BlackBerry launches low-cost "Jakarta Edition" smartphone aimed exclusively at Indonesia

  • @jjvincent

BlackBerry has launched a new low-cost phone aimed “exclusively” at Indonesia, one of the few countries where it still holds a significant portion of the market.

The struggling smartphone company’s new Z3 is the first handset released since chief executive John Chen took charge and is expected to makes its way to other emerging markets in the near future.

BlackBerry is confident that the so-called “Jakarta Edition” will be a success with social-media savvy users in south-east Asia’s top economy.

The handset features a five-inch touchscreen and retails for $200.  BlackBerry’s BBM messaging service (still popular in the country) is already installed and features custom content based around local cartoon characters.

“There is still momentum behind the BlackBerry brand in Indonesia and this product will deliver something that should resonate with consumers there," said a spokesperson.

The handset is also the first to be launched by the company after it signed a five-year deal with Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer who make electronics for many tech companies including Apple.

The deal will allow the company, which reported a loss of $423 million in the quarter ending March 2014, to concentrate solely on software and services.

In 2011 BlackBerry enjoyed a market share of more than 40 per cent in Indonesia, but this figure dropped to 14 per cent in 2013 according to figures released by analysts IDC.