Creative minds need the right environment to work in. You know, with a basketball hoop. Video screen. Games console and controllers. Good coffee. And, of course, a view of Table Mountain.
That all comes standard with the new BlackBerry apps lab in Cape Town, the company’s second. The first was at the University of Pretoria (UP), a BlackBerry Authorised Academic Centre, in May.
Says Alexandra Zagury, MD for South Africa and Southern Africa at BlackBerry’s parent company, Research In Motion, Cape Town is a key innovation hub.
“We are now looking forward to fostering mobile innovation in the Western Cape and helping to grow South Africa’s next wave of mobile app developers. Our investment in this lab is a signal of our commitment to supporting South Africa’s thriving BlackBerry developer ecosystem,” Zagury says.
According to RIM, BlackBerry apps labs have been established to help spur mobile application development and open up economic opportunities. What’s on offer to developers – from students to start-ups – is access to resources in development, marketing, sales and training, says RIM. The emphasis is on local and regionally relevant applications for BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook, as well as for devices running the upcoming BlackBerry® 10 platform.
Their aims have certainly been bearing fruit, if the views of two UP student/developers present at the Cape Town launch are any guide. Blessing Mahlalela told the audience that RIM had provided resources such as the latest BlackBerry devices for testing and high performance development machines.
RIM’s Africa-wide developer programme is represented in Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt. The company has links with 118 universities, colleges and schools across Africa. It says its BlackBerry Academic Program provides institutions with course materials and content to teach and educate students on mobile application development.