Z3 in SA: BlackBerry’s elixir?

There’s a lot riding on the Z3, BlackBerry’s new smartphone for price-conscious consumers. A hot seller in Indonesia, BlackBerry is now introducing the device in South Africa, a market where its brand is still relatively strong. By Regardt van der Berg.

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BlackBerry has launched its latest smartphone in South Africa. Called the Z3, the 5-inch touch-screen device is aimed mainly at price-conscious prepaid users and will cost about R3 000.

“We have already launched the Z3 in Indonesia and we don’t have any stock left in that country,” says BlackBerry MD Yudi Moodley. South Africa was the next natural market to launch the Z3.

The phone will be available on Vodacom’s Smart S plan at R249/month from mid-July, offering 75 minutes of talktime and 200MB of data plus 20 apps from the BlackBerry World store worth R430. The Z3 will come to other South African network operators next month.

Moodley says BlackBerry plans to launch the Z3 in other African markets, but declined to say when this will happen ahead of announcement next week.

The Z3 runs the BlackBerry 10 operating system and features Android application compatibility. It also has access to Amazon’s app store. Users will not, however, be able to access Google’s Play store.

Yudi Moodley

Yudi Moodley

The phone has an FM radio — a crucial feature for success in the prepaid space in South Africa. There’s a 5-megapixel camera (1,1-megapixel front-facing) and 8GB of internal storage, too. The 3G device has a 1,2GHz dual-core processor and a 2 500mAh non-removable battery. The screen resolution is 960×540 pixels for a pixel density of 220ppi.

When the Z3, which was designed specifically for the Indonesian market and built by China’s Foxconn, was launched in the Southeast Asian country, it sold out on its first day, although stocks were reportedly fairly limited.

BlackBerry is no doubt hoping the Z3 will help the company defend its market share in South Africa, one of the emerging markets — along with Indonesia, Nigeria, Mexico and others — where the brand still enjoys good loyalty among consumers.  — © 2014 NewsCentral Media

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