BlackBerry Curve 9220 looks to a new audience

RIM, the maker of the BlackBerry handset, hopes young Indian consumers will snap up the BlackBerry Curve 9220, a relatively inexpensive BlackBerry handset. 

In trouble in the US, RIM is looking to expand into the Indian market. Here, the RIM headquarters in Waterloo, Canada.

Long since outstripped in North America by Android and Apple, Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, is launching a new, low-end smartphone in the Indian market. The handset, dubbed the Curve 9220, is not exactly packed with firepower – an FM radio and the BlackBerry 7.1 OS is about as good as it gets – but RIM is betting that the Curve will be a success, especially among teenage and twenty-something users. 

"The new BlackBerry Curve 9220 offers a unique mobile experience that young Indians will love thanks to its affordable pricing and unmatched messaging and social connectivity features," Sunil Dutt, Managing Director for India at RIM, said in a statement this week. Dutt pointed specifically to the BBM messaging system and Facebook and Twitter apps. 

RIM, of course, is several months away from the launch of the BlackBerry 10 OS, which the company hopes will prevent the BlackBerry platform from losing more market share to competitors such as the iPhone. (Back in late March, RIM revealed that during Q4 of last year, revenue plummeted 19 percent to $4.2 billion, global sales dropped 21 percent to 11.1 million units, and RIM lost $125 million.) 

So will the Curve 9220 be enough to hold over RIM until BlackBerry 10 arrives?

Well, maybe, some observers say. RIM's "success in Indonesia shows they have other attributes and capabilities in the BlackBerry platform globally that appeal to different markets rather than just the high-end, mature markets (like North America and Western Europe)," Adam Leach, principal analyst at research company Ovum, recently told Reuters.

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