BlackBerry India's Sunil Lalvani speaks on security, Z3 launch, and QNX in India

By Bla1ze on 27 Jun 2014 03:19 am EDT
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Sunil Lalvani, Managing Director, BlackBerry India has had a busy week with the launch of the BlackBerry Z3 in India. As part of that process he's been speaking with several Indian news outlets about the launch, the landscape for BlackBerry in India, and what the company is focusing on. The Economic Times India sat down with the Managing Director for a pretty awesome interview.

As part of the interview, Sunil covers BlackBerry's record of security noting 'BlackBerry hasn't had a single vulnerability exposed on its network', device pricing in India, and how Enterprises in India are adopting BlackBerry. Also discussed, how BlackBerry is in talks with 'a leading Indian car manufacturer' to further expand QNX in India.

At Rs 15,990, Z3 in India is priced higher than in Indonesia?

In Indonesia, the price comes close to Rs 12,000 owing to carrier subsidy. In India, we have the VAT (value-added tax) and the customs duty structure, which together have pushed the price up. We are taking it through the retail and the e-commerce channel in India. Our retail partner and e-commerce partner, The Mobile Store as well as Flipkart have come up with a cash back offer/ voucher of Rs 1,000 on Z3 if you book the product between now and the launch.

How is the enterprise segment looking for you in India?

A plethora of low cost devices has allowed enterprises to open up to the bring your own devices concept which in effect reduces capex burden on companies. However, many companies are getting paranoid about data security, especially law firms and financial services. This is where BlackBerry's strength in data security and privacy comes into play. BlackBerry hasn't had a single vulnerability exposed on its network. In India, we have over a 1,000 firms with these servers installed with corporates.

Any plans to bring QNX to India?

Yes, absolutely. QNX powers 60% of automobile in North America. It is an embedded software in the vehicle. It talks to the car, proactively does an analysis and sends information back to the server of the vehicle manufacturer, so it can rectify it in the next batch of cars. We are in negotiation with a leading Indian car manufacturer to implement this solution.

That's just a portion of the comments given in the interview. Additionally, Lalvani addresses questions about competition in the market, whether BlackBerry will release a sub $100 device, and how BlackBerry remains a differentiated product in the market based on whom exactly they're looking to attract to the platform. You can head on over to the source link to read through the full interview.

Reader comments

BlackBerry India's Sunil Lalvani speaks on security, Z3 launch, and QNX in India

77 Comments

The rumored "Manitoba" model appears to actually be an LTE Z3.

Low-end, but still with that 5" screen and decent battery. My work will probably start issuing them in place of Z10s.

Did anyone ask why the Z3 still isn't available in North America? The people who didn't want to fork out $800 for a BlackBerry in NA would probably buy this device. BB is still big in developing countries so a high end device would make sense there. The cheaper device needs to come out in NA to help prevent the market share from slipping into non-existence. If the Classic and Passport come out for more than $500-$600 in NA it's all over.

In North America phones are subsidized by the carriers so the passport and classic will never cost a user the amount of money you mention.

Posted via CB10

Maybe make it cheaper so that it's cheaper with the subsidy, maybe in the $100 range instead of $199. That would make a lot of difference to some people in stores

Posted via CB10

My bet is that we'll see the exact same off-contract pricing over the last 5 years for these new devices. The passport will probably go for $699 off contract. Hell, the Q10 today is still selling for $699 at Robbers and I paid that for a 7130e back in the day... crazy

Pretty expensive... so people who care about the OS might buy it.. people who care about price, not.

Z10STL100-2/10.3.1.027

What's your take? Honest estimate...

Do you think this thing can be manufactured, distributed and supported with warranty for under $100, and still make a profit? I think this is stretching it a bit, given the build quality. Also, for brand perception, they might not want to go that low. If you expect, once BBRY sales pick up and the brand becomes more desirable again, this might not be a good move.

Well, Mozilla have just presented their $25 dollar emerging markets phone. Very low-specced, but it's a smartphone (with HTML5-based apps).

Pasted via CB chen

I agree. BlackBerry doesn't necessarily need play in this space. I don't ever expect BlackBerry to release a sub 100 dollar phone. Their business model just isn't set up for it.

Posted via CB10

"However, many companies are getting paranoid about data security, especially law firms and financial services."

Hm.. perhaps not the most graceful way to formulate a set-up to how BlackBerry brings value to its customers.

Posted via CB10

I thought exactly the same thing! They are paranoid because there is a REASON to BE paranoid. BlackBerry solves that REAL problem with an out of the box end to end integrated solution.
Always be closing.

From my Neutrino Powered Z10

TATA Group includes Aviation, Steel. Communication, manufacturing and every space in between, apart from the Automotive Industry where they control not only Land Rover but also the Jaguar line.

Posted via CB10

Neat. Coincidentally, QNX also plays a large role in Aviation, manufacturing processes, communication and virtually everything else that connects to the internet, including the cisco servers that power the internet.

So maybe TATA can implement QNX in more then just Land Rover and Jaguar cars.

TATA would be an excellent technology partner for QNX/BlackBerry because QNX/BlackBerry can offer them solutions across the board in every industry they are in,

Correct the implication of partnering with them goes way beyond just the auto industry. A lot of. Individuals seem to fail to realize that the emerging markets now play a major role in stimulating Global Manufacturing and the "developed world" no longer holds the keys for a company to boom. Its been like that since Globalization. The next frontier would be Africa.

Posted via CB10

What does this have to do with anything? All auto makers are bigger than BlackBerry and they have still partnered with them to bring QNX to their vehicles.

Posted via CB10

What is surprising is that QNX maybe available in what can be described nicely as one of the world's crappiest automotive companies........crappy cars that are borderline street legal
This is the same company that builds a vehicle that retails for less than $2000.00 US$

Never mind the claim that Tata owns Land Rover......this is only a attempt to piss off their former colonial masters by buying the iconic British automaker of legendary off road vehicles.......although Land Rover quality issues over the past 25 years would make them a good fit for the Tata group in that both are as reliable as a donkey on crack!
Even after Ford pumped billions in to Land Rover they still could not exorcise the quality gremlins.......believe me when I say that Ford was happy to find a buyer for LR

Posted via CB10

Hey former colonial master, I know that what you say is true with respect to TATA vehicles, that was like 25 years ago. LR and Jaguar had terrible quality control even under Ford, I have used and keep a stable of RR and LR vehicles and can confirm that the best performance LR got was with the BMW partnership. However the acquisition by TATA hasn't really made the QC take a dive like I thought, it has gotten better. The partnership with BlackBerry is a good thing TATA is more than Auto in the former colony.

Posted via CB10

A lot may be pre ordering it so to say..but I have seen quite a few comments of comparisons with Moto G and how it is better and Z3 looses out due to price and specs. We will Know the real picture in a few days hopefully.

Posted from my SuperHuman Q10

Didn't you even read the article? Go back to the VAT and import duties part.

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

The market will adjust, the price will drop and this phone will sell in acceptable numbers. My take.

Security is a factor, and companies might be better off buying a low cost BB model for each of their employees than having to manage and worry about a multitude of devices with less secure OSes.

Pasted via CB chen

Pricing is way too higher in India. And with the super low marketing, I see no point in people making a queue for this device. Will wait for a month or two for the price cuts (which is always expected from BlackBerry in India)

I usually wait a while if i'm looking for a new device, prices drop everywhere after a while (not just in india) so yeah, if you have and love your blackberry, wait a while before you get it a bro/sister. ;)

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

They never did that with bold 9900. Problem was pricing of BB10 killed it. Had they priced it around bold9900 they wud have sold millions of devices

Posted via CrackBerry App

Apple caters to a very small Niche market here. But due to the big market size it is decent for them. Even Apple is selling their 4S iPhones @ around 300 USD. They have seen a huge growth this year of their devices due to such pricing strategies. Plus they also offer monthly instalment schemes (which most makers do) that helps.

Posted from my SuperHuman Q10

To be very frank the ip5S went out of stock multiple times. I wonder they can shell out such high prices for iphones.

However it's because of excellent financing options (EMIs,cash back on older apple devices)

Actually irrespective of the premium offering,the perspective of BlackBerry in India is a challenge for then to charge premium. They are now getting now positive media under excellent leadership of chen.Now they should come up with real competitive pricing and do whatever to sell the devices.

Posted from my Black Beast Q10

People all over the world seem to find a way to justify their iPhone purchases even after they are shown that there is greener pastures. For some it makes sense but for most they just don't seem to realize that they have better options for better costs. I just seen a new iPhone 5s in the wild and after 5 minutes I had made the owner regret the purchase. They thought they bought the best though

Posted via CB10

They don't. Apparently Apple has become a status symbol. Even BB was once. Thing is that you cannot compare BB with Apple today. Yes BB is more secure. But how many people really even care about that. Plus apps has been a big let down for BB. BB10 phones priced around 35k wud have sold like hot cakes. No way anyone wud pay same amount of money a BB in which they can buy Apple.

Posted via CrackBerry App

Well w.r.t to security android is hot on heels with its separation of work and personal profiles a la blackberry balance.They will surely give a tough fight to BBRY in this segment in future.Coming to Z3 is tad too highly priced but, a Rs. 1,000 gift voucher is absolutely welcome!! After quite some time it was heartening to note a quarter page(supplementary) ad in leading daily in India and some tidbits in business columns of other newspapers otherwise BBRY was non existent in print media.Also. they could have come out in white/red/other colours too.In India white occupies almost 50% of the smart phone colours( I own a Q10 white) A different coloured back case can be fitted but, nothing like having original colours

The major issue which I usually face when recommending BlackBerry to friends is that they think the data charge on new BlackBerry devices would be same as legacy ones. I think BlackBerry should do something about this. The big problem arrives when even the sales person at non BlackBerry stores thinks the same

Rohan

You are right, they should highlight the point that you don't need the BIS any more. Wifi or any data pack would work fine.

Posted via CB10

Problem with BB10 was pricing. I hope they don't mess that this time around. Classic will be my next phone but not for insane 45k price. Anything arnd 35k wud be sweet. BB can't sell in comparison with iPhone or android. Only way that cud happen is if heartbleed screws all iOS and android devices.

Posted via CrackBerry App

Yes. In terms of that I feel Atleast big business houses will prefer BB. But India had such a wonderful market for bold 9900. They screwed up everything with BB10 prices.

People at one store bid n it was sold twice the price. That was the craze. I paid 2k extra for it. But BB10 was priced next to iPhone. And it bombed.

Posted via CrackBerry App

Z10 is far superior than Z3. Just pay little extra. BlackBerry is just duplicating phone with minor changes. Passport and Classic are same, nothing new.

Posted via CB10

So if VAT and other taxations are reason for z3 price hike how z10 being sold for less than 17K.Z10 is better option than z3 atleast in India.The price difference is almost negligible