On Tuesday, the BlackBerry 10 platform officially debuted in the Cayman Islands.
The new products, including the BlackBerry Z10 phone and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 software, are the results of a total remaking of Canadian mobile company BlackBerry, which until February was known as Research In Motion. Locally, the new phones and software are available from Digicel and LIME.
The company hopes that its new offerings will thrive in the Caribbean and Caymanian markets, where the BlackBerry brand has remained popular despite the company’s well-publicised woes in recent years. Arno Glompner, BlackBerry’s corporate communications manager for the Caribbean, said a million Z10’s were shipped in February (the first month the devices were commercially available), a strong number considering it doesn’t include US sales.*
The company was pleased to see that about half of the Z10 buyers had been using non-BlackBerry phones previously.
The Z10 was first made available in Canada, the UK and other countries such as Germany and India.
Mr. Glompner said the Z10 was intended to compete with other high-end smart phones on the US market, and wasn’t designed specifically to be the phone of people’s dreams in emerging markets such as Latin America and the Caribbean. However, he said plenty of people in the Caribbean do like to have access to the latest and greatest technology.
Around June, the BlackBerry Q10 should become available in the region. The Q10 is basically the same concept as the Z10 smartphone, except the Q10 also has a physical keyboard.
Mr. Glompner said a few more BlackBerry 10 phones in the mid-price range should be coming this calendar year.
While Cayman and its population of some 55,000 people is a small market compared to countries such as the Dominican Republic (with 10 million people) and Jamaica (2.7 million), the territory punches above its weight when it comes to the BlackBerry Enterprise Service, due to the concentration of corporate clients in financial services.