My story on BlackBerry’s turn-around push in Indonesia

A chance encounter in Jakarta with legendary Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was merely an exhilarating byproduct of my recent Indonesia trip.

I traveled there to cover the debut of BlackBerry’s new low-cost, Foxconn-made smartphone, which it released in Indonesia as part of a high-stakes turnaround plan.

The story includes snippets from my interview with Chief Executive John Chen, and begins:

BlackBerry Ltd.’s latest stab at keeping its storied brand alive is starting here, at a launch event for its $191 smartphone, in the capital city of Indonesia.

The phone maker based in Waterloo, Ontario, unveiled its latest handset, dubbed the Z3, before several hundred people in a packed five-star hotel ballroom on Tuesday. An Indonesian hip-hop trio warmed up the crowd before BlackBerry’s new chief executive, John Chen, took the stage to introduce the phone.

The Z3 represents a number of firsts for BlackBerry, which recently replaced its chief executive and revamped its corporate strategy, after failing to find a buyer for its struggling business.

I also wrote a post with more color from the launch event.

BlackBerry Takes Preorders for Indonesia Smartphone

That’s the headline of a quick story I wrote today.

It begins:

BlackBerry is now accepting preorders for the low-cost, Foxconn-made smartphone it’s releasing first in Indonesia, where its devices have traditionally been popular.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said Monday it expects the smartphone, called the BlackBerry Z3, to be priced at 2,199,000 Indonesian rupiah (US$189), and that an official unveiling of the device will take place on May 13 in Jakarta. The phone can be ordered from two Indonesian telecommunications providers, Indosat and XL.

As part of a plan to cut its phone making costs amid declining market share in Indonesia and elsewhere, BlackBerry has outsourced much of its hardware business to Taiwan’s Foxconn, officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, which produces most of world’s iPhones and iPads.