10, and an advanced operating system to win back its customers. But the road was far tougher for the company than imagined.
From being the top-most smartphone maker and ruling over markets to coming to a point of shutdown the Blackberry story in India has seen its ups- and downs quite vividly.
Do you think Blackberry can make a comeback?