There are, essentially, two ways to sell new technologies in a new market. The first is to create a device that is entirely indispensible. Creating a product that consumers feel they absolutely need is a great way to sell millions of units of a product. The other way to sell new technologies in an emerging market is to reduce prices to move inventory. It is that approach that Research In Motion is taking in India.
Research In Motion has been struggling in the crowded, tech-savvy U.S. and Japanese markets. However, India is emerging as a smartphone market. Indian consumers are deeply interested in the functions and style of owning a smartphone, but the country also has a great disparity between those with money and those who are impoverished. The level of poverty in India makes it less than ideal for expensive Apple products, like the iPhone. RIM realized that the Indian marketplace was ideal for its BlackBerry line!
Now, the BlackBerry Curve 9220 is being sold in India for just under eleven thousand rupees (about $210 in U.S. dollars). As RIM works to boost sales of its more advanced models elsewhere in the world, selling the Curve 9220 in India is a smart move on several levels. First, the 2G handset offers more features than many smartphones in India right now. In addition to having a keyboard for texting and a dedicated BlackBerry Messenger button, the Curve 9220 has a radio and camera function. With seven hours of talk time, the BlackBerry Curve 9220 also fits the active lifestyle of India today.
RIM has the right idea with introducing the less-advanced BlackBerry models to the Indian market. In addition to providing an affordable smartphone to a marketplace that is not yet as dependent upon more advanced features and services, Research In Motion is building product familiarity. The hope the company has is that as RIM produces more advanced BlackBerry products and can afford to offer them at lower prices, the Indian market will welcome them. While keeping up with the 4G and feature races elsewhere in the world is becoming a real drag on research and development, RIM is helping to define the smartphone race in India with the BlackBerry Curve 9220.
By entering the Indian market with the BlackBerry Curve 9220, Research In Motion is doing more than simply selling off its inventory of smartphones from which the rest of the world has upgraded; they are making a valuable new customer base!
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