BlackBerry apps lab opens in Cape Town

2012-11-05 07:31
Research In Motion has opened its second apps lab in South Africa to enable local application development for the BlackBerry platform. (AP)

Research In Motion has opened its second apps lab in South Africa to enable local application development for the BlackBerry platform. (AP)

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Cape Town - Research In Motion has opened its second apps lab in South Africa to enable local application development for the BlackBerry platform.

"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," said Alexandra Zagury, managing director for South Africa and Southern Africa at RIM.

RIM is on a mission to protect their market share in developing countries like SA. BlackBerry smartphones command more than half the market of all smartphones, due, in part, to its unlimited BlackBerry Internet Service.

The brand has been losing out to Apple and Android-powered smartphones in the US and Europe, but the company is hoping to arrest some of the losses with the launch of BlackBerry 10, expected early in 2013.

"Sure they want to protect their market, but that's great for us because the guy who's second everybody says is nearly dead - those are the people you want to work with because they fight harder," Jenny McKinnell, executive director of the non-profit Cape IT Initiative told News24 of the BlackBerry apps lab.


"The labs provide local developers, including students, start-ups, entrepreneurs and others, with access to resources in development, marketing, sales and training to help them expand their ideas and business opportunities," RIM said.

Students working at an app lab at the University of Pretoria have fond value in the apps lab as an effective way to expand their businesses.

"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.

Some local experts have indicated that the BlackBerry has a long term future in SA, but would like to see company decisions that bet on the future of the firm, rather than the short term gains for shareholders.

"Too many 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," said McKinnell.

According to McKinnell, the Western Cape is the ideal environment for app developers to create successful start-ups.

"In the Western Cape, people are recognising and realising that we have a highly innovative, very skilled IT entrepreneurship community."

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