1. STS14B's Avatar
    I reckon there are a lot of users here from the Gulf (Arabian to some Persian to some but you know where I am talking about). So they wont be surprised to read this thread. But for those who are not familiar on how Blackberry's and especially the luxury ones (not just the P'9981 also gold plated titanium crafted etc. Blackberrys) it will be an interesting read.

    First and foremost the question is this: Since the gulf countries are so rich (KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE etc) why do people prefer Blackberrys and luxury Blackberrys to Vertu handsets which are known to be more prestigious and expensive. After all we are talking about a region where a bottle of Arabic perfume can fetch prices around 500 to 1000 Euros depending on how exquisite it is. Moreover why Blackberry devices are "preferred". Well first and foremost its due to BBM and the arabic alphabet. All my arab friends who live here told me that BBM offers safe, secure and private conversation between men and women, something that due to cultural and religious norms are not welcomed outright in public conversation. For instance, a guy and a girl can "flirt" over BBM and share intimate thoughts. A "date" occurs over BBM and if the two are lucky enough (in many cases locals are encouraged to marry distant relatives) they can advance their relationship to marriage. So BBM is like the lifeline of social engagements in the region. As for the arabic alphabet, one must remember that 99 percent of smartphones today that are sold in the EMEA and Americas are designed for the latin alphabet. If you look at some of the P'9981 Kevin took you can hear him mention the "Dubai Model". This model has arabic letters located under or next to the latin ones. Since arabic is an alphabet that has connected letters to each other to form words and sentences, it is of paramount importance that fast typing can occur without missing the crucial letters. Therefore BB's offer fast and convenient typing experiences to the gulf people and arabs in general. One proof of this are the sales of the Z10 and the Q10 in the region. The Z10 did not pick up as expected due to its touchscreen keyboard whereas the Q10 is selling like crazy. According to a Starlink employee (starlink is one of the main carrier-free phone outlets in Qatar) a Q10 is sold for every 5 Z10s. This is an outstanding number. And also due to the fact that men in the gulf wear white thobes and women wear black abayas, you can guess who buys which color.

    For the Gulf people image is very important. Showing off wealth is actually encouraged due to religious and cultural norms. The reasoning is " if you have enough money should pay zaqat (religious payment to the poor) and show your financial strength so you can support your community". This leads to some important habits in the daily life. Crystal white thobes for men, beautifully designed abayas for women, luxury SUVs for families and so forth. Mobile phones is just one crucial part of these habits. Everyone in the gulf has two phones and one of them is a Blackberry, always. One important factor in the gulf is that if someone from a family buys something the others follow either through word of mouth or actually seeing it. Majlis's (interfamily gatherings for men) provide an opportunity for the participants to show off their latest "gadgets". Due to this if you buy a P'9981 your neighbour will too. One example of this on a larger scale is cars: nearly every qatari man owns a toyota land cruiser, generally white, with brown and red stripes on the side. Its just the way it is.

    So where does the P'9981 fall in this equation? Simple. Its a Blackberry and a luxury device. The perfect combination for the gulf. I purchased my own P'9981 today, the Black version from the PD shop in Doha, Qatar. I previously owned the silver version and the reason I buy it is simply because I fell in love with the Black P'9981 the moment i saw it. As i got to the store I was told the devices were "on the way" and that I would be able to purchase it in a while. After waiting in the store and chatting up the pretty lebanese girl who also happened to be the Store Manager, I learned that every day the shop received around 150 Devices and the stock was depleted by closing time. I couldnt believe it but thats how it was. So, in Doha, a city of 1.6 Million with the local population around 300.000 with a GDP per head annum of 88.000 USD( the highest in the world) 150 P'9981 found new owners EVERY DAY. You do the math. A device which was never popular in the west is going with fire in the gulf. It is the ultimate solution for the gulf people: luxurious and Blackberry.

    Hoping to get a nice PD sliding cover for the phone I also found out that for every 150 P'9981 they sold they also sold 90 cases. So i was left with a beige PD pouch with no sleep mode but I went for it.

    This was a truly interesting experience. Last but not least the pretty Store manager told me that there is a gold version of the P'9981 being sold at 20.000 Euros and that PD will continue to contribute by releasing a luxury Z10 version and a Q10 version in the coming months.

    Last but not least, additional to the P'9981 many independent companies gold plate, bejewel and lament Blackberry devices for their paying and luxury loving customers.

    The OP has been living in Qatar since 2011 and follows the gadget market in the gulf closely.

    Thanks all.
    Houshinto and new_me222 like this.
    07-01-13 09:07 PM
  2. jyuan's Avatar
    Thanks for the good read. I too love the black P9981. If only they have a bb10 version, I would totally would buy it
    07-01-13 09:37 PM
  3. mughni's Avatar
    Nice article Can and very informative. However, I would like to point out one minor inaccuracy. You mentioned that The ME people show wealth because of religion and social reasons. Well, while social reason is ok, Islam does not permits us to show wealth. This is one of the flaws of our ME brother that they have immersed themselves in luxuries and extravagant lifestyle which is not permitted nor has ever been practices by our Prophet Muhammad SAW and Sahaba RAW.
    This show of wealth is mainly because they can...and they have the necessary purchasing power. So, the point is that their lifestyle has got nothing to do with religion.
    07-02-13 12:47 AM
  4. STS14B's Avatar
    Nice article Can and very informative. However, I would like to point out one minor inaccuracy. You mentioned that The ME people show wealth because of religion and social reasons. Well, while social reason is ok, Islam does not permits us to show wealth. This is one of the flaws of our ME brother that they have immersed themselves in luxuries and extravagant lifestyle which is not permitted nor has ever been practices by our Prophet Muhammad SAW and Sahaba RAW.
    This show of wealth is mainly because they can...and they have the necessary purchasing power. So, the point is that their lifestyle has got nothing to do with religion.
    Dear Friend
    A very rich Qatari friend had told me so about showing wealth and that it was a religious duty. I think he is mistaken and i trusted his information. Apologies for the wrong input.
    07-03-13 05:49 PM
  5. ironfoxmind's Avatar
    Thanks for the good read im from Kuwait and i totally relate to what you wrote although i only had the PD P'9981 for a while ( for the sake of a review sponsored by Blackberry ) its the best luxurious/sci-fi mobile in my opinion

    Posted via CB10
    07-30-13 01:11 AM
  6. VR6's Avatar
    Great post thank you for the good read. Much better than than a 900th duplicate post about if BlackBerry is really going down or not.

    We need more of these!

    Fired from my Z10
    07-30-13 02:17 AM
  7. Houshinto's Avatar
    A lot of people were boggled when the first P'9981 came out, then the Black Matte version, and finally the Gold plated version. This gives much insight as to why Blackberry decided to release 3 different variants. I'm sure they will be just as successful with their new Porsche Design BB10 offerings in the works.

    It's news to me if they are releasing a Porsche Design Q10 variant. Can't wait to see it!
    08-06-13 04:22 PM
  8. gridlonk12's Avatar
    Great read for us NA consumers!

    From the 9700 Bold2 to a Q10 via CB10
    08-13-13 11:43 PM

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