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In Asia, BlackBerry’s RIM sees a glimmer of hope
It's a strategy the Canadian company hopes will help fill both a hole in its balance sheet and a half-year wait for its next big thing - the BlackBerry 10 platform.
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JAKARTA - The launch in India of a new BlackBerry by Research In Motion Ltd is not just a nod to its lower-end users who love it less for its security, push email and seamless roaming than for its simplicity and its Messaging.

It's a strategy the Canadian company hopes will help fill both a hole in its balance sheet and a half-year wait for its next big thing - the BlackBerry 10 platform.

But will it work?

The handset itself won't impress devotees: its main selling point is a dedicated side button that lets users chat over its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and a built-in FM radio, which lower-end Nokia phones have had for a decade. It works only on the slower 2G networks, and the camera isn't that great. But, RIM says, that's the point.

RIM calls it a parallel approach: building the high-end next generation platform and devices, while coming up with cheaper phones that can prod some of the vast majority of its users to trade up.

"We're really trying to build on and help those people who are moving from feature phone to smartphone. We believe we can be successful in that," Patrick Spence, RIM's global sales chief, said in a telephone interview.

It's a smart move, some analysts believe, given RIM's position. Adam Leach, principal analyst at research company Ovum, said there is a misperception that RIM's bruising experience in North America will be repeated elsewhere.

RIM's strength, he said, is being able to offer lower-end users a better experience on a slow connection than the equivalent Android handset.

 

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