Airtel Nigeria Launches “BConnected” – RIM Continues Its War Against Fake BB Devices

Airtel Nigeria has launched a new BlackBerry subscriber  bundle in Nigeria. It is called ‘BConnected’  and offers  ‘BlackBerry Messenger’ which is a real time messaging and chat service  with interface to social media networks like, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. It also offers access to monthly, weekly or daily plans on the expiration of a 30 day free trial period. In future, this product could have gaming from the new acquisition, Scoreloop.


The cost of the bundle is N1,580 monthly without e-mail services which most other BlackBerry services include. Yet, that cost is lower than the cost of the standard product which goes for N3,000.


Blackberry continues to lose market share due to fake devices that are sold in Nigeria. While the rich and corporate buy the original device, most buy the fake ones that are imported from Asia. This fake device does not have warranty and most times do not last as long as the main one.


Adverts that reads in part below is common as RIM continues to educate customers to buy the genuine BB:


”Always look for the seal of authenticity whenyou buy a new BlackBerry device. ”This guarantees that you are buying from an authorised dealer and that your new BlackBerry device comes with the peace of mind of a 12 month warranty”.


Blackberry continues to lose market share globally not just due to pirated versions of their products, but due to competition from Android and iPhone. BlackBerry commands a 14.8% share of worldwide smartphone sales, making it the fifth most popular device manufacturer after Nokia, Samsung, LG, and Apple. The consumer BlackBerry Internet Service is available in 91 countries worldwide on over 500 mobile service operators using various mobile technologies


But recently, Blackberry is working hard to jumpstart its business with acquisition of Scoreloop, a gaming company. Scoreloop was founded in March 2008 and has raised more than $2.8m. The initial plan was to provide  multiplayer challenge games with a focus on iPhone. But it deviated and then moved into the domain where community of developers could work to add socialgraph and interactions on their games. This include the scoring sheet, messaging, virtual currency, etc. As they made progress, Android evolved as the centerpiece of their strategy as more works seemed to make it the primary operating system. But with time, it supports all the leading mobile OS. Scoreloop supports Windows Phone, iOS, Android, and Bada (Samsung) operating systems. We are not sure if the HP Palm WebOS is supported by Scoreloop. Also,  Symbian has no information.


RIM will bring the Scoreloop technology to the blackberry. This has a potential to make the Blackberry Social Platform better. Scoreloop technology has made it a strong contender for the consolidation wave as more companies are looking for social games in their mobile ecosystems. When DeNA bought Ngmoco in a $400m deal, it made it clear that the industry was not timid on games. Also the Electronic Arts bought Chillingo for $29m while GREE went for OpenFeint in excess of $100m.

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