March 8 - BlackBerry launches its new Z10 handset in Nigeria, the second fastest growing mobile market in the world and a key market for the smartphone maker. Kirsty Basset reports
The new Z10 has arrived in Africa. BlackBerry may have seen its market share decline in Europe and America in recent years but in Nigeria, business is booming. Analysts say Africa's second largest economy is also BlackBerry's second largest market - after the United States. Robert Bose is the company's managing director in the region. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT BOSE, BLACKBERRY'S REGIONAL MANAGING DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, SAYING: "We've had great success in Nigeria, in fact according of the 4 million smart phones in Nigeria, 2 million of them are Blackberry's." A Nollywood film called "BlackBerry Babes" is partly responsible for the smartphone maker's success in Nigeria. But BlackBerry insists it's more than that. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT BOSE, BLACKBERRY'S REGIONAL MANAGING DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, SAYING: "It's very aspirational, we think BlackBerry messenger is very strong, has a very strong community, has a very strong connectedness that Nigerian society enjoys." For many of Nigeria's two million users it's BlackBerry messenger which is key. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLIVER UMEGE, RESIDENT IN LAGOS, SAYING: "You can reach your families, you can reach your friends through pinging without spending much money." One phone dealer says 55 percent of his sales are BlackBerry's. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BOLAJI USMAN, SHOP KEEPER SAYING: "Immediately the BlackBerry phones started coming into Nigeria, we the sellers had something new to be happy...immediately they came in, the market started going up." But Nigerians are fashion conscious too. BlackBerry needs to make sure its keeps its "cool" image in Africa if it's to retain its hot position.