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Is BlackBerry abandoning the youth market?

Is BlackBerry abandoning the youth market?

BlackBerry's new enterprise-focussed smartphone was unveiled today, in the form of the square-screened Passport with its more complete way of viewing a spreadsheet.

In a nutshell, the Passport is a return to the BlackBerry of Auld. That much is obvious even to casual tech fans.

But does the flagship phone's focus on business functionality also mark a longer term move away from the lower-cost youth market that BlackBerry once courted with the Curve range?

We put the question to BlackBerry's Senior Carrier Product Manager Patrick Power to find out.

"We'll focus on those who need productivity, and those who need [these] devices. We still need to be a consumer [company]," Power explained.

"Even if you are a business person, you are still a youth person. You still do the same things: you still listen to music.

"We are working with carriers, and this [BlackBerry Passport] will be available in the retail market. If the youth want it, it's available for them to go and get."

However, with a price tag of £529 SIM free, it's fair to say that the Passport is an expensive phone for the youth market, with features not really aimed at them.

To us at least, it sounds like the company has firmly left this market behind, with the business world now being its chief focus.

There was a hope the cheaper version of the BlackBerry Z30, namely, the Z3, will be coming to the UK.

The handset might have fitted the bill for cost-conscious, youthful BlackBerry fans. But that's a moot point now, given that BlackBerry has confirmed it has no plans to bring the budget kit to these shores.

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