Not too long ago, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) was the top brand when it came to mobile devices. In fact, several major corporations gave out BlackBerry devices to their management division as they practically functioned like ‘mini laptops’. This allowed their employees to work even if they were away from their desks.
However, the times have certainly changed. Even the most loyal customers of BlackBerry have now turned to the more popular brands like Apple and Samsung. The past few years have been tough for the Canadian-based smartphone maker as their sales have nosedived. Despite all this, BlackBerry is still fighting to stay alive.
The embattled company recently announced that it will return to the South Korean market by debuting its first Android-based smartphone called BlackBerry Priv at a launch event on September 20 in Seoul, South Korea. This will be the first product that the company will offer in South Korea since it left the local market three years ago.
The BlackBerry Priv is currently the primary handset model offered by the firm. It was launched in the United States in November 2015. It comes with a 5.4-inch Quad HD display and a Snapdragon 808 process. The phone is equipped with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB internal memory. Fans of BlackBerry will love how the phone will have the company’s signature full QWERTY Keyboard.
Previously known as Research in Motion, BlackBerry entered the South Korean smartphone market in 2009. It dominated for a while but had to pull out by 2012 because of its poor sales performance. Other companies like Nokia, Motorola, and HTC also had to leave the market in the same year as the consumers preferred other brand names.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the only foreign brand that seemed to catch the attention of the consumers. The biggest players were LG and Samsung, both of which were local labels. Samsung had the strongest relationship with local distributors leading to its 70% market share. Apple only had 10% and that shows just how low the other brands were faring.
Nowadays, BlackBerry is ready to try its hand again in the Korean Market. The times are changing once again. Gone is the time when consumers blindly followed the popular product names even if they had to spend more than they could afford. More cost-friendly smartphones are available these days and the features are not that bad. Other foreign companies are also gearing up to launch their own smartphones in South Korea soon.
Sony started offering the Xperia X just this June. The company did not leave the Korean market but it stopped releasing smartphones in the country. Last week, China’s Huawei released a new more inexpensive version of the P9 lite, the Be Y. This just shows that the Korean customers are beginning to expand their options when it comes to smartphones. They want variation and if they could get it a lower cost, it would be better.
A representative from BlackBerry confirmed that the company still has no plans putting up new regional offices like it did in the past.