Yesterday Nokia introduced its Asha 210, the entry level mobile phone is set to be released in the second quarter of this year. The device also plays along with the growing trend of smartphones with dedicated social buttons, by adding a dedicated WhatsApp button. In addition, the company also announced a partnership with WhatsApp that will offer the service free for all Asha 210 devices.
The ability for mobile device makers to maintain and hold emerging markets is important. BlackBerry like other mobile device makers, typically have a line of entry level smartphones that are both affordable and highly connected to social networks. The BlackBerry Curve series have been extremely successful in this department as they have been able to cater to consumers that want a smartphone, but do not want to spend a lot of money. The series was also a popular choice among enterprise consumers.
There still is a need for companies to produce smartphones that are both affordable, but still deliver on the apps and social needs of today's consumers. BlackBerry will need to address devices like the Asha 210 that target developing markets in the West.
An answer may come in the form of the recently leaked BlackBerry R-Series. The device deemed by some as the BB10 Curve, will have the latest BlackBerry 10 OS, but will be economized in the way of its hardware. Early information seems to suggest that the device will have 8GB internal storage, 1800mAh battery, reduced RAM, and an expected MSRP of around $300-$400 dollars without contract.
While those specifications far exceed those of the Asha 210, the $72 dollar price tag of Asha 210 makes it much more appealing to developing markets.