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By 30 May 2012 | Categories: news

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BlackBerry holding company Research In Motion (RIM) and the University of Pretoria (UP, also a BlackBerry authorised academic centre), today announced the opening of the BlackBerry apps lab at the Information Technology building on the main campus of UP.

The aim of the BlackBerry apps lab is to accelerate mobile application development within South Africa, and in the process create new economic opportunities and jobs in the mobile space. This lab will also support the larger context and objectives of the South African Department of Communications’ (DOC’s) eSkills Institute (e-SI).

RIM stated that the lab will provide local developers, including UP students and faculty members, start-ups, and entrepreneurs with access to resources in development, marketing, sales and training to assist them expand their ideas and business opportunities.

The smartphone and tablet maker will work with developers to create local and regionally relevant applications for BlackBerry smartphones, the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet as well as mobile devices powered by the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.

This lab will now form part of RIM’s extensive developer programme that spans Africa and includes key innovation hubs the likes of Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt. RIM also hosts BlackBerry Developer Days and the annual BlackBerry Innovation Forum (BIF) in Johannesburg, where developers are encouraged to share ideas with their peers, and hear from business innovators, technology leaders and BlackBerry customers.

The Canadian firm has been working with 39 universities, colleges and schools across the African continent through the BlackBerry Academic Program, which provides institutions with materials and content to teach students about application development.

Bob Bose, managing director for Africa at RIM added: “RIM is committed to supporting mobile software development in Africa and future digital entrepreneurs. The growth of smartphones and the appetite for mobile apps presents a huge opportunity for developers, and we’re pleased to work with the Department of Communications and the University of Pretoria to share resources and ideas that will help and inspire innovative minds to make the most of that opportunity.”

Bose went on to say that, “South Africa is a key innovation hub and by working together, we aim to build a community that will create locally relevant apps for BlackBerry customers, new skills and job opportunities for graduates and new revenue streams for developers.”

In related news, RIM also recently unveiled its vision for the BlackBerry 10 platform and together with TomTom announced that it will be utilising TomTom’s real-time traffic services for BlackBerry applications. BlackBerry Traffic will be powered by TomTom HD Traffic, providing BlackBerry users with access to live traffic information whilst on route to their destination.

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