Jordan poised to become training hub for BlackBerry platform

Jordan: Jordanian apps developers and IT students will soon receive training on the BlackBerry platform, apps and games, from Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry smartphones, according to the ICT Association of Jordan-int@j.

The training will be provided at the Gaming Lab at the King Hussein Business Park and will be open for IT students from the country’s universities as well as IT firm employees working on apps development, int@j CEO Abed Shamlawi told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

The training is expected to start during the first half of 2012 and RIM will provide training and development tools on BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets, according to int@j.

“BlackBerry enjoys a good market share in the Middle East and the Gulf states. We held a meeting with the company’s representatives recently and they are looking forward to making Jordan their hub for development of games, apps and animation,” Shamlawi noted.

“Even though BlackBerry has a good presence in Jordan, the idea is to serve the region as the local market is limited,” he said.

BlackBerry services were introduced in Jordan in March 2007.

According to an Arab Advisers Group report, smartphones constituted 41.6 per cent of the total cellular handsets in Jordan by end of July. Symbian topped the list with 62 per cent share of smartphone operating systems, while iOS and Blackberry shared the second place, and Android ranked third, the report indicated.

Muhannad Ebwini, CEO of Gate2Play, stressed the importance of the training, noting that it will help create jobs for Jordanians.

“The BlackBerry platform is very important in the world of smartphones. This is the first time in the Middle East that RIM will provide training on its platform and this gives us in Jordan the chance to pioneer,” he told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

“Such training is very good, not only for the gaming industry but also for content and app developers. Jordanians will have the chance to be the first to be introduced to the BlackBerry platform in the region and this is very important,” Ebwini added.

Maysalward, a Middle East mobile developer and publisher of mobile games, will staff the Gaming Lab as a technical partner, providing guidance and technical support for app developers working on the BlackBerry platform, according to an int@j statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

Sandeep Saihgal, managing director for RIM Middle East, noted that the Gaming Lab is the first such lab that RIM will support in the Middle East.

“Local content can significantly increase the value of an app to users, and we hope to encourage more local content and apps made by and for Jordanians,” the statement quoted Saihgal as saying.

Noting that BlackBerry devices dominate the smartphone market in the Gulf states, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Nour Khrais, chairman of the Jordanian Gaming Taskforce and founder and CEO of Maysalward, said the training will give Jordanians access to these markets.

Since BlackBerry has decided to focus on localised content for the region and Jordan has good experience in this field, the training will be very beneficial for local IT firms, Khrais told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.

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