BlackBerry releases its entry level Android-enabled Z3 in the Middle East this July, in direct competition with Microsoft’s new Lumia 635.
“We launched the BlackBerry Z3 Jakarta Edition in Indonesia on May 13. We have been pleased with the success to date and that has encouraged us to roll it out to eight more countries, including those in the Middle East. With the BlackBerry Z3 launch, we are pleased to extend the BlackBerry 10 platform experience to a new generation of customers in the region at an attractive price point,” says Mike Al Mefleh, director of product management, BlackBerry Middle East.
The most interesting feature the Z3 offers is Android app compatibility, which opens up BlackBerry users to one of tJulyhe largest collections of apps available on the market through the Google Play store.
Similarly, Microsoft offers almost the same option on its Lumia 635 device, but with a different approach on app development. Microsoft is keen to work with developers and companies to create Windows mobile apps, instead of acquiring the Android catalogue, which would mean opening its OS to Google, its biggest competitor.
The BlackBerry Z3 will be available in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in July, followed by Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait later this summer. The launch follows a successful trial in Indonesia earlier this year, with more models to follow.
“After BlackBerry Jakarta, we are again working on the latest BlackBerry with three or four new devices. Yes, they will have a keyboard, but one of them is [all-touch],” says John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry.
In a recent interview with AME’s sister publication, Aficionado, Nick Horton, BlackBerry’s Middle East managing director, confirmed the release of these new devices, which will be named The BlackBerry Classic line in the region.
While it may seem that both manufacturers are in direct competition and targeting the same audience with entry level offerings, Microsoft is collaborating more closely with BlackBerry, in contrast with its rivalry with Google, to release other Microsoft devices preloaded with BBM, the secure instant messaging platform that BlackBerry is famous for.