Sub-$200 BlackBerry phone coming in April from Foxconn

The phone will be released first in Indonesia and later in other markets

The first BlackBerry phone produced by China's Foxconn will debut in April in Indonesia, the CEO of the phone maker said Tuesday.

The handset, which has the code name "Jakarta" but carries the commercial name Z3, is the result of a BlackBerry deal with Foxconn that seeks to shift design and production of low-end phones outside of the company.

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It has a 5-inch touchscreen and will come with the company's 10.2.1 operating system. No other technical details were immediately available.

"It's going to be a very, very attractive phone for the market," said John Chen, during a news conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. "Somewhere in April, it will come out in Indonesia. It will be under $200 in retail price."

 BlackBerry and Foxconn CEOs

Martyn Williams

BlackBerry CEO John Chen (left) and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou show a new sub-$200 BlackBerry phone due on sale in April, at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona on February 25, 2014

BlackBerry's deal with Foxconn was signed in early December and marked a big shift in the way the company develops its handsets. Under the deal, Foxconn will take over development of low-end devices while BlackBerry will continue to develop high-end phones.

"When I first got into the phone business, they told me it takes 9 to 12 months to get a phone up and going. In less than three months the phone is up and qualified and we are now working on distribution," he said.

Chen said the phone will also be released in other countries.

The same model will go on sale in other Southeast Asian countries and BlackBerry plans an LTE-version that will be released in the rest of the world.

Chen didn't specify a release date for the LTE version, except to deadpan, "sometime in the future, before I die."

The CEO also said a new version of the Q10, called the Q20, will be available later this year. It features the QWERTY keyboard that's present on the Q10 and adds the menu, back and send buttons and the trackpad that was a signature part of older BlackBerry models and is being brought back after customer requests.

Chen joked that he liked to call the phone the "BlackBerry Classic." It will be available in the second half of 2014.

BlackBerry had a 1.9 percent market share in 2013 on shipments of 18.6 million phones, according to figures from Gartner. That's down from the 5 percent global share it enjoyed in 2012 and made it the number four platform in the market.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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