BlackBerry Confirms It Won’t Launch BB10 Devices In Japan

BlackBerry may have been much of the past few months criss-crossing the globe in an effort to drum up developer support for BlackBerry 10, but it turns out that there’s at least one market where the company has essentially given up. According to a recent report from the Nikkei Business Daily, the Waterloo-based company would not bring BlackBerry 10 and the devices that run it to Japan’s shores, and BlackBerry has just confirmed its stance.

Here’s what the Canadian company told TechCrunch on the matter:

We are in the process of launching BlackBerry 10 globally in key markets and we are seeing positive demand for the BlackBerry Z10 in countries where it has already launched. Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time.

That’s not to say that RIM is pulling out of the country entirely — Nikkei’s report goes on to note that while BlackBerry doesn’t plan to push any new hardware like the Z10 or Q10 into Japan, it will continue to support what few existing models are still in use there. At least part of BlackBerry’s decision to keep BlackBerry 10 out of Japan was driven by sheer practicality — the process of translating all of the OS’s text into Japanese apparently presented BlackBerry with enough of a headache that it just decided to give up altogether.

Of course, there’s another reason for BlackBerry’s choice here — BlackBerry hardware has never been quite as popular in Japan as it as been in other asian locales, and the prominence of other platforms has slowly eating away at BlackBerry’s market share. The devices accounted for as much as 5% of Japan’s smartphone market before plummeting to a mere 0.3% last year. In the mean time, Android has been steadily picking up steam ever since the HTC Magic first debuted on NTT DoCoMo’s airwaves back in 2009, and Apple’s iPhone has topped sales charts more than a few times despite thanks to carrier support from Softbank (who’s been busy trying to merge with Sprint) and KDDI au.