January 28, 2016
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Update, January 28: It’s official. BlackBerry officials introduced the Priv to the Indian market at a Delhi event today. The BlackBerry Priv will be available in Indian stores starting today, at a price of Rs. 62,990 ($925). Thoughts on this price tag?

Original post, January 19: 2015 was a profound year for BlackBerry, for it represented a new beginning in the form of the OEM’s first Android device, the BlackBerry Priv. The handset has apparently fared well in its limited release so far, given that CEO John Chen has gone on record to state his company will bring at least one new device to market this year. Meanwhile, outside of a small handful of markets, the Priv is still waiting for its time to shine.

According to a new report, India need only wait a bit longer, as the device is set to release there on the 28th. Invites have reportedly been sent out for the event, to be held in New Deli. BlackBerry can be expected to focus on the privacy and productivity aspects of the device, as well as the slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

For those in need of a recap, the Priv has a 5.4 inch QHD dual curved AMOLED display, a 1.8GHz Dual Core/1.44 GHz Quad Core Qualcomm 808 hexa-core SoC, 3GB of RAM, Adreno 418 GPU, 32GB of on-board storage, an 18-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera, microSD support, a 3410 mAh battery, and runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with an update to 6.0 Marshmallow scheduled for later this year.

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The real question may be a matter of price however. Given that the Priv launched for around $700 in the USA last November, it is already a very expensive prospect. Add in any form of premium that BlackBerry might tack on to the price tag and the product becomes an even greater fiscal hurdle for a market that is enjoying a wide variety of low-to-mid range, more moderately priced competition.

As if that is not enough in-and-of-itself, there is the additional issue of the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, and LG G5, all of which are expected to be announced next month. John Chen has already mentioned that the price of the Priv will probably have to drop come MWC 2016 given that the hardware involved is going to be out-of-date. To this end, it will be of particular interest to see if late-January release of the Priv in India represents a potential last-ditch effort to charge the full price for the “aging” components.

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On a final note, given that the Priv has been available since November, and many online stores are selling unlocked (SIM free) versions, it might also follow that any truly interested potential consumers in India – or elsewhere – will have already imported it weeks ago.

Indian readers, at what price point would you argue BlackBerry could feasibly sell the Priv at before it became too expensive for you to consider purchasing it? Would you or any of your friends be interested in the product, period? Leave a comment below and let your voice be heard!

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