For all of its issues, Blackberry seems to have the super high end luxury phone market down pat. Earlier this week, Blackberry launched the Porsche Design P’9982 Blackberry Smartphone in Hong Kong in an event that was attended by local celebrities.
The Porsche Design P’9982 is basically a repacked Z10 with a luxury “satin finished frame forged from the finest quality stainless steel, complemented by a hand-wrapped genuine Italian leather back door” and a special series of PIN numbers.
Inside it is, as mentioned, basically a Blackberry Z10 but Blackberry and Porsche did tinker a bit. Namely, they upped the internal storage to a whopping 64GBs. Other than that, its the same 1.5Ghz dual core CPU, 2GB of RAM and 4.2inch 720p screen, nearly the same dimensions and weight.
But the device isn’t for spec geeks and it isn’t for bargain shoppers by any means. Its $16,888HKD (2,177 USD, 1,607 EUR) price tag is absolutely decadent, but Blackberry knows it and the decadent is exactly the audience Blackberry is trying to hit with the P’9982. They want to hit the kind of people that want to be seen talking into their Porsche phone while getting out of their Porsche car. The kind of people who care that their phone has a special PIN number. The 1% who are proud to be the 1%. Its a market they have successfully hit before with the P’9981 Blackberry, which was the highest selling luxury phone over $10,000HKD.
Blackberry says they expect the P’9982 to outsell its predecessor and to help them do it they brought along Moses Chan, a popular actor on Hong Kong television (who also had somewhat large roles in 90s American action flicks). He isn’t exactly Alicia Keys, but he is a recognizable face in Hong Kong, and that added some gravitas to the event.
Still, I can’t help but feeling if I were going to throw over 2 grand on a phone I would expect the cutting edge specs or beyond, not last year’s model with a extra internal storage. But then again, I’m not the market Blackberry is trying to hit. It is for the super-rich found in places like Hong Kong and Dubai, where it was unveiled. The upper echelons of society where style and exclusivity trumps performance.
We will have to wait and see how the device performs in that market.