RIM fights back with new BlackBerry
Cape Town - Research In Motion (RIM) is intent on rejecting analysts' dire predictions that the company is on a downward spiral and has released a range of new devices with an updated operating system.
Several analysts have said the BlackBerry-maker cannot survive in the smartphone market because of the dominance by Apple with its iPhone and the growth of the Google Android operating system on several smartphone manufacturers.
"The launch of this family of handsets will be RIM's largest global launch ever and more than 225 carriers and distribution partners have already commenced or completed over 500 certification programs for these 5 new handsets," the company said.
The launch includes BlackBerry Bold and Torch models with a new BlackBerry 7 operating system.
BlackBerry phones dominate the South African smartphone market with around 70% penetration according statistics from mobile operators, but devices powered by Android are growing exponentially and some estimates suggest that there will be 80% penetration of smartphones by 2014.
"This is the largest global launch of BlackBerry smartphones in our history," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO of Research In Motion.
RIM has traditionally tied in its devices with mobile operators so that users have access to packages where they have unlimited data.
Developing markets like Africa have provided growth in subscriber numbers as BlackBerry represents an attractive proposition to access the internet.
"In South Africa and Europe, it's been predominantly around the proposition around the holistic view of it's not only a device, it's a platform that enables you to do various other things, rather than a 1Gig processor with a super display," Rui Brites team leader for Product Management in Africa for RIM told News24.
"We see ourselves as an integral partner: We really believe we're a partner, not just another device vendor and it goes back to the solution. For R2 a day, you have access to your browsing," he added.
The new devices also have the traditional touch display and keyboard layout as the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and are the thinnest (10.5mm) produced by the company, RIM said.
"Qwerty is iconic and that is our heritage. We will always have a Qwerty device.
"Be it in a slide, or in a new device that we've announced - called the Bold 9900 - that philosophy holds true. I still have a Qwerty keypad with touch display, but with a bar type instead of a slide," Brites said.
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