JAMAICAN directories are to benefit from the popularity of BlackBerry smartphones in the country.
Rival directory companies Jamaica Yellow Pages (JYP) and RedBk Jamaica, launched separate BlackBerry applications this week as they take aim at a growing consumer market with mobile smartphones.
JYP's introduction of its BlackBerry app on Monday came on the heels of its launch of a similar app for Android and Apple users in April. BlackBerry's market leader status in Jamaica made the progression inevitable, said the company.
"Research has shown that in the Caribbean, BlackBerry is said to have over 80 per cent of the consumer and business market. In Jamaica, over 70 per cent of the mobile market use or own a BlackBerry," said Alleyne Graham, JYP's marketing manager.
"With our newly released JYP Mobile App for BlackBerry users we can now tap into that market and our clients and end-users can now easily find and discover any business listed in the Jamaica Yellow Pages with just a click on their BlackBerry mobile device," she said.
RedBk, which is challenging JYP's dominance in the local directory market, announced the launch of its BlackBerry app yesterday. The company said in a statement that the release of the app follows extensive testing and modifications to ensure it meets international standards and the expectations of Jamaican consumers.
"This is a very serious move to demonstrate to our advertisers that we are focused on providing them with a differentiated and enhanced directory advertising experience in print and online," said Carol Pryce, RedBk's president and CEO.
How does JYP and RedBk's BlackBerry apps compare to each other? This remains unclear. However, JYP said its app boasts similar features to that of its app for Android and Apple users; such as search by text entry, while also allowing users to sort results by relevance, distance or alphabets; easy click-to-call dialing; list and map views, among others.
One key element, among many features, of RedBk's app is its ability to search among the five RedBk regions, said Pryce. This makes searching more relevant to users, she said, and provides them with access to 12 "relevant categories", including emergency numbers and auto suppliers.
The launch of the apps adds more fire to a directories market that suddenly became heated last November with the emergence of publishing company RedBk Jamaica.
RedBk said it was investing US$2 million ($179 million) in a year to penetrate the paid directory listing market and shake the dominance of Jamaica Yellow Pages.
Telecoms giant LIME has for years owned the rights to the Yellow Pages trademark in Jamaica, but in 2006 outsourced the business to Global Directories, a Bermudian publisher.
Since acquiring the brand, Global Directories has built it into a multimedia force, now serving over 10,000 clients.