A model shows Blackberry Aurora at a launch event in Jakarta on Thursday (09/03). (ID Photo/Emral Firdiansyah)

BlackBerry Makes Comeback in Indonesia With Aurora


MARCH 10, 2017

Jakarta. An Indonesian company released a new BlackBerry-licensed smartphone on Thursday (09/03), hoping to repopularize the brand in the country and compete with mobile giants Android and Apple.

Indonesia was once the Canadian smartphone maker's largest market but BlackBerry's lackluster hardware innovation in recent years, coupled with its closed operating system, has driven away Indonesian customers to join other platforms. Currently, a majority of Indonesians prefer Android phones that offer more flexibility and higher performance.

The BlackBerry Aurora, the newest smartphone to use the BlackBerry name, is being manufactured entirely in Indonesia and will run Android's latest operating system, Nougat. The device will also come 4G-LTE ready, allowing Indonesian users to access the fastest mobile broadband speeds the country has to offer.

BB Merah Putih, a joint venture company between Blackberry and Tiphone Mobile Indonesia, has exclusive manufacturing rights to produce the device in the country.

The BlackBerry Aurora will cost Rp 3.5 million ($260), a competitive price in an already overcrowded market dominated by South Korea's Samsung and China's Oppo.

BlackBerry, however, is confident that its new product will help the company carve out a new spot in Indonesia's smartphone scene, citing Aurora's large memory and high resolution screen as its main drawcards.

"The BlackBerry Aurora is a device designed specifically to meet the needs of Indonesians. This smartphone also runs the Android version of BlackBerry's security solutions," Stanly Widjaja, vice president of BB Merah Putih, said.

BlackBerry officially quit manufacturing mobile phones late last year, instead opting to hand over production of BlackBerry-licensed handsets to foreign companies, such as BB Merah Putih, and TCL, a Chinese company known for producing the BlackBerry KEYone.

BlackBerry's messaging app, however, still remains popular in Indonesia even in the absence of new BlackBerry devices, as nearly 60 million monthly users across the country use the service.