In a refreshing twist from all the doom and gloom we hear about Research In Motion these days, Erin Burnett of CNN weighed in on recent reports of plans the BlackBerry maker has to build the first of many flagship stores in Dubai. She even affectionately refers to her red BlackBerry Torch as 'Beloved' in the video above. "My Beloved rules in the developing world, and that's a huge thing that goes uncovered here at home."
It's no secret that while BlackBerry sales have seen a decline in the recent past in North America, the platform continues to thrive in other countries. In the Middle East, for example, carriers offer very competitive consumer and business packages for BlackBerry users, and BlackBerry Messenger is very popular with adults and youths alike. Recent IDC data shows that shipments in the Middle East and Africa more than doubled to 2.29 million units in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, outselling the iPhone by a margin of nearly 4-to-1.
RIM is currently partnering with Axiom Telecom and is in the final stages of negotiation on a lease for 1500 square feet of retail space in Dubai that will be home to the first BlackBerry flagship store in the region. Sandeep Saihgal, managing director of RIM’s Middle East business, said in an interview that the plans don't end there. “We’re getting the first one up and running and then we’ll be looking at other cities across the Middle East -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar." In fact, they are looking at opening 4000 stores, kiosks, and more in Indonesia alone. During the same interview, Patrick Spence, RIM’s global head of sales, indicated that the Middle East expansion "will probably be followed by Africa, with RIM planning flagship stores in markets including Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos".