RIM today witnessed scenes that typically associated with its more popular smartphone rival Apple after more than 3000 people took to the streets of Jakarta to get their hands on the company’s new BlackBerry 9790 handset, which launched in the Indonesian capital this morning.
BlackBerry fans camped overnight to get their new smartphone, prompting retailers to sell out of the handset as the crowd swarmed outside of an upmarket shopping centre. When a rumour spread suggesting that the device had sold out, the previously reserved queue broke out into violent outbursts, resulting in the deployment of riot police to control the unrest.
It appears that the riots were caused in part by a promotional offer that would award the first 1,000 buyers of the new BlackBerry Bold with a a 50% discount, which normally costs around $550.
Whilst RIM wouldn’t welcome unrest associated with its smartphone release, it will have been encouraged by the popularity of the device on its launch day. Indonesia is one of RIM’s most loyal territories with the company capturing upwards of six million customers in the country, almost 10% of its worldwide customer base.
The company is expected to launch new QNX-powered smartphones next year, restructuring its smartphone portfolio to appeal to the general consumer. RIM is best known for its enterprise support and vast deployment by business for its secure email and messaging services, which spectacularly failed when systems went down for more than three days.
The company wants to continue its enterprise popularity as it adapts its offerings to tempt users away from Apple’s iPhone and Android devices from Samsung and HTC.