The African leg of the BlackBerry Jam tour finished yesterday, with a final session held at JoziHub in Johannesburg yesterday. The Jam events are day long workshops for developers interested in creating BlackBerry Apps, and are open to all including existing BB7 developers and newcomers to coding too.
“We aim to make sure that developers have everything they need to wrap an app for BB10 by the end of the day,” explains BlackBerry’s Lany Summers, “The interest here and the talent is amazing, but the hardest thing is just letting people know how easy it is to start developing and that the tools are available.”
While BlackBerry continues to struggle globally – it was recently unseated by Microsoft for the title of third most popular smartphone OS – it still remains the most popular smartphone platform in South Africa with over 50% marketshare. That’s a pretty big incentive for budding devs to pick up relevant skills.
Around 50 people attended the JoziHub event, including Victor Ilunga, a JoziHub regular who is looking to port his African language slang dictionary from BB7 to the latest version of BlackBerry’s operating system.
According to Summers, the permanent BlackBerry Apps Lab at the Univerisity of Pretoria, which last year, has successfully launched three businesses to date.
Summers also says that there should be more Jam sessions in South Africa again by the end of the year, although dates haven’t been confirmed yet.
In other BlackBerry news, The Daily Sun is reporting this morning on a disturbing new trend for scam sales of handsets in which hawkers are selling fake handsets at taxi ranks. According to that newspaper, the same crooks are also selling fake USB sticks and headphones too.