|BlackBerry App Lab opens up at Tukkies|
Thursday, 31 May 2012 13:30
Students, educators, app developers and entrepreneurs who want to acquire or brush up on their eSkills, conduct academic research and development can now do so at South Africa’s newly opened BlackBerry Apps Laboratory.
The BlackBerry Apps Laboratory, powered by BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server and kitted out with PCs, has opened up at the University of Pretoria (informally known as Tukkies or Tuks).
The Apps Lab was launched by BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) in conjunction with the University and the Department of Communications’ (DOC) eSkills Institute.
“We are excited to be partnering with RIM to bring the BlackBerry app lab to our campus,” says Professor Stephanie Burton, Vice Principal of Research and Postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria. “One of our key objectives at the University of Pretoria is to empower our students to develop industry relevant skills that will accelerate mobile application development in South Africa and help create new economic opportunities and jobs in the mobile space. Our partnership with RIM, and the collaboration with the DOC’s e-Skills Institute, will allow us to deliver on this promise.”
The lab will not only serve the University’s approximately 50 000 students and faculty, but it will also be open to start-ups, entrepreneurs, local developers and others. RIM will use it to work with developers to create local and regionally relevant applications for BlackBerry smartphones, the company’s tablet offering, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and other devices running on the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.
According to Bob Bose, Managing Director for RIM Africa, the lab is part of RIM’s commitment to support mobile software development in Africa. “The growth of smartphones and the appetite for mobile apps presents a huge opportunity for developers, and we’re pleased to work with the Department of Communications and the University of Pretoria to share resources and ideas that will help and inspire innovative minds to make the most of that opportunity.”
Says Rosey Seseke, Director General of the DOC: “The eSkills initiative aims to address the shortage of critical skills in the ICT sector. During this financial year, several initiatives are planned. We are excited at the huge potential that this programme offers us in our quest to close the skills gap in the sector.”
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