Blackberry’s Indian Pearl

Blackberry’s sleek and chic device, the Pearl, has already helped Canadian communications hardware maker Research In Motion (RIM) rack up some strong sales and profits in North America.

pearl.jpgAnd by the looks of it, the device is going to be a hit in the overseas markets as well.

While traveling from San Francisco to New Delhi, I found many Europeans – folks who normally opt for Nokia smart phones – using their Blackberry Pearl to get a grip on their email. A few days later, I saw a lot of Indian yuppie types getting thumbing on their Blackberry Pearls.

The phone form factor and SureType input technology apparently is finding favor with non-U.S. users. Even carriers – realizing that Blackberry is a good way to boost their APRU – are pushing the device pretty hard here in India. The device costs a whopping $570 and a monthly plan goes for around $20.

Bharti Airtel, which is the largest GSM carrier, had an exclusive on this device for a while, but the soon-to-be-Vodafone property Hutch Essar has also gotten access to this device. The third largest GSM network is promoting it very very and I repeat very heavily on the airwaves. Blackberry makes perfect sense in the Indian milieu.

If these promotions work, we might find a nice surprise in RIM’s quarterly earnings soon enough. The email and instant messaging capabilities along with phone features are enough to meet the basic post-Internet communication needs without being dependent on a PC.

RIM’s timing with the device is spot on. According to some reports, the sales of high-end phones are beginning to pick up in urban markets, mostly driven by younger buyers’ desire to opt for branded phones. In addition, more Indian executives are traveling overseas and are finding a need to stay connected.

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