BlackBerry announced on Friday that it will not be launching its two long-awaited BlackBerry 10 handsets in Japan. The company has concluded that owing to recent poor sales figures from the country, translating its latest operating system into Japanese is no longer worth the cost.
This week, the Wall Street Journal cited BlackBerry spokeswoman Amy McDowell as saying, “we are in the process of launching BlackBerry 10 globally in key markets and we are seeing positive demand for the BlackBerry Z10 in countries where it has already launched. Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time”. She added that BlackBerry would however continue to support its customers in Japan.
According to figures from Japan’s Nikkei Business Daily, BlackBerry used to have around 5% of the Japanese market for smartphones, but that figure has now dropped to 0.3%. In the six months up to September last year, the number of smartphones sold in Japan grew 40% to around 14m, but BlackBerry was thought to have sold less than 100,000 handsets.
If Japanese users want to choose BlackBerry they will have to settle for the older BlackBerry 7 OS, which the company reportedly still has plans to support in the country.
While BlackBerry helped create a culture of mobile users glued to smartphones nearly ten years ago, many of those customers have since moved on to phones made by Apple or Samsung; companies which have consistently outflanked the Canadian business.
It had been hoped that the new BlackBerry 10 would provide an opportunity to turnaround flagging fortunes following a disastrous few years during which BlackBerry suffered service blackouts in Europe and a global fall in sales. The new handsets have however fared better in launches in the UK and Canada, as reported in a statement released by BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins, “In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone. In fact, it was more than 50% better than any other launch day in our history in Canada…In the UK, we have seen close to three times our best performance ever for the first week of sales for a BlackBerry smartphone.” The markets await the results of this new venture.
Sources include: The Telegraph, Emirates 247, Pocket-Lint
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