RIM unveils BlackBerry lab in Cape Town

Canada-based smartphone-maker Research In Motion (RIM) has announced the launch of BlackBerry lab in Cape Town, South Africa for local apps development set to boost the BlackBerry platform.

RIM is working on local versions of applications for the imminent BlackBerry 10, as well as existing BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook, Engineering News reported.

Jenny McKinnel, executive director of the non-profit Cape IT Initiative said the Western Cape is the ideal place for business developments. 

“In the Western Cape, people are recognising and realising that we have a highly innovative, very skilled IT entrepreneurship community.” Alexandra Zagury, RIM’s managing director for South Africa and Southern Africa, told the News24.

“We are now looking forward to fostering mobile innovation in the Western Cape and helping to grow South Africa’s next wave of mobile app developers,” Zagury said.

Zagury explained further that the labs are supplying local developers with resources in development, marketing, sales and training. This group includes students, start-ups and entrepreneurs among others, being assisted in the expansion of their ideas and business opportunities.

According to the Engineering News, RIM has connections with 118 universities, colleges and schools across the continent. With the BlackBerry Academic Program, institutions are supplied with course materials to teach students about mobile application development.

Students at the University of Pretoria have benefitted greatly from the applications lab’s support, the News24 reported.

“RIM has eliminated the cost that my start-up company would have incurred by providing resources such as the latest BlackBerry devices for testing and high performance development machines,” said UP student and developer Blessing Mahlalela.

The greatest reason for this move from RIM’s side, however, is speculated to be an attempt at the protection of their market shares. According to somereports, the mobile brand has experienced tight competition with Apple and Android-powered smartphones in the USA and Europe.

However, the release of the BlackBerry 10 early next year aims to boost their numbers again. BlackBerry’s unlimited Internet service enabled them to boast with more than 50 percent of the market.

Local experts are of the opinion that BlackBerry has a sure and bright future in South Africa although they have pointed out that they are hoping to see more future based decisions than short term gains in terms of shareholding. 

“Bad business decisions get made because companies are trying to make a decision so the shareholders get their money and they’re not acting in the best interests of their business. So I do not write BlackBerry off at all because I know that [RIM board member] Roger Martin thinks long term, and while it might look like BlackBerry is struggling now. I say let’s see in 10 years’ time where they actually are,” McKinnell was quoted by the News24 as saying.

Posted in: Mobile

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