JAKARTA - For the first time, Indonesian smartphone users will get their hands on Research In Motion (RIM)'s latest BlackBerry device before the rest of the world.
In a nod to its growing Asian market, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 will go on sale in Indonesia on November 25 before it is shipped to other markets.
The announcement was made in Jakarta, Indonesia on November 15.
It is estimated that the country has about two million BlackBerry users.
Technology research firm IDC estimates that RIM shipped 1.5 million BlackBerry devices to Asia in the first quarter of this year and since 2004 has sold at least 8.5 million units in the region. Asia accounted for 11 per cent of RIM's global shipments in the first quarter of 2011, compared to eight percent for all of 2010, it said. Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand have a combined population of 400 million, and Indonesians have a particular fondness for BlackBerry's instant-messaging function, which spares them from texting charges.
Availability in other markets is expected to be made known soon.
The BlackBerry Bold 9790 features a Qwerty keyboard and capacitive touch screen, and runs on BlackBerry 7. It also has a 5-megapixel camera.
RIM says that its smartphones are able to match up to users' expectations of phones being increasingly used for entertainment. Mr Francois Mahieu, Head of Asia-Pacific product management at RIM said: "We're making good communicaitons products, but we also recognise that the market expects phones to be multimedia devices. Our latest operating system has a number of multimedia enhancements for an improved browsing experience."
At the same time, RIM also noted a trend in smartphone devices increasing in screen size. Its decision to keep the Bold 9790 at a 2.45-inch screen size was to give its users flexibility and choice, especially those who preferred a smaller device that fitted in a pocket.
The BlackBerry OS ranked as the fifth most popular operating system in Singapore in 2010.
Mr Mahieu added that RIM is no longer considered a manufacturer of just Qwerty phones. He said: "Customers in Singapore have access to the full range of phones - Qwerty, full touchscreen, and hybrid - and all the features of BlackBerry now are multimedia-centric."