Dubai: Research in Motion (RIM) and Porsche Design were on top of the world last night for the exclusive global launch of the new luxury Porsche Design P'9981 smartphone at the Burj Khalifa.
The result of an 18-month design-and-build partnership between the two brands, the new $2,000 (Dh7,346) smartphone comes with its own unique BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) pin code that starts with 2AA, a sign to others that the user is a P'9981 owner.
The stainless steel and handcrafted leather-backed device will be initially available in the UAE where BBM is extremely popular with Emiratis looking for encrypted communication between friends and family.
Inspired by the German-based Bauhaus minimalist movement, the phone will be exclusively available at Porsche Design stores and a handful of selected retailers around the world in 2012.
After the UAE release of the phone, units will be made available next year in the United States and Europe.
In a meeting with reporters, RIM and Porsche Design officials said the new phone carries on the uniquely German elements of design first forged in the 1963 Porsche 911 sportscar, an iconic achievement that all Porsche products strive to emulate.
Dr Juergen Gessler, president and CEO of Porsche Design, described the P'9981 project as one of ‘two philosophies, one intention,' to build an upscale luxury smartphone that would meet with the approval of Prof Ferdinand Alexander Porsche who designed the original 911 and founded Porsche Design in 1972.
"Porsche designs always combine function and design," Gessler said, noting that the founder built upon the 911 design to create trend-setting personal items in the 1970s and 1980s, ranging from the first all-black chronograph wristwatch as well as aviator sunglasses that sold six million pairs in 1978.
"He created a product category in itself," Gessler said.
Thorsten Heins, RIM chief operating officer, told reporters that the new smartphone project brought out the best in both companies. "It was amazing to see how both teams bonded," Heins said, adding each understood that, "form and function are equal in any great product."
New units of the P'9981 will be reasonably exclusive for consumers, Heins said. "We're not going to manufacture this and throw it out there. I would say it is limited, I would say it is restricted."
The new unique BBM pin codes are already causing a stir among selected consumers who — like those who have paid high prices for exclusive licence plates in the UAE — are eager to get a more noticeable BBM pin number, and are more likely to pay extra for it.
"This has created a dynamic that has gone viral," Heins said, adding that when the new Porsche Design P'9981 phones were released, vendors in the UAE will likely sell phones with more unique BBM pin codes at a higher price based on consumer demand.
Gessler said he was, "sure there will be some efforts by specific people to get the number one pin code."
- BlackBerry 7 OS
- 1.2 GHz processorn HD video recording
- 24-bit high resolution graphicsn 8 GB on-board memory
- Expandable up to 40GB memory with micro SD card
- QWERTY keyboard and touch screenn Near Field Communications (NFC)
- Price around $2,000 (Dh7,346)
Source: RIM/Porsche Design