month, in the Lion City, across the Causeway from Malaysia, the second ever
BlackBerry Developers Conference Asia (also known as the BlackBerry DevCon
Asia) was held, and it was a grand event indeed – even with developers coming
to the Suntec International Convention Centre on very short notice. Why? Read
The first BlackBerry DevCon was held in Bali on January
2011 and that was the first time ever we got our hands on the BlackBerry
PlayBook. The second BlackBerry DevCon was supposed to be held in Bangkok.
Bangkok, however, was facing one of the worst floods in recent years and the
decision to change the venue from Bangkok to Singapore was very last minute.
Despite that, the conference was a huge success!
Gregory Wade, the Regional Managing Director of East Asia
at Research In Motion, started his keynote by thanking the developers for
making him a ‘rejuvenated gamer’, because he has been spending a lot of time
having fun on his PlayBook playing NFL, something that he played in the 70s and
Gregory Wade, Regional Managing Director of
East Asia, RIM
He then went on to give us some information about this
year’s edition of DevCon Asia. He said that there are more than 1,000
registrants to DevCon Asia in Singapore. He also said that the reason why there
is an Asian version of DevCon is because of the emergence of Asia as an
economic hub. With the tremendous base of application developers, there is no
doubt about the fact that the development of applications is coming more and
more from Asia. He also said that all attendees will be given a BlackBerry
PlayBook to further develop applications for the 7 inch tablet.
Gregory also extended a special note of thanks those in
the audience that came from Thailand, for being there at Singapore, even after
all that’s happened in Bangkok. Some of the attendees from Thailand left
Thailand for the first time in their lives, making it even more meaningful to
Gregory. BlackBerry DevCon Asia was supposed to be held in Thailand and RIM had
to change the venue just two weeks before the actual date because they had to
take into account the attendees’ safety in mind. Research In Motion has donated
50 BlackBerry smartphones and 1 million Baht for relief efforts in Thailand.
‘I am very proud to share with you that we are committed
to bringing the next DevCon Asia to Thailand.’ He said. So mark you calendars
and plan a trip to Thailand for the next DevCon Asia.
RIM donated 50 BlackBerry smartphones and 1
million Baht to the Thai government for flood relief efforts.
After giving his commitment that the next BlackBerry
DevCon Asia is to be held in Thailand, Gregory then gave us an outlook on the
growth of BlackBerry in Asia. He said that BlackBerry smartphones are the
number one smartphone in multiple countries in Asia, including Indonesia,
Thailand and the Philippines. There are over 3 million BlackBerry fans engaged
on social media channels in Asia. The most interesting date is that according
to an IDC report, BlackBerry will grow faster than the Asia Pacific smartphone
‘We’re committed to Asia and we are actively investing in
Asia. We are opening more and more facilities and offices across the region.
Investing back into the community, like the BlackBerry Academic program, that
provides universities with the materials and tools to educate students for today
as well as the future,’ he said.
After he shared about RIM’s progress in Asia, Gregory
then said that Asia is so important to RIM that they launched he BlackBerry
Bold 9790 and the BlackBerry Curve 9380 first in Jakarta, Indonesia, instead of
anywhere else in the world. Even RIM’s Co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, was there at the
launch in November. (Our coverage of the launch is in the November 2011 issue)
After giving us an overview of the Asia market and the
prospects for RIM continuing its business in Asia, Gregory invited George
Staikos, Vice President, Web Technologies, East Asia of Research In Motion to
come on stage and talk about the BlackBerry platform.