RIM has long positioned its BlackBerry smartphones as mid to high end business devices but it looks like the global recession has had the Canadian giant thinking again...
As is usual for RIM future plans, they have once again been leaked early with internal company slides picked showing serious consideration being given to creating the first pre-pay BlackBerry.
Key points RIM is making in the now-public presentation are fairly obvious: it is missing out on a large section of the market that cannot afford a long term contract and those who do not like to take out long term contracts. Of course - given the economy - these are groups which are likely to increase over the next 12 months and PAYG is a massive segment that RIM misses out entirely on anyway.
As for benefits to the carrier during these times, pre-pay handsets are also seen as less of a risk to carriers as they can forego subsidies.
So what is RIM's strategy? Apart from marketing speak which shies away from terms such as 'pre-pay' and 'PAYG' because of their bottom end connotations, it centres around sensible plus points such as upselling third party services and applications and the boost it will give to unit sales (if not profit margins).
What handsets would we get? Possibly cut down versions of already midrange models like the BlackBerry Flip 8820, but in the short term it may be easier to sell older venerable models like the candybar BlackBerry Pearl (pictured) - arguably the first handset to push RIM into the mainstream when it launched early last year.
So... who is up for a PAYG BlackBerry?