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BlackBerry Unveils Budget-Friendly Phone

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In an attempt to revive its sinking demand for handsets in emerging markets, Canadian handset manufacturer BlackBerry Limited revealed the budget-friendly, full-touch Z3 smartphone in Jakarta.

The device will be initially made available to customers in Indonesia effective May 15, 2014. Subsequently, it will be launched in the other countries as well.

The Z3 will debut in the market for less than $200. After a steep decline in the sales of BlackBerry handsets over the last two years, the expected success of this budget friendly phone may outline the future of the company’s handset business.

BlackBerry was once the top-selling mobile phone brand in Indonesia. According to International Data Corporation, the company enjoyed a robust 40% market share a couple of years back in Indonesia. Eventually, BlackBerry fell on troubled times with the market share in Indonesia dropping to 4%. The company is now banking on Z3 and other pipeline products to help regain its lost market share.

BlackBerry is also planning to launch a new non-touch screen mobile phone – BlackBerry Classic – in partnership with Foxconn. BlackBerry was once a leader in the smartphone industry. However, its handset business deteriorated drastically over the last couple of years in the face of stiff competition from Apple Inc.’s (AAPL - Free Report) iPhone and Google Inc.’s Android devices.

We believe the introduction of new budget-friendly handsets in emerging markets like Indonesia will help the company to increase its market share.

Last month, BlackBerry revealed that it is now working with NantHealth to develop a smartphone that will cater to the needs of the healthcare sector. This special smartphone is expected to be launched by the end of this year or the beginning of 2015. This device will help doctors access immediate information about patients’ health directly from observing equipment apart from sharing patient information with other medical professionals and consulting diagnostic and treatment resources in top global institutions.

BlackBerry currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Polycom, Inc. , with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is a better-ranked stock worth considering in the wireless industry.

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