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BlackBerry Curve and Pearl Flip released in UAE

Distributor speaks out on reports of undersupplied stock and confirms measures to ensure availability

RIM and Etisalat announced the release of the BlackBerry Curve 8900 and BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 smartphones in the UAE.

Both smartphones boast impressive credentials – Curve is the first BlackBerry with a 3.2 megapixel camera and is their thinnest QWERTY phone to date, while the Pearl Flip is RIM’s first ever flip phone.

While some remain sceptical of releasing high-end smartphones at a time when economies are struggling with the financial crisis, Khaled Kefel, GM of RIM in the Middle East, believes that it is in these critical times that “people use communication more.”

Speaking at a press conference, he cited a recent Gartner report that predicted the sale of smartphones would outperform the sale of laptops, with Kefel confidently adding that “I think we will continue to see smartphones being sold and certainly BlackBerry will benefit from that”.

That statement holds true in this region where demand is so high that it’s left many retailers without enough stock.

Babar Khan, CEO of Emitac Mobile Solutions (EMS), BlackBerry’s strategic channel partner, admits that while there have been challenges in the past the company has now taken measures with its supply chain to ensure availability of the devices.

“The challenge is that the device is extremely popular and we can’t supply enough to the market. Whenever we supply…it’s finished very very quickly. Having said that, we’ve taken recent measures with the supply chain so if you go to the market now, you will find availability,” revealed Khan.

The BlackBerry Curve 8900 and Pearl Flip 8220 costs AED 2,400 and AED 2,000 respectively. With one and two year installment schemes available from Etisalat, the new Curve 8900 can be purchased for AED 163 (1 year installment scheme) or AED 55 (2 year installment scheme. Similarly, the Pearl Flip can cost AED 138 (1 year) or AED 46 (2 years). Monthly rental prices for the models aren't immediately available.

Both models are already available through Etisalat retail outlets with one and two-year contract plans, or can be purchased from other regional retailers from January 25th onwards.

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