Research In Motion (RIM), the manufacturer of BlackBerry products, has said it will set up an office in Nairobi as an entry hub into East and Central Africa markets. The new strategy for the firm is to consolidate its physical presence as it garners for a share of the growing smartphone market in Kenya.
The firm has previously been distributing its products in the country through partnerships with local dealers and telecommunication operators including Orange, Airtel and Safaricom. RIM said it's currently recruiting and organising operational resources. "Our aim is to be on ground; this way we'll know the channels and the market better," said Waldi Wepener, RIM's regional director for East, Central and West Africa in Nairobi on Friday. "Kenya is a key market and there are a lot of developments happening in the ICT sector currently," he said.
Wepener said BlackBerry will enhance its engagement with local software developers to have more relevant applications for the market. He said the firm will be organising open days for application developers and is already engaging stakeholders such as Strathmore University. RIM has launched three new BlackBerry smartphones that are powered by the BlackBerry operating system. It has rolled out the BlackBerry Curve 9360, BlackBerry Torch 9810 and BlackBerry Torch 9860.
The firm in September launched the BlackBerry Bold 9900 which has been on sale through Safaricom, Airtel and Orange outlets. "The BlackBerry solution offers a best-in-class mobile communications experience and these new models offer enhanced browsing and richer multimedia on a new, performance-driven platform powered by the latest BlackBerry software. We believe customers in Kenya will be thrilled by these powerful new BlackBerry 7 smartphones," said Wepener.
RIM has in recent months released a range of applications including BlackBerry Messenger and Social Feeds (2.0) apps to enhance experiences for users of its smartphone series.