BlackBerry Z10 Poised for AT&T Release as RIM Ponders Low-Cost Strategy

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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**Editor's Note: Click here  for our list of November's hottest selling smartphones to see how BlackBerry fared against the competition.**

The BlackBerry Z10 – one of the smartphones that Research In Motion hopes will help it return to handset glory – appears poised to debut when the BlackBerry 10 operating system launches on Jan. 30. A device that Engadget believes might be the Z10 has just received clearance from the FCC for AT&T's LTE and GSM networks; it reportedly is ready to go internationally as well.

RIM's BlackBerry, long a staple in the enterprise market, has watched its popularity fade in dramatic fashion in recent years as Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system have overtaken it. Even more dramatic has been RIM's fall among general consumers, where it is languishing far, far behind nearly a dozen other manufacturers. But RIM's stock has seen a bit of a resurgence of late as wireless carriers have given positive reviews for the company's new operating system.

The key to the company's success might be best to expand on its low-cost strategy and follow the lead of its chief competitors, who offer high-end and low-end devices. RIM is still strong in many international regions, but they are emerging markets such as South Africa; it's been weakest in North America and Europe.

“RIM has a low-cost strategy. Once the BB10 devices are introduced, all BB7 devices will slide down the price scale to meet different economic expectations," noted Wally Swain, Yankee Group senior VP of research, commenting on a BGR article. " This is the strategy Apple has successfully employed, keeping two or three devices in play with former flagships becoming tomorrow’s entry-level devices."

Don't look for low-end BB10 phones anytime soon, Swain says, if the new operating system isn't successful.

"There could eventually be purpose-built, entry-level BB10 devices, but that will need success at the high end to build volume with parts suppliers. It will also take R&D to see what corners can be cut to maintain the experience with lower-spec components," the researcher said. "So for the first year at least, the entry level device will be BB7, then later it will be one of the devices we expect to see launched in January as the company’s flagship."

Follow editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter @Craig_Galbraith .

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