Update: In an interview with Techtree, RIM's (Research In Motion) spokesperson for India has confirmed that it is not introducing 'unlocked' versions of the Blackberry devices in India, as a report had stated a few days ago. Instead, for the moment, RIM is only aiming to increase its market presence, for which it has partnered with Redington India to retail the same network-restricted BlackBerry devices.
The only difference that RIM's deal with Redington will make is that a consumer will have the choice to purchase a network-restricted Blackberry device from a retail store and choose the network he wants to subscribe to under one roof -- instead of going to an individual telecom operator's store. The user can opt for any telecom service that is available on BlackBerry from these retail outlets.
The spokesperson went ahead to add that BlackBerry thrives on partnerships; hence, the Redington partnership will help it grow in the Indian market. He refused to comment on future partnerships with telecom operators.
---------------- January 19: Research In Motion (RIM) will soon introduce 'unlocked' versions of its signature handset BlackBerry in India.
Unlocked versions of the phone will allow the currently network-restricted (Airtel, Reliance Communications, and Vodafone) BlackBerry to function on the network of any telecom service provider.
After attempting an image transition from being just an enterprise phone to a multimedia device in order to appeal more audiences, now RIM wants to attract another segment of the Indian masses that prefers to choose its telecom service provider.
BlackBerry comes under the premium segment handset bracket; hence to crack the Indian market, it may also introduce a price-wise stripped down version of the Blackberry for the Indian market, a report suggests.
Till now, the BlackBerry products were sold in India through partnerships with telecom operators.
Now that there will be no such restrictions, to increase its presence in the market, BlackBerry handsets will now be more in sight of the consumers as RIM has collaborated with Redington India -- a distributor for popular brands like Nokia, Western Digital, IBM, Canon, Samsung, Seagate, APC, Asus, Computer Associates, Cisco, HCL and Hitachi.
Redington will offer a wide range of BlackBerry smartphones beginning with the BlackBerry Pearl series, the BlackBerry Curve series and the BlackBerry Bold smartphone.
As part of the retail distribution agreement with Redington India, BlackBerry smartphones and service plans from supported carriers will initially be available in retail and modern trade outlets across nine cities: Mumbai, Delhi, NCR, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune and Ahmedabad.
RIM also plans to launch localized applications in India for specific areas such as entertainment and sports.
The company currently has 13 handsets in India -- the latest one being the BlackBerry Storm, RIM's very first touchscreen phone which is a strong competitor for the Apple iPhone.