BlackBerry opens second apps lab in SA

5 November 2012

Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, has announced the opening of its second BlackBerry apps lab in South Africa.

The new lab is based in Cape Town and follows on the launch of the BlackBerry apps lab at the University of Pretoria in May this year.

“Cape Town is a key innovation hub, and a natural site for RIM’s second BlackBerry apps lab in South Africa,” Alexandra Zagury, RIM’s MD for South Africa and southern Africa, said in a statement on Friday.

‘Fostering mobile innovation in Africa’

According to RIM, the aim of the BlackBerry apps labs is to help accelerate mobile application development in South Africa, thereby creating new economic opportunities and jobs in the mobile space, and to support the larger context and objectives of the South African Department of Communications’ eSkills Institute.

“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 Zagury. “Our investment in this lab is a signal of our commitment to supporting South Africa’s thriving BlackBerry developer ecosystem.”

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.

‘Every developer’s dream’

According to University of Pretoria student and developer Blessing Mahlalela, the BlackBerry apps lab is every developer’s dream. “RIM has eliminated the cost that my startup company would have incurred by providing resources such as the latest BlackBerry devices for testing and high performance development machines,” Mahlalela said.

Fellow student Leon van Dyk added: “My programming abilities for the BlackBerry platform have increased monumentally – and so has my interests in mobile development as a career choice.”

RIM will work with developers at the Cape Town lab to create local and regionally relevant applications for BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook, as well as for devices running the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.

Skills, job opportunities

The initiative is expected to help create locally relevant apps, new skills and job opportunities for graduates, and new revenue streams for developers.

According to RIM, the BlackBerry apps labs form part of an Africa developer programme that includes facilities in Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt.

“RIM has been working with 118 universities, colleges and schools across Africa through the BlackBerry Academic Program to provide institutions with course materials and content to teach and educate students on mobile application development,” the company said.

SAinfo reporter