Shoppers in the Emirates were the first in the world yesterday to get their hands on the BlackBerry Q5, a “youthful” smartphone that at Dh1,499 costs significantly less than its other recent releases. The phone is available exclusively at the smartphone maker’s new outlet in Dubai Mall, its first stand-alone store in the region. It will be available to pre-order in other stores in the Emirates today and is expected to be delivered to retailers by the end of the month.
“We have had a lot of excellent things happening in the retail environment in the UAE and we believe that it is time to open up our BlackBerry retail concept store,” said Chris Corsi, country director for the UAE, Oman, and Pakistan.
“In the store we will be able to show consumers the full experience of the BlackBerry devices and they will be able to come in, upgrade to new software and do data transfers etc.” Mr Corsi declined to comment on the company’s market share, but said it was among the top 10 smartphones in the region.
“We have had an excellent launch of the Z10 and recently the Q10,” he said. However, not everyone is as cheerful about the phones’ prospects. “The initial enthusiasm that we observed for Blackberry 10 devices now appears to be waning,” wrote Pierre Ferragu of Bernstein Research in a note to clients this week.
BlackBerry shares fell 4 per cent on Wednesday after the analyst cut his rating in anticipation of disappointing results in the company’s quarterly earnings release next week.
The Q5, which comes in three colours – white, red and black – will appeal to a wide range of consumers, said Mr Corsi, particularly young people and small businesses.
“You get pretty much the same features [as the Z10 and Q10],” he added. “Obviously the size of camera is a little bit different but it is a different price point and we have worked on the product to reach that price point. But I wouldn’t say you get less on a Q5 than you do on a Q10. It’s a different type of smartphone.”