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​BlackBerry to return to Korea with Priv after three years away

BlackBerry is returning to South Korea with the launch of its first Android smartphone Priv after exiting the market three years ago.
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Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer on

BlackBerry will launch its first Android smartphone, BlackBerry Priv, in South Korea at a launch event on September 20.

It will be its first phone launched in Korea since pulling out of the local market three years ago. A BlackBerry spokesman said it was not setting up regional offices there like it did before, however.

The company, previously called Research In Motion, entered the Korean market for the first time in 2009. It has a strong fan base in Korea, but lost out in smartphones behind Samsung, LG, and Apple.

In 2012, rivals Nokia, HTC, and Motorola also pulled out due to the dominance of local competitors, in particular Samsung which has stronger ties to local distributors, especially telcos.

Apple is the only exception to the rule but maintains a much lower market share of around 10 percent to Samsung's 70 percent.

Market saturation and the increased demand for price-competitive smartphones are seeing many foreign companies launch new phones.

China's Huawei launched Be Y, a variation of its P9 Lite, last week. Sony, which did not pull out of Korea but halted the release of smartphones for a while, began sales of its Xperia X in June.

Launched in the US in November last year, BlackBerry Priv comes with a 5.4-inch QHD display, a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB RAM, 1.8 megapixel camera and 32GB internal memory and comes with the firm's signature QWERTY keyboard.

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