Muted response for BlackBerry’s budget handset in Indonesia

A sales assistant holds the a BlackBerry smartphone for a photograph during the consumer launch of the device at the Central Park Mall in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo - Bloomberg News

Jakarta: Only a few dozen Indonesians queued up on Friday to lay their hands on BlackBerry's new budget handset, in a lukewarm welcome that highlighted the smartphone maker's fading fortunes.

The Z3 — launched in one of Blackberry's last bastions — is a key test of whether the ailing Canadian company can regain ground lost in emerging markets to Apple's iPhone and devices using the Google Android operating system.

But only around 50 people queued up ahead of the phone going on sale in the main launch for customers at an upmarket shopping mall in west Jakarta.

It was a stark contrast to the huge crowds that flocked to previous launch events for BlackBerrys in Indonesia, underlining how the smartphone maker's popularity has declined even in a country regarded as one of its last strongholds.

Nevertheless there were still some die-hard fans at the event who were excited to get their hands on the new touchscreen phone, whose full name is "Z3, Jakarta Edition".

"I have high hopes for the Z3 with all its new features — the big screen, camera and (latest operating system)," said Nisma Mediyanti, 32.

"Hopefully it is as good, or even better than, the iPhone."

BlackBerry hopes thousands of devices will be sold at the event over the next three days, where the phone is being offered with a 400,000 rupiah ($35) discount from its original price of 2,199,000 rupiah.


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