Apr 17, 2009


Speaking at a multi-nation launch of the BlackBerry Storm smartphone at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston, Peter Gould, RIM vice-president of sales, told journalists that 60 per cent of new Blackberry customers are from the consumer segment of the wireless device market. He attributes this to the company's focus on continually enhancing the multi-functional capabilities and usability of the device.Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian-based manufacturer of the BlackBerry wireless handheld device that has long enjoyed immense popularity among business professionals, has said that it is making a foray into the consumer segment of the market - the valuable mass market comprising persons of all demographics.

"There has really been a clear shift in terms of consumer adoption of BlackBerry," said Gould. "People are becoming digitally nervous; they want to be connected to everything that is important in their lives."

Expounding on his assessment, Gould specifically highlighted that the BlackBerry pin-to-pin messaging service "has been a real homerun" in the Caribbean region.

The new BlackBerry Storm, RIM said, will be available in Jamaica, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados, distributed by telecom firms, within the next month. The company said the new device is a state-of-the-art touchscreen smartphone with advanced multimedia and communications capabilities that will help to continue the product's deep penetration into the consumer market while simultaneously helping to sustain its dominance in the business segment. Its features include global connectivity support, GPS, web browser, media player, camera and the usual email and messaging capabilities.

However, the company has singled out the BlackBerry Storm's SurePress touchscreen feature, which was awarded the GSMA's Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough award at Mobile World Congress 2009, as one of its strongest selling points. The feature is intended to enhance the touch interface for both typing and navigation through a virtual keyboard that responds like a physical keyboard and a more efficient touch and gesture support system.

"Consumers and business customers alike will appreciate the BlackBerry Storm smartphone for its exceptional communications and multimedia features, as well as its innovative 'clickable' touchscreen which solves longstanding challenges associated with typing on traditional touchscreens," said Mark Guibert, Rim's vice-president of corporate marketing.

Added Gould: "SurePress is another paradigm shift. It is another innovative design in the industry and we are quite pleased with how it has turned out."

Launched in 1999, BlackBerry's subscriber base grew to approximately 25 million users globally at the end of its financial year ended February 28, 2009, and the product is currently available on over 475 carriers and channels in 160 countries. Revenues for the financial year under review was US$11 billion, up 84 per cent from the US$6 billion in revenues over the correspponding period last year.

While he did not have a figurative breakdown depicting how its Carribean segment has performened, Gould disclosed to Caribbean Business Report that the region, especially Jamaica, has been solid.

"We have seen very robust growth throughout the Caribbean and Jamaica is a very strong market for BlackBerry," he said.

Gould said that the economic downturn has not dampened the company's performance and said that the company's optimistic projections of strong growth have not been affected.

"It is full speed ahead at RIM," said Gould. "We grew 84 per cent year on year and our technology is growing at rapid pace globally."

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