BlackBerry chooses Dubai for global launch of Q5 smartphone

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BlackBerry has chosen Dubai for the global launch of its Q5 smartphone, as it attempts to bolster sales in the Middle East to regain ground lost to rivals Apple and Samsung.

The Canadian company said today it would launch the smartphone tomorrow afternoon at the opening of its first dedicated retail outlet in the Middle East.

A limited number of the devices will be available for sale at the opening of the new concept store, prior to a wider Middle East rollout next month. The Q5 is expected to retail at Dh1,499.

The new, cheaper handset is the firm’s third smartphone released this year, and is aimed at consumers in the emerging markets.

“The Q5 could be a very significant device for the company, as there is a significant opportunity for high-quality low-cost smartphones,” said Adam Leach, a principal device and platforms analyst at Ovum, in a report entitled ‘Analyst view: Blackberry unveils the Q5’. “Emerging markets accounted for roughly 17 percent of the nearly 450 million smartphone shipments globally in 2011,” he added.

BlackBerry handsets occupied just two percent of the global mobile phone market in 2012, according to research published by Gartner earlier this year, a leading IT research and advisory company.

The brand, once a darling of the mobile industry, has been hit hard by Apple’s iPhone models and handsets running on Google’s Android operating system.

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