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(photo credit: Bloomberg)
Following the launch of the BlackBerry in Israel last year, Research In Motion, which develops the popular wireless device, hopes to have the Hebrew version of its product ready for market by year end.
"We have not yet localized for the Hebrew market and it is in our road map to do so," Paul Lucier, director global carriers for the Canadian company told The Jerusalem Post. "In the next version of our software, we do give you the rendering capability to read Hebrew email, but being able to input Hebrew characters is coming in the near future. I am hopeful that we will have it ready by the end of the year."
Lucier said penetration into the Israeli market has been good but limited because of the product's inability to write Hebrew.
"There is an opportunity to sell the English version to the corporate world, but when you start to enter the commercial market, which we are aiming at with our latest products, you need to have localization. It's absolutely essential."
Lucier was in Israel this week to present the latest BlackBerry products - the 7130, which it first launched in the UK earlier this month, and the Blackberry 8700, to RIM's carrier partners in Israel - Cellcom and Partner Communications. If either of the two cellular providers decides to cell the devices, the 8700 will be available for distribution immediately, and the 7130 will be available from around July-August.
Having participated in panel discussions at the Gartner Conference Tuesday, Lucier noted that RIM faces challenges opposite to those of other mobile developers in adapting voice applications to its data devices. Most mobile phone companies, he said, are bringing data to voice.
The trend to enhance data services such as sms messaging, instant messenger and emailing in mobile phones was singled out by Gartner analysts as one of the strongest drivers for consumer needs.