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BlackBerry eyes more sales.

Summary: BlackBerry expects its new device, the Z10 -- which has its latest operating system -- will help boost its sales and also increase market share in the UAE along with other Middle Eastern countries, its top official said.

BlackBerry expects its new device, the Z10 -- which has its latest operating system -- will help boost its sales and also increase market share in the UAE along with other Middle Eastern countries, its top official said.

The next-generation device of the Canadian company will be available in the UAE starting today at a retail price of Dh2,599. Both telecom operators in the UAE -- etisalat and du -- and some retailers have already started advanced booking for the new handset.

The company made available more than 70,000 applications when it unveiled the re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented BlackBerry 10 platform along with two new devices, the Z10 and Q10, at global events held simultaneously in Dubai, New York, Toronto, London, Paris and Johannesburg on January 30.

"We are working very closely with content providers in the region and as we move closer to the launch and after the launch, more and more localised apps will be available," BlackBerry's country director Chris Corsi told Khaleej Times in an interview.

The company believes localised contents will be very important for the launch and the future of BlackBerry 10 in the region, Corsi added. Emirates NBD became the first bank in the region to launch its app on the new operating system from January 30. SAP is also among the companies set to have enterprise applications available to download.

Corsi said that BlackBerry is among the top three smartphones in the region and with the launch of its new platform new devices, it will grow further.

"We are one of the leaders in smaprthones in the Middle East including the UAE. Our market share has been doing very well and growing; I believe with the launch of BlackBerry 10, we are going to continue to grow market share here," said Corsi, who is also country director for Oman and Pakistan.

Previously known as Research In Motion, the company renamed to its famous brand BlackBerry, which was announced on the global launch day. BlackBerry confirmed on February 4 that its new ticker got effective and will trade as "BB" on the Toronto Stock Exchange and "BBRY" on the Nasdaq.

"We are a completely new company and have a new name. We are very excited that we have very strong base of loyal customers in the Middle East," Corsi said.

He said there are a couple of unique features in the new system, as well as in the device, which are not available in the market.

"We are quite confident and feel that this product will continue to grow in the region," he added.

One of the important features of the new system is the BlackBerry Messenger Voice service, which may be blocked by UAE telecom operators as it will directly hit their revenues. It allows free phone calls over Wi-Fi. "We are very closely working with governments and carrier teams to make sure that we give the best experience to customers in the UAE. We wish to launch our device here with all the services," he said.

He said BlackBerry 10 is a robust and reliable platform that is smooth and responsive. It has a modern design and a gesture-based interface that is highly discoverable. It is designed to support, learn and adapt to the way a customer works and shares with features like Hub, Flow, Time Shift, Balance, smart browser, and intelligent keyboard.

The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are elegant and distinctive, and the fastest, most advanced BlackBerry smartphones yet. They feature 1.5Ghz dual-core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. They include the latest enhancements in high-density pixel and screen technology to display clear, sharp, and incredibly vivid images. Both feature a micro HDMI out port for presentations, and advanced sensors such Near Field Communications to support mobile payments and the exchange of information with a tap of the smartphone. They also have a removable battery.

Models of the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 will be available from carriers to support their respective 4G LTE or HSPA+ networks, and all available models include connectivity support for global roaming. The devices will also be available in white and black.

Talking about the company's strategy for previously launched devices and operating system in the UAE, he said the company will continue to support the BlackBerry 7.1 OS and other devices.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Feb 9, 2013
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