x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Blackberry launches new service for Middle East

Blackberry has unveiled a new service for its users in the Middle East just weeks after resolving its row over security with the government of the UAE.

BlackBerry users in the Middle East will soon benefit from a new service to add to their prized messenger and e-mail packages after the resolution of a row about security of the device with the Government of the UAE.

Jim Balsillie,a co-chief executive of Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian maker of the BlackBerry device, revealed the new service in his keynote speech at the annual GITEX technology expo in Dubai yesterday.

In his speech, Mr Balsillie said RIM would become a partner with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), and the telecommunications companies Etisalat and du to develop e-government services and mobile-banking programmes on BlackBerry devices. “This is an opportunity for the people in [the UAE] to become global leaders in mobility and [technology] transformation right now as you see this great shift, a great evolution in smartphones and mobile services,” he said.

Mr Balsillie’s speech marked the first formal appearance in the UAE by a RIM executive since the company’s dispute with the TRA began. In August, the TRA threatened to suspend BlackBerry services for the country’s 500,000 users citing security, judicial and cultural reasons.

But this month the authority said it would not block BlackBerry services in the UAE after “the positive engagement and collaboration of RIM in reaching this regulatory compliant outcome”. Neither RIM nor the TRA have provided details of the resolution.

RIM also confirmed its BlackBerry Torch, a touchscreen device with a slide-out keyboard, will be available in the UAE, as well as an updated version of its operating system.

dgeorgecosh@thenational.ae