Annamalai Muthu, Country Director for Malaysia And Brunei
During the hectic hustle and bustle that is BlackBerry World 2012, we managed to have a sit down with Annamalai Muthu, Country Director for Malaysia and Brunei as well as Nick Horton, the Vice-President of IndoChina for a chat on what RIM has in store for BlackBerry fans in Malaysia. It’s a well known fact that Indonesia is probably the reigning BlackBerry champion in Asia (and perhaps even the world), but from what I’ve heard, it looks like RIM is trying to bring Malaysia up in the scales of importance.Malaysia as a market is a curious one, with mobile phone penetration bordering the 110% mark, smartphone numbers looking to double because of consumers moving away from feature phones and more toward the now cheaper and easily accessible smartphone. According to Annamalai Muthu, Country Director for Malaysia and Brunei, Malaysia is one of those markets which are surprising and unique in that at the lower end band of the BlackBerry phone range, just as many people buy those phones as the highest band of phones. On top of that, Malaysia is a very high end market and as a whole Malaysians are largely tech savvy and know what they want in terms of how to make the product fit for them.
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Nick Horton, Vice President For IndoChina
BlackBerry World 2012 showed us an early glimpse into the future of the “Mobile Computing Engine” as opposed to just an operating system with BB OS 10 and while developers are frantically working hard on bringing applications for the platform on their shiny new BB 10 Dev Alphas, the rest of the world is wondering when we will actually be able to see something.Nick Horton, Vice-President of IndoChina is optimistic about cutting down delays from when products are launched in the US to when they arrive on our shores. BlackBerry OS 10 is slated for a release “sometime this year” and according to Horton, we won’t be seeing the usual RIM delays any longer. With the incorporation of an office here in Malaysia, RIM is looking to make Malaysia one of the leading markets and one of the first countries in Asia to get products and the like. RIM have invested heavily in Malaysia in order to sustain the market as best they can and to exceed all expectations put on them. Horton has also mentioned how important Malaysia is to RIM as they already have a large user base in Malaysia and that Malaysians fit the demographic of successful people and BlackBerry people that RIM are looking for.
So what can we take away from this? The future looks bright for BlackBerry in Malaysia, if they can get their BB10 OS out relatively soon. The fact that RIM is pumping money into Malaysia and making us a focus is a very encouraging snippet however, it all comes down to the next 6 months to see if BlackBerry can claw their way back to the playing field. Something tells me, with the new direction from HQ, increased focus on Malaysia and a interesting approach for the “Mobile Computing Engine”, they just might.