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06 June 2023

Tech trends: Mobile majors increasingly using Dubai as launch pad for new products

By Joseph George

The UAE is racing towards achieving leadership status in the world of technology infrastructure and 2014 is set to consolidate its lead.

The year 2013 saw UAE emerge as a key regional and global destination in the tech world.

One of the best ways to measure the strategic importance of any market is the speed at which new products arrive into the local market.

Apple may not have simultaneously launched its iPhone5s in the UAE nor is the PlayStation 4 available even now in any major stores, yet the year saw some significant changes in terms of how UAE’s position has changed.

BlackBerry (then Research in Motion) was the first to include UAE in its list of launch destinations when it selected Dubai as one of the six destinations worldwide to launch the BlackBerry 10.

The decision was not surprising as Middle East and North Africa region has emerged as a key market as far as sales of BlackBerry handsets are concerned.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, BlackBerry said it had emerged as the third leading brand in the UAE.

A TRA report later confirmed that iPhone and Samsung held the first two spots as smartphones continued to gain prominence among mobile uses n the UAE. The third quarter of the year saw smartphones constituting 46 per cent of all handsets registered on the UAE networks. The number has been increasing each quarter in 2013.

That could be one of the primary factors that led Nokia to choose Abu Dhabi as the venue for the global launch of the first ever Nokia tablet the Lumia 2520, the phablet sized Lumia 1520 and three new Asha models.

The event was held in the UAE capital even as Dubai was witnessing an increase in the number of visitors during the annual Gitex Technology – the exhibition attracted about 3500 companies from 130 countries.

The year also saw the popularity of the Gitex Shopper – a shopping carnival for anything related to technology converted into a bi-annual event.

Last year’s Gitex also saw a growing presence of UAE government agencies as they geared towards enabling eServices to the ordinary public.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, earlier in the year had announced that Dubai would race towards achieving a status of Smart City with WiFi facilities available across the emirate and all systems interconnected.

Experts are predicting a massive increase in the IT spending across the region during the coming years.

Local tech companies are planning additional investments as positive forecast coupled with the announcement of Expo 2020 could result in increasing growth opportunities.