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BlackBerry to launch cheaper BlackBerry 10 smartphone this summer

'Mid-range' BlackBerry 10 phone to launch this summer

BlackBerry 10 launch

BlackBerry is going to release a cheaper BlackBerry 10 handset, it revealed today. (See also: BlackBerry ships about 1 million Z10s in move to profit.)

During its earnings call today BlackBerry revealed that it is working on a less expensive, 'mid-range' BlackBerry 10 smartphone. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said during a conference call presenting the results that he expected to launch a mid-range BlackBerry 10 device in the summer, and that the company expected it to prove popular.

"The midrange BB10, expect that kind of around fiscal midyear in various markets... We are looking forward to that because we know there is a big demand," Heins said. BlackBerry's financial year runs from March to March, so 'mid fiscal year' would be late summer.

A critical time for BlackBerry

This is a critical time for BlackBerry, formally RIM. The company launched its BlackBerry 10 platform with great fanfare in late January, hoping to claw back market share after several years of decline. The BlackBerry Z10 handset launched in the UK and some other markets, with the Q10 due to follow.

BlackBerry today announced that it shipped about 1 million BlackBerry Z10 smartphones in the first two months that it was on sale. The company made a profit during its final quarter - and that before the Z10 went on sale in the key US market. But BlackBerry's total user base continued to decline, with the company losing 3 million subscribers over the period.

Speaking about BlackBerry's figures, Geoff Blaber from CCS Insight said: "The Z10 hasn't been on the market for the full quarter [and] the US launch isn't reflected in the results. Also, the Z10 is just one in what will be a long line of products in 2013." See also: BlackBerry 10 Price in UK: Q10 & Z10.

Based on original reporting from Mikael Ricknas. Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com


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