BlackBerry Indonesia officially launched the BlackBerry Q5 to extend the BlackBerry 10 offering to the expanding mid-segment market.
Market observers, however, say that people have not been replacing their old BlackBerrys over the past few years.
BlackBerry Indonesia senior product manager Ardo Fadhola said the company was optimistic that the BlackBerry Q5 would perform well in the local market.
“The BlackBerry Q5 broadens the reach of the BlackBerry 10 operating system to the mid-segment through affordable pricing,” he said.
The BlackBerry Q5 carries a suggested retail price of almost Rp 4 million (US$372), whereas the BlackBerry Z10, the first model released with the BlackBerry 10 platform, initially cost more than Rp 7 million.
Ardo added that the mid-segment, along with entry-level models, had long been their sales backbone.
Market analysts have often pointed out that the mobile-phone market in Indonesia, a country whose gross domestic product (GDP) per capita will be an estimated $3,800 by the end of the year, is dominated by entry and mid-segment products.
BlackBerry Indonesia country manager Maspiyono Handoyo added that the early sales of the BlackBerry Q had exceeded expectations.
“Our early sales figures in the past three weeks are twice what we had forecast,” he said. “This is probably because people can experience the BlackBerry 10 platform but at more affordable prices.”
However, market estimates show that BlackBerry’s market share in Indonesia, in line with global trends, is ebbing. A study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) showed that toward the end of 2012, the market share of Android had widened to 52 percent, overtaking “BlackBerry as the most popular operating system in the country”.
The IDC also predicts that this year, Android will retain its leadership with a 53 percent market share, with BlackBerry holding 35 percent.
Distributors have started to exhibit signs that the demand for BlackBerry is abating.
PT Erajaya Swasembada (ERAA) spokesman Djatmiko Wardoyo said that although people were still using BlackBerrys, they were not actively replacing their old versions with new models as they used to.
Erajaya is a major distributor of mobile devices. Its subsidiary, PT Teletama Artha Mandiri (TAM), holds the license to import BlackBerrys into the country. This unit remains the main sales generator of its parent, earning Rp 5.9 trillion in the first half of 2013.
“People have begun shifting to Android, largely represented by Samsung,” Djatmiko said.