BlackBerry launch sparks chaos in Indonesia
It was the kind of buzz beleaguered BlackBerry maker Research In Motion would ordinarily dream about.
Thousands of Indonesians jammed into a glitzy shopping mall in Jakarta Friday to get hold of the first BlackBerry Bold 9790s being sold worldwide.
But, fearing a riot, hundreds of police were deployed outside, tying up traffic in the heart of the capital for hours.
With a 50 per cent discount on the $540 phone for the first 1,000 buyers, lines started forming in front of Pacific Place mall on Thursday night. By daybreak, impatient shoppers started rattling the gates.
And when rumours spread that the new smartphones — commonly known as Bellagio — had already sold out, the crowd of 3,000 went crazy. Several people fainted in the crush.
Indonesia, a country of 240 million people, has experienced a come from nowhere tech frenzy in recent years.
With six million users, BlackBerry dominates the smartphone market in the sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago.
Elsewhere around the world, the Waterloo, Ont.,-based company has not been faring nearly so well as it has been losing market share to Apple's iPhone and smartphones using Google's Android operating system.
Earlier this month, tech firm Gartner Inc. said that in the third quarter RIM turned in its poorest performance to date, capturing just 10 per cent of the American market.
Analysts consider sales and market share in the North American market to be important indicators of how smartphone companies are faring with consumers.
Globally, RIM finished fourth among smartphone sellers with 12.7 million units shipped and a worldwide market share of 11 per cent. That compared with 12.5 million devices and a 15.4 per cent market share in the same quarter of 2010.
Smartphones with Android operating systems topped worldwide smartphone sales with 60.4 million units sold with a 52.5 per cent market share in the quarter, compared with 20.5 million units and a 25.3 per cent market share in the same period last year.
Apple shipped 17 million iPhones in the quarter, an increase of 21 per cent, said Gartner, headquartered in Stamford, Conn.
A recent study by research firm IDC put RIM in fifth place among global smartphone sellers with 10 per cent of the worldwide smartphone market based on shipments of 11.8 million BlackBerrys in the three months ended Sept. 30.
With files from The Canadian Press